How Can the Statute of Limitations Affect my Accident Claim?

A statute of limitations sets a deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed or the right to file a lawsuit for the accident/incident is lost forever. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a “general negligence” claim is four years, meaning that a person involved in an accident can only file a lawsuit within those four years. If a person attempts to file their lawsuit after those four years have passed, the person sued will have the right to have the lawsuit dismissed (i.e. “thrown out”) because it was filed after the deadline. The statute of limitations can be different for every state so be sure to talk with a local attorney before making any assumptions about the deadline for your case.

Beyond the general statutory time limit, a statute of limitations can differ by the type of accident that occurred. The most common difference occurs in claims involving a minor or medical malpractice claims.

Statute of Limitations for a Minor

If a child has a parent or Court appointed Guardian they are generally bound by the same limitation periods applicable to adults. However, if the child has no parent or Guardian, a lawsuit must be filed within seven (7) years after the act, event, or occurrence giving rise to the cause of action. There are some exceptions found in Florida statutes for cases involving the collection of past due child support and medical malpractice claims. The best practice to avoid missing a deadline is to consult a local attorney has soon as you suspect that someone’s negligence has injured your child.

Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Claims

The normal time limit for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is two (2) years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred OR within two (2) years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence but in no event longer than four (4) years after the date of the incident. However, if fraud, concealment or intentional misrepresentation by the medical provider prevents the discovery of the of the injury, the limitations period is extended forward two (2) years from the time the injury is discovered so long as the lawsuit is still filed within seven (7) years from the date of the incident. Neither the four (4) year nor the seven (7) years deadlines will bar a lawsuit brought on behalf of a minor child on or before the child’s eighth (8th) birthday.

If you were injured in an accident, regardless of the type accident/incident, contact an accident attorney to learn more about the statute of limitations and the steps you can take to timely make your claim. For local claims, the Gainesville accident attorneys at the Allen Law Firm can help you make a claim before your time is up. Call us at 352-331-6789 or visit our website for more information.