Can Parties Circumvent the Statute of Limitations in Florida Personal Injury Cases?

There are various procedural and evidentiary rules and regulations that Florida car accident victims must follow if they want to collect damages from an at-fault party. Before a court accepts a personal injury lawsuit, it will determine whether the claim falls within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the amount of time that a person has to bring a legal cause of action against another party or entity. This is arguably the most critical step of a personal injury lawsuit, because an otherwise meritorious claim may face dismissal if the statute of limitations has expired.

Generally, the statute of limitations begins to run from either the date of the incident or the date the injury was discovered (or should have been discovered). There are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations or arguments that a party can make to argue that the statute does not yet bar their claim. Florida courts understand that there are circumstances that may hinder a plaintiff’s ability to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations. For example, historically, Florida courts have permitted plaintiffs to file a lawsuit past the statute of limitations if the plaintiff was deemed incompetent for some time, if they were a minor, or if the defendant fled the state. However, absent a unique and unusual circumstance, the courts will dismiss a claim that is past the statute of limitations.

In some instances, a defendant may claim that the parties agreed to shorten or lengthen the statute of limitations. For example, a state appellate court recently issued an opinion addressing the validity of a contractual agreement that reduced the statute of limitations. In that premises liability claim between a tenant and landlord, the landlord argued that the parties agreed that any legal claim against the landlord must be filed within one year of the incident. The landlord moved to dismiss the case because the complaint was filed two years after the woman suffered injuries. In that state, claims of this sort generally must be commenced within two years of the injury, but parties can agree to modify the statute of limitations.

However, under Florida Statutes, 95.03 parties cannot modify the statute of limitations even if they contractually agreed to such a modification. Although Florida does not permit adjustment to a statute of limitations, it does allow parties to modify other rights and privileges. This a crucial distinction because plaintiffs must understand that a court will only strike the defective clause and not the entire agreement.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Accident?

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Florida slip and fall accident because of another party’s negligence, you should contact the South Florida injury attorneys at Friedman Rodman & Frank, P.A. Our skilled litigators have extensive expertise handling various Florida personal injury lawsuits. Our team is comprised of compassionate, understanding, and knowledgeable trial attorneys that have successfully represented many clients, getting them substantial settlements. If you suffered damages because of another’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation as well. Compensation may include payments for medical bills, property damage, ongoing treatment and therapy and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.

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