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Determining Which Statute of Limitations Applies in a Personal Injury Lawsuit May Prevent Unnecessary Delay or Dismissal

Almost every type of lawsuit has a time limit within which the case must be filed to be considered timely. These time limits, more commonly referred to as statutes of limitations, provide certainty to those who are involved in an accident and believe that they may face liability. However, statutes of limitations are strictly enforced and can often result in meritorious cases being dismissed for no other reason than the plaintiff filing the lawsuit too late.

RollerbladersOne of the issues that arises with statutes of limitations is determining which one applies. In most states, including Florida, there are different statutes of limitations for different types of lawsuits. For example, in Florida, the statute of limitations for general negligence cases is four years. However, for medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is just two years. In cases alleging the negligence of a government employee or entity, the statute of limitations is three years. Furthermore, when a case is filed against a government entity, additional procedures must be followed, or the case will not be considered timely and may be rejected.

The plaintiff in a recent premises liability case learned these lessons the hard way when an appellate court dismissed her case for being filed past the applicable statute of limitations.

Frith v. City of Fargo

Frith was injured while rollerblading in a park operated by the City of Fargo. Evidently, Frith was rollerblading on a bike path when she encountered an area of soft patching material that had been used to cover up a crack in the pavement below. Frith fell to the ground, sustaining serious injuries as a result.

A few days before three years had elapsed since her injury, Frith filed a personal injury lawsuit against the City. However, Frith failed to properly serve the City, and the case was initially rejected. A few months later, the City was properly served, and the case was scheduled to go to trial.

Before the case reached trial, the City asked the court to dismiss the case because it was filed after the statute of limitations had run. Although the case was initially filed and rejected before the three years had elapsed, the case did not officially “begin” until proper service was made, and this was after the three-year period had elapsed. As a result, the court had no choice but to dismiss the plaintiff’s case.

The plaintiff tried to argue that the five-year statute of limitations for non-government entities should apply because the patch work was performed by an independent contractor. However, the court explained that this case was brought against the City, rather than the contractor, so the three-year statute of limitations was appropriate.

Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of South Florida slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Cohn & Smith have decades of collective experience handling all types of personal injury cases, including premises liability cases as well as cases involving government defendants. Call 954-431-8100 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney at the law firm of Cohn & Smith. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless you are successful in obtaining compensation for your injuries.

Related Blog Posts:

Johnson & Johnson Seeks to Reverse $65 Million Baby Powder Verdict, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, November 16, 2016.

Federal Appellate Court Finds Insurance Company May Have Unreasonably Delayed Coverage, Exposing the Company to Additional Damages, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, December 1, 2016.

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