Whenever you are involved in a situation that leaves you with serious injuries, you may choose to pursue a personal injury claim against those whose negligence and carelessness led to your accident. However, whether you are a resident of Florida or other states, it’s important to remember you will not have an indefinite period of time to file your lawsuit. And since these cases often involve extensive time spent talking to witnesses, examining medical records, and gathering other necessary evidence, they can end up taking much longer than a victim may think. Therefore, if you are considering filing a personal injury claim, here are some points to keep in mind to ensure you don’t let a deadline pass you by, keeping you from receiving the full and fair compensation you deserve.
The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury
In all states, there are laws stating there are specific deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits. Known as the statute of limitations, it’s a very strict deadline that most courts will enforce to its fullest extent. However, even though all states have a statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims, the time given can vary from state to state. For example, Florida residents have four years from the date they were first injured to file a claim with the courts. If this deadline passes and an accident victim tries to file a lawsuit, there is a good chance the court will choose to dismiss the suit due to the statute of limitations having expired. So if you are injured and believe there is any chance you will be filing a lawsuit, don’t hesitate to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible.
Standard Statute of Limitations
While Florida residents have four years from the date of their injury to file a personal injury lawsuit, the standard statute of limitations can range from as little as one year in some states to as many as six years in others. Therefore, no matter the state in which you live, always make sure to check the statute of limitations specific to your area. Otherwise, you may find yourself dismayed to discover your claim has been dismissed by the court.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
While in most situations the statute of limitations will be strictly enforced by the court, there are exceptions to the rule. Known as the “discovery rule,” this involves the court choosing to extend the filing deadline in situations where the injured person may have been unaware of certain things, such as:
–the injury itself
–that the defendant’s actions caused the injuries
–if they were of diminished mental capacity at the time of the injury
For example, if the injured person suffered from a mental illness at the time of the injury, the court could choose to extend the deadline for filing a lawsuit. While these situations may not sound very common, the fact is extensions of filing deadlines happen much more often than many people think. Therefore, if you’ve suffered an injury but are afraid the statute of limitations has expired, talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Additional Extension Methods
Along with the above-mentioned ways in which the “discovery rule” can be applied to extend an existing statute of limitations deadline, there are other additional ways in which courts can extend these deadlines. One of the most common is if the defendant left the state in which their actions led to your injuries. If the defendant is outside the state, the statute of limitations stops running during that time. For example, if you are a Florida resident who has a four-year statute of limitations but the defendant left the area for three years, the statute of limitations would be extended by another three years. However, since it can be difficult to prove these situations occurred, you should not count on the court ruling in your favor in these circumstances. But to give yourself the best chance at gaining a favorable result, consult with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney.
Learn About Your Legal Rights
If you have been injured due to the negligence or carelessness of others, it’s important to learn about your legal rights pertaining to your case. To do so, always schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer who not only understands the complexities of these cases, but also has a proven track record of success. By doing so, you’ll set the stage for receiving the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Call us today for a free consultation (954) 473-1500