A statute of limitations is a length of time after which a lawsuit cannot be brought. The law creates statute of limitations to be fair to the wrongdoer. The idea is that after a certain amount of time has passed, witnesses will have forgotten the details and evidence will have disappeared. If a lawsuit is brought after the statute of limitations has run, the court will dismiss the case and prevent it from moving forward.
Each type of personal injury case has its own statute of limitations. Furthermore, in Florida, for each type of personal injury case, the statute of limitations is the same no matter what city your in. For car accidents, the statute of limitations is 4 years from the date of the accident. That means, whether you have a Tampa car accident or you have a car accident in any other Florida city, you must bring a lawsuit within 4 years from the date of the accident or your claim is forever barred.
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There does not appear to be any rational basis for why some statute of limitations are longer than others. During my years as a Tampa car accident lawyer, I have never been able to figure out why the legislature chose 4 years as the statute of limitations for a car accident.