What is the statute of limitations for aviation accidents in Florida?

In most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident, and it applies to cases of product liability or negligence claims against most states or the federal government. For example, if an aviation accident occurred on October 1, 2015, you must file a Florida aviation accident claim by October 1, 2017.


In Florida, for some aviation accident cases, limitation periods can be quite short, but several factors affect how long the time limit will be in a case. For example, the deadlines vary according to the type of claim as well as the applicable law.

Standard deadlines that may apply in Florida aviation accident cases:

  • Cases against Florida Governmental Entities (cases involving municipal airports). Injured individuals must file a special state agency claim in writing within three years of the date of the aviation accident, and no lawsuit can be filed until after a 180-day investigation period, except if the claim is formally denied.
  • The lawsuit must be filed no later than three years from the date of injury after the governmental agency rejects the claim. In case of a wrongful death claim, however, the limitation period is of two years.
  • Cases alleging negligence or product liability (including design defect). Airplane accident victims must file a lawsuit must be filed within four years after the cause of action occurred. While this might seem like a reasonable period, large insurance companies and aircraft enterprises possess considerable resources to hire professionals who investigate the case while attempting to convince victims to settle for less than they actually deserve.
  • Cases against the Federal Government (cases involving weather reporting or air traffic control errors). The injured individual must file a special Federal Tort Claims Act Claim Form within two years of the accident or injury; the suit must be filed no later than six months after the government rejects the claim.
  • Cases against EMS Helicopter/Air Ambulance Operators, if MICRA applies. The lawsuit must be filed within three years of the accident; other pre-filing requirements may apply. Otherwise, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the aviation accident. Claims against the estate of someone who caused the aviation accident but has since died are subject to a two-year statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations or statute of repose?

The Florida legislature enacted a statute of repose, restricting or limiting product liability causes of action. Rather than establishing a time limit within which an action must be brought, measured from the time of accrual of the cause of action, the statute of repose cuts off the right of action after a specified time measured from the delivery of a product. The statute prevents plaintiffs from using modern standards and expectations to impose perpetual liability on manufacturers and distributors for outdated products.

The statute of repose is "12 years after delivery of the product to its first purchaser or lessee who was not engaged in the business of selling or leasing the product or of using the product as a component in the manufacture of another product" (The 2017 Florida Statutes Title VIII 95.031.) The statute does not apply to commercial aircraft.

How can The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary help?

If you suffered a personal injury, the defendant is responsible for paying for your medical care, past and future lost earnings and compensation for pain and suffering. Also, your spouse might be entitled to loss of consortium.

If a loved one died, the recovery usually starts with the amount of economic support and services you lost. In many jurisdictions, additional amounts, such as the loss of companionship and prospective inheritance, pain and suffering, grief, mental anguish, and emotional distress damages, may be available.

Choose an aviation accident lawyer in Florida who specializes in personal injury and wrongful death claims, not a general practice attorney. Why? Personal injury law is intricate. An experienced lawyer has the skill and reputation for maximizing your recovery. At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we understand what you are going through, and we know how to help. The time to file your claim is limited, so call today for the Miami aviation accident attorney at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary to schedule a free case evaluation.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.