Rules Affect When You File Your Case
Florida has rules that specify when plaintiffs must file claims against negligent parties for personal injuries. These rules, called the Statute of Limitations, govern the length of time that can pass between the injury and filing the lawsuit for the claim to be valid. Once an injury occurs, the clock starts ticking. Injury claims filed after the statute of limitations have run out are usually deemed invalid.
The experienced attorneys at Coker Law represent victims in Jacksonville and surrounding areas of Florida who have sustained injuries due to the negligence of others. Our mission is to recover the largest settlement possible for your injuries and suffering. If you believe your injuries were caused by negligence, contact our office at 904-356-6071 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. You don’t pay unless we win your case.
Florida’s Laws Just Became More Complicated
The statute of limitations involving negligence recently became more complicated as plaintiffs must now pay stricter attention to the dates of their injuries. The general rule for negligence lawsuits specified that claims had to be filed within four years of the date of injury. However, beginning after March 23, 2023, this timeframe was reduced to two years, meaning any injury that occurred after that date will be subject to the shorter statute of limitations. Filing for wrongful death lawsuits remains at two years.
The Discovery Rule
Medical malpractice lawsuits have slightly different rules. Plaintiffs must file their claims within two years of the accident date, or within two years of discovering the injury. The latter is necessary as some medical injuries do not manifest immediately and require additional diagnosis and treatment before they are discovered.
Traumatic brain injuries can fall into this category as some don’t manifest until weeks or months after the original injury. It’s known as the Discovery Rule, and an effective injury attorney will argue that your filing deadline should begin on the day the injury was discovered.
How Tolling Can Affect Injury Cases
In some cases, plaintiffs and their attorneys can stop the statute of limitations from running and extend the deadline for filing in a process known as tolling.
The deadline can be extended under various circumstances. These are the most common:
- The defendant is not in Florida.
- The defendant is using a false name that you don’t know, or is hiding and can’t be served via due process.
- You’re under 18 when the injury happens.
Florida has specific rules to ensure consistent process and protect everyone’s legal rights. When the process is impossible, tolling can occur.
How are Cases Involving Minors Affected?
Minors cannot file cases in court. If an injury happens to you when you are underage, you have seven years to file a claim. Parents or legal guardians may file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor. Tolling can occur when a minor doesn’t have a parent or guardian, the parent or guardian is incapacitated and unable to file, or the parent or guardian’s interest runs opposite to the minor’s interests.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Florida is a comparative negligence state. This rule means that if the courts find that you have contributed to your injuries in part, it may reduce the awarded damages. For example, if the court determines that you bear responsibility for 40% of a negligence case, your settlement will be reduced by that amount.
The state also has a modified comparative fault statute in place with a 51% bar to recovery rule. This means if you file a lawsuit and the courts deem you are more than half responsible for an incident, you won’t be able to recover any damages for negligence, even when the other party contributed to the incident.
How Florida Statute Affects Evidence in Injury Claims
The state has statutes outlining rules of evidence in personal injury claims, stating what can and cannot be admitted in court as evidence. Other rules include who can testify, what they can testify about, and how judges can make inferences regarding evidence.
Florida law prohibits entering evidence of benevolent or sympathetic gestures from defendants in personal injury and wrongful death cases. However, with some limitations, the rules allow plaintiffs to admit actual statements of fault.
Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Florida Personal Injury Claim
Plaintiffs can recover economic and non-economic damages in personal injury claims and may recover punitive damages in rare cases when a defendant acts intentionally or with a reckless disregard for safety.
Economic damages can include:
- Past and future lost income
- Medical bills
- Cost of medication and rehabilitation
- Replacement of personal property
Non-economic damages are more difficult to value but can involve:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life due to the accident
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
Have You Been Injured Through Another’s Negligence?
Coker Law is here to help. Contact us at 904-356-6071 to discuss your injuries and the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit.