Statutes of Limitations – Personal Injury and Malpractice Cases
“You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin
Each state has different laws regarding the limitations on time for filing legal actions. Most of these are state statutes and are available online, but they are very complex and may leave even the brightest and most-educated reader bewildered and befuddled. Attempts to file an action after the expiration of time-limiting statutes are most likely doomed, so it’s very important to know and follow the law.
Chapter 95 of the State of Florida Statutes covers the “limitations of actions” and is an integral element of your case if you are the victim of someone else’s negligence or of professional malpractice.
The statute sets forth different time periods for different situations, for example:
Within Twenty Years: An action on a judgment or decree of a court of record in this state.
This means, for example, if you have a judgment against someone for money they owe you, you would be wise to enforce and collect before 20 years goes by. If not, the judgment is no longer valid.
Within Five Years: An action on a judgment or decree of any court, not of record, of this state or any court of the United States, any other state or territory in the United States, or a foreign country.
The section that pertains to negligence states, in part:
Within Four Years: An action founded on negligence.
And the section covering professional malpractice states, in part:
Within Two Years: (a) An action for professional malpractice, other than medical malpractice, whether founded on contract or tort; provided that the period of limitations shall run from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. However, the limitation of actions herein for professional malpractice shall be limited to persons in privity with the professional. And (b) An action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence; however, in no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except that this 4-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday. The entire statute is here: Florida Statute 95
To a non-attorney, this is can be confusing. The critical lesson here is that if you have been the victim of negligence or professional malpractice it is important to have consulted with an attorney who understands and practices the pertaining statutes on a daily basis and who has a successful track record.
The Law firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been successfully representing clients who are victims of negligence by others. Gary and Arleen Lazarus are eminently qualified to deal with your case in a professional and timely manner. They may be reached by calling 954-356-0006.