Practically speaking, the statute of limitations for child injuries in Florida is generally two years from the injury date. However, 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 essential. Failing to promptly move forward with a child injury case could lead a judge to dismiss the lawsuit forever. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers, explain how to file your claim to get justice for your child’s pain.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases?
Technically, the statute of limitations for an injury case is the same for adults and minors alike. According to Florida’s statute of limitations, you have exactly two years from the injury to pursue a civil lawsuit for negligence.
A statute of limitations is the amount of time you can hold the liable parties accountable. Once this period passes, the party cannot be held liable anymore.
The Statute of Limitations Can Pause for Minors
Exceptions to the statutes of limitations exist, though. Pausing – or “tolling” – the statutory period is possible depending on certain circumstances. One of those circumstances involves when a person under 18 suffers injuries. 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 be 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 the victim 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 from medical errors is generally four years from the date. 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 accidents. Determining if a child suffered a birth injury can be difficult, and the signs of a serious problem 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. You must bring a birth accident lawsuit on or before the child’s 8th birthday.
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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 case. The court could dismiss a child’s accident lawsuit with prejudice if the child and their family or representative fail to file the claim in time.
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 a lawsuit again. That would be the case even if the underlying facts were likely to result in a favorable outcome.
The sooner you file a claim, the more of a chance you’ll be successful when you negotiate with insurance companies. When you show that you can file within a deadline, the insurance company will believe that your case is genuine.
But don’t worry; our personal injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale has decades of experience handling insurance adjusters. We can help you file a personal injury lawsuit or a medical malpractice claim.
Minors Can Seek Damages for Their Losses in Florida
Minors do not have to wait until they reach the age of 18 to pursue a claim for their pain. While a minor cannot directly retain legal counsel or file a lawsuit themselves, their parents or legal guardians have standing to pursue a personal injury claim on their behalf using a procedure called “Guardian Ad Litem.”
The responsible adult brings the suit as the guardian of the minor to protect their interests. Through a personal injury or malpractice lawsuit, you could recover economic and non-economic damages for your child. These damages may include:
- Medical expenses already incurred for a child’s treatment.
- Future medical costs are estimated throughout their life.
- Lost earning capacity down the road, if the accident stunted a minor’s overall development, can be proven.
- Pain and suffering are also compensable.
It is not necessary to wait until your child’s 18th birthday to initiate a legal case. Pursuing justice and compensation through the court system sooner rather than later is often in a minor’s best financial and health interests long-term. An attorney can help families understand this option and effectively build a claim highlighting unique factors like a child’s distinctive age and circumstances.
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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 accidents in Florida on your own can be difficult.
Any miscalculation of the time limit you have to file 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 child.
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Our Staff Is Ready to Answer Your Questions About Your Personal Injury Claim
Chalik & Chalik is ready to serve as your legal 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, contact us for a free consultation as soon as possible.
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