In this business blog, Carlos Urbaneja discusses the important information businesses need to know about Florida’s Statute of Limitations.
As a business owner in Florida, expert Carlos Urbaneja in Miami, FL, says it is essential to be aware of the state’s statutes of limitations.
Statutes of Limitations Explained
Statutes of limitations are legal time limits that determine how long a person or business has to file a lawsuit.
These statutes serve as protection and accountability for companies insofar as they keep old cases from being litigated indefinitely. Therefore, the statute of limitations ensures that issues are addressed promptly.
Florida Statute Of Limitations
Florida business owners must understand how these statutes comply with the law and protect their rights.
Statutes of limitation are laws that limit how long an individual or party has to take legal action against another individual or party. These time limits vary by state and by type of case.
In Florida, different statutes apply to civil matters, such as
- Breach of contract
- Personal injury suits
- Product liability claims
When does the statute of limitations start?
The statute of limitations begins when the incident occurs or when the injured party discovers the injury (known as the “discovery rule”). After this period has expired, any lawsuit must be dismissed regardless of whether there is merit to the claim.
Carlos Urbaneja says it is important to note that most states have different statutes for criminal cases because criminal cases involve punishment from the government; civil lawsuits involve disputes between two parties without government involvement.
Florida has similar timelines for criminal and civil
Some states — including Florida, have similar timelines for both criminal and civil cases, making it a lot more straightforward. For example, an individual has up to four years to file a breach-of-contract suit in Florida, whether a civil or criminal case.
In What Cases Does This Matter?
Statutes of limitation can apply to many types of civil actions, including
- Personal injury lawsuits
- Contract disputes
- Debt collection lawsuits
If you are involved in any dispute where one party alleges harm caused by another party’s actions (or inaction), you should be aware of your state’s applicable statutes.
Common Statutes Timeframes
Below are some common scenarios and the timeframe limitation for filing a suit.
Personal Injury Suits
In most instances, personal injury suits must be filed within four years from when the incident occurred (or was discovered). This includes medical malpractice suits and premises liability suits such as slip-and-fall accidents.
Breach Of Contract Suits
Generally speaking, breach-of-contract suits must be filed within five years from when the alleged breach occurred (or was discovered). However, if real estate contracts involve interests in real property, then this time limit increases to 10 years from when the alleged breach occurred (or was discovered).
Product Liability Suits
Product liability suits must be filed within four years from when the incident occurred (or was discovered). This applies not only when an individual purchases a defective product but also when someone misuses a product resulting in the harm caused by another person’s negligence.
Debt Collection Suits
Debt collection suits must be filed within five years from when the alleged breach occurred (or was discovered). This applies not only when an individual fails to make payments on a loan but also when someone fails to pay back money owed due to a contract dispute.
How To Address Statutes Of Limitation?
It is essential for businesses to understand their state’s statutes of limitation and to abide by them. Failing to do so can result in a lawsuit being dismissed regardless of merit. Additionally, businesses should be aware that the statute of limitations might reset if an individual or party takes specific actions, such as signing a new contract or agreeing to extend the time limit.
Individuals need to be aware of the applicable statutes and take legal action as soon as possible if they feel their rights have been violated. This can help ensure that any lawsuit stands a chance of succeeding and not being dismissed due to an expired statute of limitation.
Finally, it is essential to note that these statutes have certain exceptions. For example, in certain states, minors and those with mental disabilities have an extended period to file their lawsuit. It is always best to consult a qualified attorney for legal advice regarding any statute of limitation matters.
Carlos Urbaneja says knowing your state’s statute(s) of limitations is essential for any business owner to protect their rights while remaining compliant with the law. In Florida, all civil claims have four-year or five-year time limits depending on the dispute you have encountered with another party or entity. If it involves real estate interests, then you have up ten years until filing suit expires under Florida law.
Timely knowledge about these deadlines will help businesses avoid costly legal disputes and potential liabilities. It pays off for business owners to stay informed about their state’s specific laws related to statutory time limits, so they don’t find themselves running out of time before filing suit against another person or entity.