A statute of limitations is a law that limits the time a person has to file a complaint for a lawsuit. In Tampa and the rest of Florida, if the lawsuit involves a claim for a personal injury, then the plaintiff (the one filing the claim) has four years from the date of the accident to file.
This means that if you were involved in an accident on January 1, 2016, then you will usually have until January 1, 2020, to file. You can file on that day, but if you wait until January 2, 2020, then a judge can throw out the suit because it wasn’t filed on time. Very few exceptions exist.
Be sure to speak to an attorney to have them go over your options as soon as possible when injured. If your injury happened in the Tampa, Florida area, contact us today for a free consultation.
Purpose of a Statute of Limitations
In each state, that state’s legislature passes a low determining the statute of limitations for different types of legal claims. The reason for the limit is because as more time goes by, the more difficult it is to find witnesses and evidence that could assist the jury in determining what happened. The limit is on the plaintiff because he or she controls filing the case. Whereas the defendant has no ability to hurry up the claim.
Exceptions to Filing by the Deadline
There are situations that stop or “toll” the time running on the statute of limitations. If any of these apply, then the clock stops running and then continues if the situation changes back. Some of these circumstances are:
- Incapacitation: If incapacitated from injuries, such as a coma, then the time for filing stops until the person is out of the coma or dies.
- Out of the state: If the person who committed the act leaves the state after the case has been filed, then it stops until he or she returns.
- Concealment: If the defendant attempts to hide from the person who wants to file a claim, then the time stops.
- False Name: If the defendant uses a false name to attempt to prevent the plaintiff from locating the defendant.
How it Works
On the day of the accident or personal injury, the plaintiff has four years to file a claim. If the claim is filed even one day after the four years are up, then the case can be dismissed and no claim can be made for damages from the defendant.
However, if one of the exceptions happen—like the defendant leaves the state for two years—then the statute of limitations time could stop accruing, and may not pick back up until the person returns to the state.
Contact a Tampa Auto Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in an auto accident or by some other person’s negligence, you need to see an attorney right away to discuss when the deadline is for your case.
Don’t wait until the last minute as then something might happen and the deadline might pass. Call the Tampa Auto Injury Lawyers at 844 RHINO-77 or 844 879 3213 to talk to our personal injury team who can advise you on Florida’s personal injury laws.