Florida Negligence Statute of Limitations: A Simplified Overview

Statute of Limitations in Florida Personal Injury Case

When someone in Florida experiences harm due to another person’s negligence, they might think about taking legal action. But there’s an important factor to consider: the Florida negligence statute of limitations. It determines how long a person has to file a lawsuit after suffering harm. If they wait too long, they could lose their chance to seek compensation.

In this article, we’ll break down the basics of the Florida negligence statute of limitations, what it means for potential plaintiffs, and exceptions that might apply.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

Before diving into the specifics for Florida, let’s discuss what a statute of limitations is. In basic terms, it’s a law that sets the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings can be initiated. After this time, a person typically cannot file a lawsuit related to the event.

Florida’s Timeline for Negligence Claims

In Florida, the general rule is that a person has four years from the date of the incident to file a negligence lawsuit. This four-year window is the standard for most personal injury cases, which include those arising from another person’s negligence.


Suppose Sarah slipped and fell in a store in Florida on January 1, 2020. She would have until January 1, 2024, to file a lawsuit against the store for negligence.

Exceptions to the Four-Year Rule

Like many laws, there are exceptions to the Florida negligence statute of limitations.

1. Discovery of Harm

In some cases, the harm or injury isn’t immediately apparent. Florida law allows for the clock to start ticking from the “discovery date” – the moment when the injured party either knew or should have known about the harm.

2. Injury to a Minor

For injuries to someone under the age of 18, the statute of limitations can be extended. Typically, the clock doesn’t start until the minor reaches the age of majority, which is 18 in Florida.

3. Mental Incapacity

If a person is mentally incapacitated at the time of the injury, the statute might be paused or “tolled” until they recover.

4. Defendant Leaves the State

If the person who caused the harm (the defendant) leaves Florida after the incident and before a lawsuit can be filed, the time they’re gone might not count toward the four-year window.

Importance of Acting Quickly

Even though there’s a four-year window to file a lawsuit for negligence in Florida, it’s wise to act sooner rather than later. Evidence can fade or be lost, memories can become less clear, and witnesses might move away or become hard to find.

Seeking Legal Advice

If you believe you have a negligence claim in Florida, it’s crucial to seek advice from a legal professional. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and ensure you don’t miss out on potential compensation because of the Florida negligence statute of limitations.


The Florida negligence statute of limitations is a crucial component of the state’s legal framework. It provides a clear timeline for when potential plaintiffs can file a lawsuit after suffering harm due to another’s negligence. By being aware of this timeline and its exceptions, individuals can better protect their rights and seek the justice they deserve.