Understanding the Statute of Limitations for a Miami Personal Injury Case

file000980994442You are driving down Coral Way in Miami and another vehicle t-bones your car. You smack your head against the driver’s side window and the airbags deploy. You have suffered serious injuries and will likely need significant treatment. When should you hire a Miami personal injury lawyer?

Answer: sooner rather than later. Why? Because of the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations is a finite period of time which has been fixed by law. It is the window of time that a plaintiff (i.e. the injured party) must file a claim in order to be heard in a court of law. In other words, if a suit is filed after the statute of limitations expires, the case is likely to be dismissed irrespective of the seriousness of the injury or the amount of compensation claimed. Statute of limitations apply to virtually all civil cases, including personal injury cases.

A summary of the limitation periods for civil cases in the State of Florida, as codified in the Florida Statutes § 95.11 looks something like this –

Type of case Period of limitation Applicable section of the law
Injury to Person 4 years § 95.11(3)(o)
Injury to Personal Property 4 years § 95.11(3)(h)
Fraud 4 years § 95.11(3)(j)
Trespass 4 years § 95.11(3)(g)
Libel/Slander 2 years § 95.11(4)(g)
Professional Malpractice 2 years § 95.11(4)(a)
Medical Malpractice 2-4 years § 95.11(4)(b)
Written Contracts 5 years § 95.11(2)(b)
Oral Contracts 4 years § 95.11(3)(k)
Specific performance 1 year § 95.11(5)
Domestic Judgments 20 years § 95.11(1)
Foreign Judgments 5 years §  95.11(2)(a)

As you can seen, a plaintiff is required to file for a personal injury claim within four years of the date of accident. However, what most people are unaware of is that the limitation period in a personal injury case can differ according to the type of incident and injury at issue.

Personal injury can be of numerous types including car accidents, bicycle accidents, product liability, wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, burns, spinal injury, dog bites, medical malpractice, etc. If you were hurt by the carelessness of a doctor, you may not have four years to take legal action. Your limitations period may be much shorter.

What to Do

The best course of action to avoid any issue with the statute of limitations is to contact an experienced Miami personal injury attorney sooner rather than later. An attorney can assess the merits of your case and initiate legal proceedings in a timely fashion so that valuable time is not lost.

The South Florida personal injury lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz P.A. are experienced advocates who represent victims and their families throughout Miami Dade, Miami Beach, the Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale, Broward, and West Palm Beach. Call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online to schedule your free case consultation.

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