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What is the Statute of Limitations for Legal Malpractice?

Florida Legal Malpractice > Legal Malpractice Questions > What is the Statute of Limitations for Legal Malpractice?

The statute of limitations is a time limit set by law which creates a deadline for filing a lawsuit. If you file your suit after the deadline, the suit will be thrown out. Each state has its own special requirements, and some states allow extensions or have exceptions to their time limits.

If you think you may have a claim for legal malpractice, you should contact a malpractice lawyer in your state as soon as possible to learn the precise deadline for filing your claim. There may be a great deal of work to do to prepare your case before it can be filed. Some malpractice lawyers will not even agree to investigate a potential case unless there are several months remaining on the statute of limitations.

In Florida, the statute of limitations for legal malpractice is defined in Section 95.11(4)(a) of the Florida Statutes as follows:

“(4) Within two years.-– (a) An action for professional malpractice, other than medical malpractice, whether founded on contract or tort; provided that the period of limitations shall run from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.”

This two-year period can sometimes be much more difficult to measure than it sounds, and like many things in law, there are exceptions and qualifications. For example, the Florida Supreme Court has held that for legal malpractice claims arising out of negligence in handling a prior lawsuit, “in those cases that proceed to final judgment, the two-year statute of limitations … begins to run when [the] final judgment becomes final.” Silvestrone v. Edell, 721 So.2d 1173 (Fla. 1998).

The Florida Supreme Court indicated that this bright-line rule is intended to provide certainty and reduce litigation over the question of when the statute begins to run in litigating malpractice cases. (A final judgment normally becomes final either upon the expiration of the time for filing an appeal or post judgment motions, or, if an appeal is taken, upon the appeal being affirmed and either the expiration of the time for filing motions for rehearing or a denial of the motions for rehearing.)

For legal malpractice claims arising out of mishandled transactions, the statute may begin to run at the time the client (or transaction beneficiary) first becomes aware of the malpractice, or possibly at a later period, such as when attempts to correct the malpractice have finally failed.

The bottom line on the statute of limitations issue is that it can be complicated, and there is no possible way we could list every possible scenario or exception here.  We have said it many times throughout this site: If you think you might want to pursue a claim, contact a legal malpractice lawyer without delay.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Legal Malpractice?

Legal malpractice happens frequently, and most clients don’t even realize it. We handle legal malpractice cases throughout Florida. We would like to hear about your case and see if we may be able to assist you in making a recovery.

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