You can’t always wait to file that lawsuit. Florida, just like most states, has created specific deadlines to file lawsuits and other civil actions. These deadlines are called the “statutes of limitations”. Each case is different, and you will need to consult your own attorney to determine your statute of limitation timeline, but in general, Florida’s statutes of limitations run from two to four years. For the majority of cases, the clock starts when the incident happened or you discovered the issue.
Placing time limits on when a person (or a company) may bring an action helps establish predictability and fairness with lawsuits. These timelines prevent a legal matter from hanging indefinitely, but they also encourage potential plaintiffs to bring an action in a timely manner or otherwise waive the ability to ever bring it.
A few of the Statutes of Limitation in Florida are included below*:
Contracts: Written 5 yrs. FS§95.11(2)(b); Specific Performance 1 yr. FS§95.11(5)(a); Oral 4 yrs. FS§95.11(3)(k)
Judgments: Domestic 20 yrs. FS§95.11(1); Foreign 5 yrs. FS§95.11(2)(a)
Injury to Person: 4 yrs. FS§95.11(3)(o)
Libel/Slander: 2 yrs. FS§95.11(4)(g)
Injury to Personal Property: 4 yrs. FS§95.11(3)(h)
Professional Malpractice: 2 yrs.; Medical 2-4 yrs. FS§95.11(4)(a) and (b)
Trespass: 4 yrs. FS§95.11(3)(g)
Fraud: 4 yrs. FS§95.11(3)(j)
*This is not an exhaustive list.
It is very important to remember that your claim may be barred if you don’t file your lawsuit within the required statutory limit in Florida. In any case, it is always the best practice to consult an experienced Florida litigation attorney to protect your rights.