In general, two years, but it may depend on the type of personal injury lawsuit you are pursuing. For example, a wrongful death lawsuit has a strict statute of limitations that begins on the date of death and expires exactly two years later.
Medical malpractice, however, is modified by what is known as a discovery rule. This rule means that the statute of limitations does not begin until you discover the malpractice or reasonably should have discovered the malpractice. However, you are further limited to bringing action only within four years after the date of malpractice, regardless of the date of discovery. Finally, this statute only applies to adults and minors age 8 or older. Below that, lawsuits are allowed up until the age of 8, even for some types of birth injury.
Products liability also have a discovery rule that allows lawsuits to be undertaken up to 4 years after the date of actual or reasonable discovery, but only if the injury occurred within the first 12 years after a product was first delivered to market. This 12-year “Statute of Repose” can be extended if there was an intentional concealment of a dangerous product defect.
As you can see, the rules governing how much time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit are complex. Because it often takes time to prepare for a successful filing in this type of lawsuit, is always best to act quickly once you suspect you may have a valid claim.
To learn more about your legal rights and options in a personal injury lawsuit, please call 1-800 The Firm or email The Cochran Firm South Florida and receive a free case evaluation.