Florida SOL Laws, or statute of limitations laws, are laws that designate a time limit in which legal action can be taken in response to an unlawful situation of wrongful conduct. Statute of limitations laws apply to lesser charges, and are not applicable in certain cases of more serious crimes. There are different time limits for different charges, and these time limits may also vary based on the state that the crime was committed in. SOL laws are also updated occasionally, with the most recent update to Florida SOL laws taking place in 2013.
Commonly Cited Florida SOL Laws
SOL laws which are commonly used to determine the length of time allowed to pursue legal action in Florida include:
- 30 days to challenge a disciplinary procedure against a prisoner
- One year to file a petition on behalf of a prisoner, except regarding disciplinary actions
- One year to resolve payment for contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor work or goods
- One year to resolve actions specified within a contract
- Two years to file a malpractice suit against a professional, except in certain medical malpractice scenarios
- Two years to recover wages or overtime benefits which were unlawfully withheld from an employee
- Two years to seek legal action in the case of wrongful death
- Two years to file a suit for libel or slander
- Four years to pursue legal recourse for negligence
- Four years following the age of majority for a child to determine paternity of the child
- Four years to recover public money or property from a public employee or officer
- Four years to recover stolen personal property
- Four years to pursue action in an alleged case of fraud
- Four years to contest an arrest or imprisonment
- Five years to take action for breach of a property insurance contract
- Five years to take action to foreclose on a mortgage
- Five years to file a lawsuit for willful violation of minimum wage laws
- Five years to pursue legal action to collect a debt if there is a written contract, as with credit cards-four years if there is no written contract
Legal action against individuals in the case of medical malpractice should be filed within two years of the date that the injury was discovered. However, the statute of limitations specifies that the claim cannot be filed more than four years following the incident in which the malpractice was said to have occurred. However, if a victim of malpractice is younger than eight years old, legal recourse can legally be sought until the child is eight years old even if the time frame exceeds four years. If an individual or institution is found to have concealed evident pertaining to medical malpractice, statute of limitations laws allow an additional two years in which legal action can be pursued, up to seven years from the date of the incident.
Purpose of SOL Laws
The purpose behind common Florida SOL Laws is to protect defendants. When a case is brought against an individual or institution, the party being accused of a crime is much more likely to possess evidence to disprove the charge if the accusation is brought to light within a reasonable time frame. Claims that are filed after long periods of time have elapsed are less likely to have a burden of evidence to prove or disprove the claim, giving favor to the accuser.
Exceptions to SOL Laws
Murder is an exception to Florida SOL laws, with no time limit following the murder in which an individual can be accused. Charges can also be filed without a time limit for any incident that resulted in wrongful death in which an institution or individual was negligent or intentionally caused the action which resulted in death. Kidnapping, robbery, child abuse, elder abuse, assault, human trafficking, and resisting an arrest with violence to the officer are examples of actions which can result in wrongful death. Sexual battery committed against a victim under the age of 16 is also an offense for which there is no time limit within which charges must be filed.
“Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor.”United States Department of Labor. U.S. Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 27 Mar 2014. <http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/lawsprog.htm>
“The 2013 Florida Statutes.” Online Sunshine. The Florida Legislature, 27 Mar 2014. Web. 27 Mar 2014. <http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0000-0099/0095/Sections/0095.11.html>