What is the Statute of Limitations?
The Statute of Limitations is the deadline or time limit for when a suit must be filed. If you do not bring suit within the prescribed time limit, the lawsuit is banned and could be dismissed. In Florida, a lawsuit based on a written contract must be brought within five (5) years. § 95.11(2)(b), Fla. Stat. (2014). A lawsuit based on an unwritten (verbal or oral) contract is four (4) years. § 95.11(3)(k), Fla. Stat. (2014).
What is the Purpose of the Statute of Limitations?
One purpose of the Statute of Limitations is it creates predictability and fairness in regard to filing lawsuits. Potential defendants who may be liable to another party could be put on notice of a lawsuit but will not have it hanging over their heads forever. Also, plaintiffs must decide whether or not to bring a lawsuit in a timely manner.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Period Start?
Generally, the statute of limitations period begins to run from the time the cause of action accrues. § 95.031, Fla. Stat (2014). For causes of action on a contract, the action accrues and the statute of limitations period begins to run at the time of the breach.
However, all contracts are not created equal. Contract law is complex and some contain severe consequences. It is vital that you have an attorney draft and/or review all of your contracts to ensure that your rights are protected. I have helped numerous clients who have lost money because they did not understand the contracts they agreed to or did not know what to do when the other party breached the agreement. In most of these cases, the advice of a contract lawyer could have prevented their monetary loss.
Before you enter an agreement that requires giving or paying valuable consideration, schedule a free thirty minute case assessment with me. It is always wise to consult with an experienced contract lawyer to review the agreement, advise you on your obligations under it, and the consequences of breaching the agreement. You should always make sure you read and understand anything you sign. Seeking the advice of an experienced contract attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes.
If you have any questions, or to make an appointment for a free thirty minute case assessment, contact attorney Abigail D. Edelstein at (407) 862-9449.