What is a Statute of Limitations?

What is a Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a time limit, determined by the legislature, within which you must file a lawsuit. The purpose of a statute of limitations is to force plaintiffs to diligently pursue their claims and protect defendants from the litigation of a long-dormant claim. Whether you’ve been injured in a slip and fall, a car accident, or some other incident involving the negligence of another, it is crucial to comply with the statute of limitations in your case. 

Personal Injury Lawsuits

The standard time limit for personal injury lawsuits can be found in Florida Statutes section 95.11 which states that an action founded on negligence must be brought within four years. Negligence cases include cases involving car accidents, slip and fall and some other situations where someone’s negligence has caused injury to another party. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death, and there are special rules with regard to the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice suit. There are some very rare exceptions to the statute of limitations, but you should consult with an attorney for more information.

What if you Miss the Statute of Limitations?

If you try to file a negligence lawsuit more than four years after the incident that caused your injury, there is a good chance that a defendant will argue that you are past the statute of limitations and your case will be dismissed. If that happens then, no matter how serious your injuries or how egregious the negligence involved, you will have lost your right to recover damages. 

The statute of limitations is also crucial even if you do not intend to file a lawsuit, but are hoping instead to settle your case. A negligent party will most likely have no incentive to enter into settlement negotiations if you don’t have the ability to file a successful lawsuit. The threat to file a lawsuit becomes empty once the statute of limitations has run out. 

Because of the statute of limitations, and other factors such as the potential loss of evidence, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you have been injured.

Contact a Trusted Attorney

If you’ve been injured due to someone’s negligence, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.