Failure to File Case in Time
Tampa Legal Malpractice Attorneys
In a civil case, a statute of limitations operates as a deadline for filing a lawsuit. Should an attorney allow a statute of limitations to expire, your right to pursue a valid legal claim could be forever forfeited. Different types of civil legal actions have different time periods for filing. Some common statutes of limitations in Florida are:
- Five years on a written contract and four years on an oral contract
- Four years for personal injury
- Two years for defamation
- Two years for professional malpractice other than medical malpractice
Attorney time constraint
The general rule in Florida is that if an attorney is representing a claimant on a case that has a statute of limitations, a case must be filed in court within the designated period of time. There are very few exceptions to this rule. The attorney’s failure to file a timely lawsuit could constitute Florida legal malpractice because his or her client could be forever barred from proceeding further on their claim.
The 2-year rule
Once the statute of limitations on the underlying case runs, another statute of limitations starts to run on a legal malpractice claim. That extends for another two years after the statute of limitations in the underlying case expired.
Ways a statute can expire
Although it happens infrequently, lawyers usually don’t just let a statute of limitations slide by. Sometimes they might realize that the statute is going to expire, and then they sue the wrong defendant, or they file a lawsuit in the wrong place. Sometimes they miscalculate when the statute is set to expire. At other times, an attorney realizes that he or she let a statute of limitations run and conceals it from the client.
It might seem that it’s too late to bring a case against your attorney, but there still might be sufficient time.