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Whenever a crime is committed, it is proper you report it, and file charges. It could be anything – burglary, shoplifting, car theft, kidnapping, rape, getting hit by a car amongst others. This is to ensure that the perpetrators are sent to jail or prison, or even made to pay compensation, depending on the sort of crime. However, it is important to note that most crimes have a deadline or timeframe within which you can charge them to court. To put it clearly, crimes have something like an expiry date after which charging them to court would not get anything done. What this means is that if you file a case against a crime committed after a stipulated period, nothing could come out of it. The court would refuse to entertain it, in most cases. This is because most crimes have a statute of limitations. That’s why having an attorney is always a good start to fight against the crime.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a deadline set on a particular crime that allows for matters concerning such crime to be taken to court. It is the timeframe within which one is allowed to file charges on a case to court. The statute of limitations ranges from crime to crime, while some crimes, like murder, are deemed too serious to have a limit or deadline. The limit also differs from state to state.
In Florida, there are also such limitations, passed by the legislature of the state. The limitations exist for misdemeanors and certain felonies, except those that lead to death. Now, one may begin to wonder why these limitations exist in the first place. Why can’t one file a case on a crime whenever they choose? The reason is that these limitations make life easier for everyone, both the plaintiff and the person accused of the wrongdoing. It allows for evidence to be fresh, and for the parties involved to be able to remember what happened, how it happened, and for the jury to pass very swift judgments, and award the necessary compensation or punishment. And who wouldn’t like a swift judgment?
The Statute of Limitations in Florida Depends on the Crime.
For crimes that are a personal injury related, both committed on a person, or their property, there is a 4-year limit. Also for crimes like trespassing and fraud, the same 4-year limit is applicable. However, defamation either by libel or slander has a lesser timeframe as it is pegged at a maximal 2-year limit.
Breach of contract has different limits, depending on the sort of contract. A written contract has 5 years limit, while an oral one has 4 years.
Anyone who suffers any issue as a result of medical malpractice has between 2 – 4 years to file a case concerning it. Any other type of negligence or malpractice has only a timeframe of 2 years.
These are just some of the very popular statute of limitations law in Florida, and they can be found in section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes.
It should be good to understand that the statute of limitations starts running from the very day the crime is committed, that is when the claim accrues. So the very day your property is damaged, or the other party breaches the contract, the time to file the case begins to run. For example, if someone damages your property on the 13th of July 2019, you have until the 13th of July 2023 to take the matter to court and seek compensation. Anything after that would not be entertained. And even if the matter gets to court after being filed outside the statute of limitations, the moment the defendant brings that up, the court can strike out the whole case, and you could lose out on whatever compensation you were hoping on. So one must be aware of just how much time they have to bring a case to court, so they do not make mistakes.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
As with everything in law, there are exceptions or instances where the statute of limitations does not apply. These exceptions are necessary to ensure fairness, and that no side feels cheated. These exceptions allow for cases to be filed even after the limit set by law. The court would overlook the deadline because of the presence of certain things that now surround the case.
In the case of a breach of contract, which usually has a 5 year limit on written contracts, the plaintiff can file a case even after 5 years if he can prove that he did not know there had been a breach, usually because it was carefully concealed by another person.
In personal injury cases, the time for filing can be after the stipulated 4 years in certain cases. If for example, someone got hit by a bus but continued to move about normally, then after years, began to have several health complications that were traced back to be as a result of the bus accident, he can sue, even if it’s after 4 years. That is because they just discovered the harm or injury they got from the accident with the bus.
There are also certain factors that could pause or toll the statute of limitations, keeping it from even ticking in the first place, such as when the victim was not yet mature enough to pursue lawsuits as at the time of the incident. Then such a person shall do so the moment they come off age. Also in cases where the defendant absconded the state, there shall be a pause.
If you decide to pursue a case in court, it would be very important for you to have an idea of if it is still within the period set by the statute of limitations law. You can know that by knowing when the crime took place, or by employing the services of an attorney. If the case has to do with personal injury, and seeking compensation, you can contact any Personal Injury Attorney Orlando FL, as having one can let you grasp the case better. Also, having an attorney puts you in the clear, making sure you are not just taking a blind shot, while also letting you relax knowing you have a professional at the seat of matters.