What is the Florida Statute of Limitations?
In the Lawyer 101 series, we explore Florida’s laws and what they mean for those who sustain injuries due to accidents. Our new article details another important topic. This time, it’s the Florida Statute of Limitations. It’s important to place emphasis on Florida’s strict Statute of Limitations. The Shaked Law Resource offers an in-depth look at Florida’s Statute of Limitations as it pertains to Personal Injury law.
What is the purpose of the Florida Statute of Limitations?
Under the law, the Florida Statute of Limitations exists to make the law easier to interpret. Its purpose is for instances of pain and suffering that arise from accident or injurious behavior due to another’s negligence. However, Florida places limits upon what injuries fall under this statute. For one, the injuries must be permanent. These injuries must come with very little chance of “full recovery.
The following legal determination holds weight:
“[…]Florida’s specific laws mandate that a driver who sustained permanent injuries [known under the law as “Injury to Person” §95.11(3)(o)] as the result of a car accident has four years (Florida Statutes Title 8, Ch. 95, Sec 95.11) from the date of the accident to bring litigation. After that, no matter how satisfactory the claim may be to a judge, it will no longer be allowed to be heard in court as the Statute of Limitations has run its course.”
When does the Florida Statute of Limitations start?
The statute for filing a lawsuit varies from state to state. In Florida victims or surviving family members must begin litigation within (2) two years of the discovery of Medical Negligence or Malpractice. The time frame must be “reasonable”. Therefore exceptions to this Statute are on a case by cases basis. Sometimes the cause of injury or death is not “reasonably” discoverable for several months. In these cases, lost time does not break the case. However, knowing immediately of injury but dragging feet can destroy the case if two years passes without litigation.
How do wrongful death cases factor into the Florida Statute of Limitations?
The Florida Statute of Limitations means any litigation due to the negligent actions of another. Litigation must be brought within the state’s time limits. Furthermore, a victim with serious bodily injury risks having their entire case dismissed by the judge if litigation exceeds the state’s time limit.
What is “Discovery of Harm”?
The Florida Statute of Limitations dictates that a Personal Injury lawsuit take place within a certain time frame. After a victim sustains serious bodily injury at the hands of another, reasonable time is necessary to discover the cause. That’s why this time period usually begins when the the victim becomes reasonably aware of the cause of their injuries.
The nature of an injury plays a large part in how much time a victim has to bring litigation. Sometimes there is a necessary delay in pursuing litigation. This could be due to a victim requiring surgery, being in a coma, or a long recovery. This is why beginning the Statute of Limitations ticking uses the Discovery of Harm rule. Sometimes there is no reasonable way to discovery the seriousness of the victim’s injuries within the necessary time period. During trial, a judge will take this into consideration. A victim may not be able to reasonably speak for themselves due to their medical circumstances. In these cases, the Statute of Limitations will not begin until recovery occurs on the medical side. After wrongful death, as soon as cause of death is available, a victim’s family must act quickly to bring litigation.
What is reasonable and responsible?
Discovery of Harm requires a complex level of understanding by a lawyer who applies it regularly during trial.
Use of the Discovery of Harm rule is successful for a Malpractice claim due to a surgeon leaving a surgical tool inside the patient. The error may be invisible until months or years later. It’s only when the victim begins to experience unfamiliar pain or severe infection that the cause is determinable.
Precise inability to know the reason for pain until receiving results of diagnostic imaging for another purpose isn’t unreasonable. The patient isn’t expected to know their pain is due to surgery that took place months or years ago.
When does the Florida Statute of Limitations begin in Medical Malpractice?
The Florida Statute of Limitations above would not begin until the day the surgeon’s mistake is found through diagnostic imaging. The day of the initial surgery does not factor in. This is because the Discovery period provides sufficient evidence of being unable to reasonably know the cause of their injury. The delay in discovering the surgeon is the cause of the victim’s pain and suffering is a reasonable one. Patients place trust in medical professionals to care for them. It’s unreasonable to assume the patient would place blame immediately upon the surgeon.
It’s all about credibility
There are instances when the Discovery of Harm rule does not apply. This has much to do with client credibility. Sometimes a client seeking compensation confides in the lawyer that severe abdominal discomfort exists. However, they admit they’re refusing to seek further medical treatment to find the cause. This is probably not a credible client. A lawyer with experience may not take this case. The Shaked Law Resource stresses the subject of credibility often. It’s important to never lie to a lawyer when seeking compensation after an accident or injury.
Without credibility, there is no case. If the lawyer deems the client to have told them one thing when another situation is occurring entirely, legal action may not be possible. This is both for the reputation a Personal Injury lawyer must maintain, and because clients who lie are not credible. Claiming an injury, then using Instagram to document a day at the gym or dancing in the club can break a case. The best Personal Injury lawyers advise clients to stay off social media during their case.
Sagi Shaked’s passion for justice is consistent, so are Shaked Law Firm’s results
Each Medical Malpractice case is different. Only a lawyer with Board Certification should advise clients on the Florida Statute of Limitations that pertains to their case. What should never change, however, is a lawyer’s passion for pursuing justice on behalf of clients.
No matter the amount recoverable, a lawyer with Board Certification will always pursue maximum justice on behalf of each client.