What does the statute of limitations mean for your injury claim?

Maybe you were hit by a car when you were trying to cross a busy street – or maybe you were bitten by your neighbor’s aggressive dog. Either way, you’ve got some significant injuries and some significant hospital bills. You’re also likely to be off work (and out of a paycheck) for a while.

What do you do now? A personal injury claim is probably an option – but only if you act before the statute of limitations expires.

What’s a statute of limitations, and what is it in Florida?

A statute of limitations is the period within which you must file a lawsuit. Generally, most injury victims try to negotiate a settlement on their claims without resorting to litigation, but that’s not always possible – and each state puts a time limit on how long plaintiffs have to take definitive action and begin a court case.

At four years from the date of injury, Florida’s statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits is fairly generous.

What’s the point of limiting how long someone has to file?

There are a few different reasons the courts decided that statutes of limitations are necessary. They include:

  • The fact that nobody should have to worry about the potential of a lawsuit for an indefinite period (potentially decades)
  • It helps prevent evidence from being lost, witnesses from forgetting the things they saw and other important aspects of a case from being obscured
  • It encourages plaintiffs and defendants to try to negotiate in earnest for a settlement, which ultimately keeps the court docket from being overwhelmed

If you’ve been injured, don’t let the insurance company get the better of you. You have a right to protect your interests and obtain the compensation you are due.

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