Important note: The material below is not legal advice and is not to be relied on in the absence of advice by an attorney. Only your attorney can advise you as to the applicable statute of limitations in your case. Please consult with an attorney before making any decision as to the statute of limitations in your case.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Florida?
The statute of limitations in Florida can vary depending on the type of case the plaintiff is bringing to court, but most civil lawsuits must be filed within two to four years. A statute of limitations is a rule that dictates how long a person has to file a legal claim. These time limits vary by state as well as by the type of lawsuit being filed.
Florida Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Claim
The (Florida statute of limitations for a personal injury claim) states that “actions other than for recovery of real property shall be commenced as follows: … (3) Within four years: (a) An action founded on negligence.” (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11)
Toxic tort cases fall under the same statute as personal injury cases.
Statutes of Repose
Plaintiffs have ten years for claims related to improvement to real property from the date of possession by the owner, issuance of a certificate of occupancy, abandonment of construction, or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect or licensed contractor and their employer, whichever date is latest. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(c))
Cases may be brought for up to 12 years from delivery if the product has a useful life of ten years or less or 20 years for products with a longer expected life span. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.031(2)(b))
“Actions other than for recovery of real property shall be commenced as follows … (4) Within two years: … (d) An action for wrongful death.” (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(d))
An action within the (Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations) “shall be commenced within two years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within two years from the time the incident is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.” (Fla. Stat. Ann. §95.11 (4)(b))
Malpractice (Other Professions)
Other types of malpractice have a statute of limitations of two years. The discovery rule applies.
Florida Product Liability Statute of Limitation
“Actions other than for recovery of real property shall be commenced as follows: … (3) Within four years: … (e) An action for injury to a person founded on the design, manufacture, distribution, or sale of personal property that is not permanently incorporated in an improvement to real property, including fixtures. … (p) Any action not specifically provided for in these statutes.” (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(e))
Actions for products liability must be brought within four years from the time the facts giving rise to the cause of action were actually discovered by the claimant or should have been discovered by the claimant with the exercise of due diligence, whichever is earlier. (Carter v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 778 So. 2d. 932, 936 (Fl. 2000))
Statute of Repose
“An action for products liability under s. 95.11(3) must be begun within the period prescribed in this chapter, with the period running from the date that the facts giving rise to the cause of action were discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, rather than running from any other date prescribed elsewhere in s. 95.11(3), except as provided within this subsection. Under no circumstances may a claimant commence an action for products liability, including a wrongful death action or any other claim arising from personal injury or property damage caused by a product, to recover for harm allegedly caused by a product with an expected useful life of 10 years or less, if the harm was caused by exposure to or use of the product more than 12 years after delivery of the product to its first purchaser or lessee who was not engaged in the business of selling or leasing the product or of using the product as a component in the manufacture of another product. All products, except those included within subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2, are conclusively presumed to have an expected useful life of 10 years or less.” (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.031)
The statute of limitations is four years for most intentional torts.
Florida Negligence Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for negligence cases in Florida is four years.
“Actions other than for recovery of real property shall be commenced as follows: … (3) Within four years: … (j) A legal or equitable action founded on fraud.” (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(j))
Municipal Liability/Sovereign Immunity
The state or a subdivision thereof waives sovereign immunity up to $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident or occurrence. Sovereign immunity is waived only when employee is acting within scope and not acting in bad faith. Claims are allowed only up to the limit of the municipality’s insurance coverage. A claim requires prior written notice within three years of the incident, which must be given to the municipality and insurer. A lawsuit can be started after this claim is denied. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 768.28)Discovery Rule
The statute of limitations runs from when the injury is or should have been discovered.
Comparative negligence applies, but numerous special rules apply to percentages of comparative fault and their effect on liability and damage awards.
Charitable organizations are not immune to prosecution in Florida.
Incapacity or minor status of the plaintiff allows for the statute of limitations to be tolled for a maximum of seven years from the date of injury. This rule does not apply to medical malpractice. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.051(i))
The plaintiff must first demonstrate a reasonable basis for recovery of punitive damages. Then, the plaintiff must prove intentional conduct or gross negligence by clear and convincing proof. Punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000 unless the plaintiff demonstrates to court by clear and convincing evidence that a greater award is not excessive. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 768.73
Florida is a no-fault state.
Consumer Fraud Complaints
Fraud complaints should be filed with the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General. Those with lemon law concerns can also call 1-800-321-5366; all others can call the state fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.
If you’re struggling to figure out if your case falls within the statute of limitations in Florida, an experienced attorney can help Contact Parker Waichman LLP for a free consultation to get answers to your legal questions.