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Florida Brain Injury Lawyer Breaks Down Brain Injury Lawsuit Deadlines

Doctor reviews brain scans of a patient represented by South Florida brain injury lawyerA traumatic brain injury can make it seem as if time is literally standing still. Many of the 2.5 million people diagnosed with a TBI in the U.S. each year describe a sense of “depersonalization” or “derealization” that disrupts their sense of time – along with their memory, balance, sleep cycles, mood patterns, brain function, and more.  Unfortunately, as a Florida brain injury lawyer can explain, that doesn’t always mean you’ll have more time to file a civil negligence claim for damages related to that injury.

Traumatic brain injury or “TBI” is a contributing factor in an estimated one-third of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Safety Research revealed the cost to society for care and lost productivity due to brain trauma is enormous: $76 billion annually. Not all TBI sufferers are permanently impacted, but the National Institutes of Health report an estimated 5.2 million people in this country are disabled due to their TBI.

Although we don’t know exactly how many TBI injuries are caused by another’s negligence, we do know a fair number of Florida litigants include TBI claims. A longitudinal study published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology found that approximately 40 percent of TBI victims in one city had filed a personal injury lawsuit related to their claim.

A Florida brain injury lawyer can also tell you that many of the most common types of actionable injury claims involve head trauma: Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip-and-falls, hotel and resort injuries, golf cart injuries, construction accidents, nursing home falls, medical malpractice claims, criminal assaults on business property, etc. Depending on how serious your injuries were and whether someone else was at-fault for what happened, it may be possible to take legal action against at-fault parties in civil court to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Factors That Impact How Long You Have to File Your Florida Brain Injury Lawsuit

Factors that determine how much time you have to file a TBI lawsuit include:South-Florida-brain-injury-lawyer-on-TBI-lawsuit-statute-of-limitations-Florida-2-300x200

Where it happened. Different states have different rules for how long you have to file a personal injury claim. In Florida, that used to be 4 years for most. However, lawmakers earlier this year slashed that in half, as outlined in F.S. 95.11. It’s now 2 years for most personal injury cases (but with some exceptions, which we’ll explain more later).

How it happened. You may have more or less time depending on how it happened. If your TBI was caused by alleged abuse/intentional tort and you were a minor at the time, you may have 7 years after reaching the age of majority or 4 years after either leaving the dependency of the abuser or discovering the injury/causal relationship to the abuse, whichever is later. Personal injury claims for negligent design/construction is generally 2 years however it could be argued that there is a 7-year statute of repose if the defect was latent or hidden. Another rare exception would be product liability cases involving fraud/cover-up. We saw this when car manufacturers intentionally hid dangerous defects from the public for years to avoid having to issue recalls. That has a 12-year statute of repose.

Who was involved. Most personal injury claims in Florida now must be filed within 2 years of the date of the incident. However, if a claim involves the State of Florida as a defendant, you have 180 days in which to file a notice of claim. If the agency with which you filed the claim denies it, you have 3 years in which to file a lawsuit. If we’re talking about a medical malpractice case involving a young child, that can stretch until the child is 8 – but only if the parent/guardian did not and could not have known about the doctor’s negligence.

How long it took to discover the injury/cause. In some injury cases, the person harmed doesn’t know right away about the injury itself or its cause. Florida courts allow a 4-year statute of repose in these cases. This only applies if the incident/cause is not discovered and reasonably could not have been discovered. This could apply in a number of Florida TBI lawsuits.

Other factors. Per F.S. 95.051(1), the statute of limitations on personal injury cases can be tolled for up to 7 years for a number of other reasons. For instance, if the defendant has fled the state, the case can be paused. Same goes for a person who is hiding within the state. This could apply to a pedestrian injured in a hit-and-run accident. Another tolling provision of the statute refers to persons adjudicated incapacitated. For example, if your  TBI resulted in a coma or other extended incapacity, you may have up to 7 years to file. South Florida brain injury lawyer

Contact a South Florida Brain Injury Lawyer With Questions

All information provided here is intended as general information, not legal advice. It might not necessarily apply to your claim, and it could even be outdated (depending on when you’re reading this). Plus, Florida statute of limitations laws can change, as they did in 2023. That’s why it’s very important if you’re thinking of filing a brain injury lawsuit to directly contact a South Florida brain injury lawyer to talk 1:1. We can carefully review the circumstances and help you determine whether there’s still time to spring into action and fight for fair compensation.

If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury in Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Cape Coral, Naples, or Key West, contact Garvin Injury Law at 800.977.7017 for a free consultation. If we take on your case, attorney’s fees are contingent on your success. That means we aren’t paid unless and until you win. 

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More Blog Entries:

“Can I Still Win a Florida Injury Lawsuit if I Signed a Waiver?” June 13, 2023, Florida Brain Injury Lawyer blog

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