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Important Deadlines In Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits

In Florida, legislation sets the limit at four years from the date the injury occurred to file a lawsuit.
Personal injury cases cover many types of accidents and circumstances. A person may sustain a personal injury claim from a slip on an icy sidewalk to a car accident and even to medical malpractice. Civil law allows for the filing of a claim by the injuries person against the person who negligently caused the injury. Yet, there is normally a limited amount of time for the injured person to file a lawsuit, commonly called "statue of limitations." The reason societies have recognized a need for a limited time to file a claim is for the protection of the accused. The thought is that a truly injured person should seek resolution of their issue in a reasonable amount of time. Also, if a plaintiff is allowed an indefinite amount of time to file, crucial evidence may be lost that would exonerate the defendant. Finally, statutes of limitations are needed because there are some people who abuse the legal system and repeatedly cry "foul" when no injury truly occurred. Even ancient Athens had a five year statute of limitations on claims, to control "sycophants" said Demosthenes.

Important Deadlines In Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits

For this reason, when a person truly has sustained a personal injury, they need to be aware of the limited time to file a lawsuit seeking compensation through the civil court system. These limits vary from state to state, ranging from two to four years from the date of the injury. In Florida, legislation sets the limit at four years from the date the injury occurred to file a lawsuit. If a person ignores this limit and files a suit too late, the court can dismiss his case.

Yet, even this limit has some exceptions. If a person only discovers the injury at a much later date than the occurrence the statute of limitations can be extended, such as exposure to a hazardous chemical on the job may have latent effects that are only discovered years later. This is known as the "delayed discovery rule," and it allows a person and extended time to file suit, specifically four years from the date the injury was discovered. Another important exception is a personal injury claim filed against a city, county or the state of Florida. In those cases the injured party is only allowed three years to file suit. Finally, the statute of limitations only means a person has the limited time period to file suit, not to settle the suit. It may take much longer than four years for the claim to be settled, but this is allowed by law.

"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late," wrote Shakespeare. This is especially true in the matter of filing a claim for a personal injury--a person does not want to be too late in that case.

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