Practically speaking, the statute of limitations for child injuries in Florida is generally four years from the date of the injury. A special provision gives families of injured minors additional time to pursue legal action.
Like with any personal injury case, compliance with the statute of limitations is crucial. Failing to promptly move forward with a child injury case could lead a judge to dismiss the lawsuit forever.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases?
Technically, the statute of limitations for an injury case is the same for adults or minors alike. According to Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), plaintiffs have exactly four years from the date of an injury to pursue a civil lawsuit for negligence. This window of time shortens to only two years in cases involving medical malpractice.
The Statute of Limitations Can Pause for Minors
Exceptions to the statute of limitations exist, though. Pausing – or “tolling” – the statutory period is possible depending on certain circumstances. One of those circumstances involves injuries to individuals under the age of 18. The personal injury statute of limitations for a minor could be tolled for up to seven years, per Florida Statute § 95.051(i).
The statutory period for a minor could also toll is based on the “discovery rule.” With the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not begin until a person knows (or should have known) they suffered an injury.
This rule exists to prevent an unjust outcome when a person learns they were victims of malpractice or negligence only after the statute of limitations expires.
The Statute of Repose and Children’s Medical Injuries
The concept of the statute of repose is similar to the statute of limitations. The differences between the two are important, though. The statute of repose serves as a sort of outer boundary for a civil lawsuit.
Even if a person has the right to toll the statute of limitations thanks to the discovery rule, the statute of repose could still limit their ability to file a legal action. The statute of repose for medical malpractice cases is generally four years from the date of the injury. This means the victims of medical malpractice typically have an additional two years to file their civil lawsuit.
The statute of repose often comes into play for birth injuries. Determining if a child suffered a birth injury can be difficult, and the signs of a serious injury might not be present for months or years later. For that reason, the discovery rule applies in these cases.
As is the case with the statute of limitations, exceptions also apply to minors related to the statute of repose. A birth injury action must be brought on or before the child’s 8th birthday.
Minors Can Seek Damages for Their Personal Injury Losses in Florida
A minor does not have to wait until they reach the age of 18 to pursue a claim for their injuries. While they cannot file a lawsuit on their own, their parents or guardian could pursue the case on their behalf.
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Why Is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Important?
The statute of limitations is one of the most important deadlines applicable to a child’s injury case. The court could dismiss a child’s injury lawsuit with prejudice if the child (and their family/representative) disregards the timeline.
The dismissal of a case with prejudice is more than just an inconvenience or minor setback. By dismissing a case with prejudice, the judge prevents an injured child from filing their lawsuit again. That would be the case even if the underlying facts were likely to result in a favorable outcome.
Discuss Options for Your Child’s Case with Our Firm
Handling your child’s injury case on your own is a risky proposition that could put their chances of financial recovery in jeopardy. Determining the statute of limitations for child injuries in Florida on your own can be difficult.
Any miscalculation could put your child’s chance of recovery at risk. The guidance of an attorney could be the best option for securing fair compensation for your minor child.
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Our Staff Is Ready to Answer Your Questions About Statutes of Limitations
Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers is ready to serve as your advocate during this difficult time. We are proud to represent the families of injured children and will work to secure justice on their behalf.
To get answers regarding the statute of limitations for your child’s injuries in Florida, call (855) 529-0269 for a free consultation as soon as possible.
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