FLORIDA’S STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
by Caitlin Szematowicz on March 12th, 2020 in Litigation
An important issue when deciding whether to file a lawsuit is whether the time to file your lawsuit has expired.
The Florida Legislature has enacted Florida Statutes, Section 95.11. This statute is commonly referred to as the “statute of limitations” and sets forth how long an individual or entity has to file a claim. The time within which an action begins “running” under the statute of limitations is from the date that the cause of action accrued.
It is important to understand the limitations set forth in this statute – and any other applicable statutes, rules, or regulations – to ensure that you timely file your lawsuit. If you do not timely file your lawsuit, you will not be able to pursue your claim.
In pertinent part, Section 95.11 provides for the following time periods in which an action is to be commenced:
The Following Actions Must Be Brought Within Five Years:
- A legal or equitable action based on a contract, obligation, or liability founded on a written instrument (except for an action to enforce a claim against a payment bond); note that notwithstanding this section, an action for breach of a property insurance contract, with the period running from the date of loss
- An action to foreclose a mortgage
- An action alleging a willful violation of Section 448.110, which is known as the Florida Minimum Wage Act
The Following Actions Must Be Brought Within Four Years:
- An action founded on negligence
- An action relating to the determination of paternity (with the time running from the date the child reaches the age of majority)
- An action founded on the design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property, with the time running from the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion of the contract or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employee (excluding latent defects, wherein the time runs from the time the defect is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence or within ten years of certain listed activity)
- An action for injury to a person founded on the design, manufacture, distribution, or sale of personal property that is not permanently incorporated in an improvement to real property, including fixtures
- An action for trespass to real property
- An action founded on a statutory liability
- An action for taking, detaining, or injuring personal property
- An action to recover specific personal property
- A legal or equitable action founded on fraud
- A legal or equitable action on a contract, obligation, or liability not founded on a written instrument
- An action to rescind a contract
- An action for assault, battery, false arrest, malicious prosecution, malicious interference, false imprisonment, or any other intentional tort, except as otherwise provided
- An action alleging a violation other than a willful violation of Section 448.110, which is known as the Florida Minimum Wage Act
- Any action not specifically provided for in these statutes
The Following Actions Must Be Brought Within Two Years:
- An action for professional malpractice, other than medical malpractice, whether founded on contract or tort (the period of limitations runs from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence)
- An action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within two years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or from the time the incident is discovered or should have been discovered (note that there is additional information on the statute which may affect same)
- An action to recover wages or overtime or damages or penalties concerning payment of wages and overtime
- An action for wrongful death
- An action founded upon a violation of any provision of Florida Statute, Chapter 517 (Securities Transactions), with the period running from the time the facts giving rise to the cause of action were discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but not more than 5 years from the date such violation occurred
- An action for libel or slander.
The Following Actions Must Be Brought Within One Year:
- An action for specific performance of a contract
- An action to enforce an equitable lien arising from the furnishing of labor, services, or material for the improvement of real property
- An action to enforce rights under the Uniform Commercial Code (Letters of Credit, Chapter 675)
- An action against any guaranty association and its insured, with the period running from the date of the deadline for filing claims in the order of liquidation
- An action to enforce any claim against a payment bond on which the principal is a contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor as defined in Florida Statute Section 713.01 (with certain exceptions)
The above list is illustrative and is not exhaustive – there are more causes of action, information, and limitations set forth in Section 95.11 and in other sections of the Florida Statutes as well. Also, certain administrative claims (such as a claim filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or Florida Commission on Human Relations) have their own timing requirements in which a claimant must file a claim.
Furthermore, even if it appears that the time for you to bring a claim has expired, there are certain exceptions which may affect the limitations period and your ability to bring a claim. For instance, a statute of limitations may be tolled, suspended, or extended in particular instances or under certain circumstances.
It is important to have counsel who understands the statute of limitations and whether any particular exceptions to the statute of limitations apply to the facts of your specific matter. If you have questions about whether you can file a claim, please contact the experienced civil litigation attorneys at Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, PA.