A Florida statute of limitations contract refers to a legal agreement that states the deadline for filing a lawsuit in Florida. The process of filing a lawsuit can be complicated and troublesome, but it can be made more equitable and predictable with the creation of a statute of limitations contract. In Florida, the statute of limitations laws are somewhat similar to those in other states, with the deadline ranging from two to four years depending on the nature of the legal case. For breach of contract, the time limit differs depending on the kind of contract.

Overview of the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the time limit or deadline within which a lawsuit must be filed. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the prescribed deadline, the lawsuit will be banned and may be dismissed. The statute of limitations was established to create fairness and predictability for individuals and businesses that wish to file lawsuits.

Those who are potentially facing a lawsuit will be notified of the lawsuit and the filing deadline instead of having it hanging over their heads for an indefinite time. Potential plaintiffs are required to decide whether they should file a lawsuit within the time limit.

When Does the Timeframe for Filing a Lawsuit Begin?

According to the statute of limitations, the timeframe for filing a lawsuit starts from the time of accrual of the cause of action. In the event of a contract breach, the cause of action arises and the timeframe for the statute of limitations starts running from the time the contract is broken.

Contract law is complicated and may sometimes lead to severe consequences. Therefore, it is essential that you get an attorney to draft or review your contracts to make sure that your rights are protected.

Civil Statute of Limitations in Florida

Florida has largely the same civil statute of limitations laws as other states. Its statute of limitations may be between two and four years, depending on the kind of lawsuit and the procedures involved. The following is a summary of Florida's statute of limitations for different kinds of civil cases:

  • Libel or slander – two years
  • Injury to person – four years
  • Injury to personal property – four years
  • Fraud – four years
  • Trespass – four years
  • Professional negligence or malpractice – two years
  • Medical malpractice – two to four years
  • Collection of rent – none
  • Collection of debt on an account – none
  • Breach of contract – five years for a written contract, four years for an oral contract, and one year for specific performance
  • Judgment – 20 years for a domestic judgment and five years for a foreign judgment

Statute of Limitations for Contract Breach in Florida

According to the Florida Statutes, the statute of limitations for most breach of contract lawsuits is five years.  This means that if the non-breaching party takes more than five years to file a lawsuit after the breach occurred, the breaching party can use a statute of limitations defense to have the lawsuit dismissed. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the statute of limitations may differ from one contract to another.

When a written contract is broken, the timeframe for filing a lawsuit is usually five years. On the other hand, a legal action that is based on the breach of an oral contract must be brought within four years. If the non-breaching party chooses to request specific performance, he or she is required to file the lawsuit within a year of the contract breach.

The statute of limitations serves to prevent plaintiffs from delaying the enforcement of their legal rights and reduce the risk of injustice. In order to know if the statute of limitations has expired or the amount of time left to file a lawsuit, a potential plaintiff has to first determine the time the statue of limitations began. Generally, the statute of limitations starts when the cause of action arises. For a contract breach, the timeframe for filing a lawsuit starts at the time when the breach occurred.  

If a contract requires a party to make a one-time delivery of products or one lump-sum payment, it is easier to ascertain the time the alleged breach occurred and the expiration date of the statute of limitations. Things get more complicated if the lawsuit is based on an installment contract, which requires goods to be delivered in separate lots or payments to be made in separate increments.

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