How Long Can You Wait to Sue for an Injury?
Suffering a personal injury due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions often feels like an overwhelming and unfair set of circumstances. In fact, figuring out what to do beyond recovering and coping with this new reality can be daunting in and of itself, but it is important to consider whether you want to hold this person accountable for what happened fairly close to when the injury occurred. The reason for this urgency is that the law in Florida places a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, on how long a person has to file a lawsuit for this type of injury. The ability to file a lawsuit is a crucial right that you do not want to lose simply because you missed the time cutoff. The length of time a person has to make this decision depends on the source and type of injury suffered. The importance of this right to sue and hold parties accountable is well illustrated by a mother in Florida that is blocked from suing the hospital where her adult son died. Florida’s Wrongful Death Act does not grant parents of adult children the legal right to sue for medical negligence. The reason for this exception is that the law is intended to allow survivors who rely on the financial support of deceased person to recover money damages. Adult children seldom fall into this category. The mother started an online petition seeking to garner public support for changing the law, but for now, parents of unmarried adult children are unable to pursue this kind of legal recourse. Because the statute of limitations is such a final, and almost always, insurmountable obstacle to filing a lawsuit if it passes, an overview of the time limits for negligence and medical malpractice cases will appear below.
Negligence and Wrongful Death
The cutoff to file a lawsuit based on negligence or wrongful death is straightforward and does not allow for any wiggle room. A person has four years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit for negligence and two years to file a lawsuit for wrongful death. The difference between these two types of cases is that for negligence a person was only injured due to the actions of someone else, and in wrongful death cases, death resulted due to negligent acts.
Figuring out how long you have to sue in medical malpractice cases is a little more complicated. First, the applicable time periods for medical malpractice suits only apply to health care providers and those in confidential relationships with them, which typically means the person or entity has to be directly involved in the deficient medical treatment the injured person received. Generally, an injured patient has two years from the time the negligent medical treatment was administered or discovered to file a lawsuit. However, it is possible to extend that time limit up to four years if the negligence was not immediately known and only discovered at a later date. Further, if facts indicate that the medical providers engaged in “fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation” in order to prevent a patient from discovering medical malpractice, the length of time granted to file a lawsuit is moved up to seven years.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you suffered an injury because someone else failed to exercise prudent and reasonable judgment, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait to take action the more likely crucial evidence needed to prove your case will be lost, and the possibility of being time-barred from bringing an action increases. The Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado understands the pain and suffering you experienced and will work to hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.