Statutes of Limitations

Negligence / Personal Injury

4 years with Discovery Rule.
When a personal injury action has yet to be brought or is in litigation and the plaintiff dies as a result of these injuries, no action for the personal injury shall survive, and any such action pending at the time of death shall abate (terminate).

Wrongful Death

2 years from date of death. (Florida’s delayed discovery rule found not to apply to extend accrual date in wrongful death action brought by family of decedent against manufacturer of insecticide, alleging that insecticide sprayed in decedent’s neighborhood caused decedent’s death; a plain reading of the statutory text demonstrated that the delayed discovery rule applied only to products liability actions, not wrongful death actions).

Florida also has a statute (F.S.A. 768.20) that which terminates (abates) any “personal injury” action brought or yet to be brought upon the death of the injured person but then permits “wrongful death” actions.

Medical Malpractice

2 years with discovery rule. SOR: 4 years from the malpractice. SOL applies to minors 8 and older. Infant must bring suit by 8th birthday or within SOL whichever is greater. (When nature of bodily damage that occurs during medical treatment is such that, in and of itself, it communicates possibility of medical negligence, then statute of limitations begins to run; however, if there is nothing about injury that would communicate to reasonable lay person that injury is more likely the result of some failure of medical care than a natural occurrence that can arise in absence of medical negligence, knowledge of injury itself does not necessarily trigger running of statute of limitations).

Caps:

Noneconomic Damages for Negligence of Practitioners:
Noneconomic damages, regardless of number of practitioner defendants, may not exceed $500,000 per claimant. If negligence, however, resulted in permanent vegetative state or death, total noneconomic damages may not exceed $1 million. In cases that do not involved death or permanent vegetative state, claimant may recover noneconomic damages not to exceed $1 million if: (i) trial judge determines that manifest injustice would occur unless increased non economic damages are awarded based on finding that noneconomic harm sustained was particularly severe; and (ii) tier of fact determines that negligence caused catastrophic injury to patient.

Noneconomic Damages for Negligence of Nonpractioners:
Noneconomic damages may generally not exceed $750,000. If negligence resulted in permanent vegetative state or death, damages may not exceed $1.5 million. In cases that do not involve death or permanent vegetative state, claimant may recover noneconomic damages not to exceed $1.5 million under specific circumstances.
Noneconomic Damages for Negligence of Practitioners Providing Emergency Services and Care: Noneconomic damages, regardless of number of such practitioner defendants, may not exceed $150,000. Total noneconomic damages recoverable by all claimants from such practitioners may not exceed $300,000.

Noneconomic Damages for Negligence of Nonpractitioners Providing Emergency Services and Care:
Noneconomic Damages may not exceed $750,000. Total noneconomic damages recoverable from all such nonpractitioner defendants may not exceed $1.5 million. Nonpractitioner defendants may receive full setoff for payments made by practioner defendants.

Claimant may recover attorneys fees and costs of up to 25% of award. Claimants award is reduced by any damages received from arbitrating codefendants.

Malpractice (Other Professions)

2 years with discovery rule.

Products Liability

4 years with Discovery Rule.
SOR: Claimant may not commence action for products liability, including wrongful death action or other claim arising from personal injury or property damage caused by product, to recover for harm allegedly caused by product with expected useful life of ten years or less, if harm was caused by exposure to or use of product more than 12 years after delivery of product to first purchaser or lessee.

Intentional Torts

4 years for most intentional torts.

Fraud

4 years for legal or equitable action founded on fraud. SOR: 12 years after date of commission of alleged frauds regardless of date fraud was or should have been discovered.

Municipal Liability/Sovereign Immunity

Waived only when employee is acting within scope and not acting in bad faith. Allowed only up to limit of insurance coverage. Requires prior written notice within 3 years of incident, must have notice in writing after injury to municipality and department of insurance. Lawsuit can be started after claim is denied.
State, or subdivision thereof waives sovereign immunity up to $100,000 per person and $200,000 per incident or occurrence.

Discovery Rule

SOL runs from when injury is, or should have been, discovered. See specific rule for medical malpractice. Under Florida law, the “delayed discovery doctrine” generally provides that a cause of action does not accrue until the plaintiff either knows or reasonably should know of the tortious act giving rise to the cause of action.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence adopted.

Charitable Immunity

Abolished

Disabilities

Incapacity of plaintiff, maximum 7 years for injury. Rule does not apply to medical malpractice. Infants generally have 4 years except in medical malpractice cases – see above. SOL does not run during absence or concealment of defendant.

Punitive Damages

Plaintiff must first demonstrate a reasonable basis for recovery of punitive damages. Then, plaintiff must prove intentional conduct or gross negligence by clear and convincing proof.

Caps:

Three times compensatory damages or $500,000 unless plaintiff demonstrates to court by clear and convincing evidence that a greater award is not excessive. If factfinder determines defendant had specific intent to harm claimant no cap on punitive damages.

If factfinder determines conduct motivated solely by unreasonable financial gain and that unreasonably dangerous nature of conduct, together with high likelihood of resulting injury, were actually known by managing agent, director, officer, or other person responsible for making policy decisions on behalf of defendant, award of punitive damages may not exceed greater of four times amount of compensatory damages awarded to each claimant or $2,000,000.

Double actual damages recoverable from individual or company leaving unenclosed pit or hole.

No-Fault Insurance

Applies

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