An Overview of Florida’s Statute of Limitations

In our increasingly litigious society, it seems just about anyone can sue someone else for almost anything, at any time. In reality – that’s not the case. In every state, including Florida, there are strict rules governing if and when a civil claim, or lawsuit, can be filed.

In each state, the rule, or “statute,” that sets the deadline for when a lawsuit can be filed is referred to as the Statute of Limitations. For each different type of claim or lawsuit, there is a separate statute of limitations governing how long a person or company may have to file the lawsuit. This time period refers to the amount of time that is allowed to elapse between the event giving rise to the lawsuit and the actual date the lawsuit is filed.

In this post, we’ll give you a basic idea of what these rules are in Florida and why they’re important.

As set forth in Section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes, here are some of the time limits for initiating civil claims:

  • Action to recover on a Florida judgment — within 20 years
  • Breach of written contract – within five years (but only four years for oral contracts)
  • Claims involving the design, planning, or construction of real property – within four years
  • Fraud claims – within four years
  • Any claim based on negligence – four years
  • Any action not specifically provided for by statute – four years
  • Professional malpractice other than medical malpractice – within two years
  • Medical malpractice – within two to four years
  • Claims involving the payment of wages and overtime – within two years
  • Defamation (libel and slander) claims – within two years
  • Claims to enforce a payment bond involving a contract or subcontractor – within one year

In most cases, the time period in which you can file a lawsuit begins when an event that causes or results in an injury occurs. However, there are some circumstances in which the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until the incident that caused or resulted in the injury is discovered. There are also some circumstances in which the statute of limitations is temporarily paused, or “tolled.”

While the statute of limitation is designed to create a level playing field between potential plaintiffs and defendants, understanding the nuances of these rules can be tricky for the average person. In Florida, these issues can be even more cumbersome, as the Statute of Limitations doesn’t automatically bar someone from filing suit, but rather must be raised as an affirmative defense to the lawsuit.

If you have questions about whether or not to pursue a civil claim, the deadline for doing so, or how to defend against a lawsuit based upon the Statute of Limitations, don’t waste another minute – contact Eskander Loshak today. One of our knowledgeable attorneys will speak with you directly to evaluate your case and let you know how we can help.

 

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