“Statutes of limitations” are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a “civil” lawsuit, like a breach of contract lawsuit or a personal injury suit, or how long the state has to prosecute someone for committing a crime. These time limits usually depend on the claim asserted, and vary from state to state. For example, in some states you may have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in car accident, but in other states you may have four years. As a general rule:
- The time period begins to run on the date your claim arises or “accrues,” like the day of the car accident, or when a contract was breached, and
- Once the statute of limitations has expired or “run,” you can’t file a lawsuit (or be prosecuted for a crime)
- The running of the statute of limitations may be tolled in certain circumstances.
- The running of the statute of limitations may be delayed until the time the claimant knew or should of known of his or her claim, but only in certain cases such as negligence, professional malpractice (i.e., medical, legal, dental, architectural, engineering, and other professional malpractice) latent construction defects, and fraud.
Below are the statutes of limitations in Florida for various civil claims and crimes. The list doesn’t cover everything. Also, the laws may change at anytime, so be sure to check the current Florida laws and read them carefully, or talk to an attorney if you have any questions.
Most of the civil statutes of limitations are in Chapter 95 of the Florida Laws. You can scroll through the laws in this Chapter to find the statute of limitations for civil claims or “causes of action” not listed below.
Description Length (# of years) Statute
A legal or equitable action on a contract, obligation, or liability founded on a written instrument, except for an action to enforce a claim against a payment bond 5 years 95.11(2)
An action to foreclose a mortgage 5 years 95.11(2)(c)
An action alleging a willful violation of s. 448.110 (minimum wage law) 5 years 95.11(2)(d)
An action for breach of a property insurance contract, with the period running from the date of loss. 5 years 95.11(2)(e)95.11(2)(e)
An action based on negligence 4 years 95.11(3)(a)
An action relating to the determination of paternity, with the time running from the date the child reaches the age of majority 4 years 95.11(3)(b)
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 or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest; except that, when the action involves a latent defect, the time runs from the time the defect is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence (see rest of statute for further details and limitations) 4 years 95.11(3)(c)
An action to recover public money or property held by a public officer or employee, or former public officer or employee, and obtained during, or as a result of, his or her public office or employment. 4 years 95.11(3)(d)
An action for violation of a statute. 4 years 95.11(3)(f)
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A civil action for trespass on real property 4 years 95.11(3)(g)
An action for taking, detaining, or injuring personal property. 4 years 95.11(3)(h)
An action to recover specific personal property 4 years 95.11(3)(i)
A legal or equitable action founded on fraud. 4 years 95.11(3)(j)
An action for breach of an oral agreement or an action to recover on a sale and delivery of goods, wares, and merchandise, or on store accounts. 4 years 95.11(3)(k)
An action to rescind a contract. 4 years 95.11(3)(l)
An action for money paid to any governmental authority by mistake or inadvertence (i.e., taxes, special assessments, impact fees, etc.) 4 years 95.11(3)(m)
An action for a statutory penalty or forfeiture 4 years 95.11(3)(n)
An action for assault, battery, false arrest, malicious prosecution, malicious interference, false imprisonment, or any other intentional tort, except as provided in section 95.11 4 years 95.11(3)(o )
Any action not specifically provided for in the Florida statutes (this is a "catch all statute of limitations). 4 years 95.11(3)(p)
An action for professional malpractice, other than medical malpractice, whether founded on contract or tort; provided that the period of limitations shall run from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. However, the limitation of actions herein for professional malpractice shall be limited to persons in privity with the professional. 2 years 95.11(4)(a)
An action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence; however, in no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except that this 4-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday (see rest of statute for further info) 2 years 95.11(4)(b)
An action to recover wages or overtime or damages or penalties concerning payment of wages and overtime 2 years 95.11(4)(c)
An action for wrongful death. 2 years 95.11(4)(d)
An action founded upon a violation of any provision of chapter 517 (Florida Securities Law violation), 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. 2 years 95.11(4)(e)
An action for libel or slander. 2 years 95.11(4)(g)
An action for specific performance of a contract. 1 year 95.11(5)(a)
An action to enforce an equitable lien arising from the furnishing of labor, services, or material for the improvement of real property 1 year 95.11(5)(b)
Disclaimer: The statutes on this site should not be relied on without reviewing your legal situation with an experienced lawyer and making sure you are using the appropriate version of the statute for your case. The provisions applicable to your potential claim may or may not be the version that was in effect at the time of the incident because some changes to statutes are retroactive and some changes are not. Other statutes and other case law interpreting or applying these statutes may also apply to your case.
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