You are not alone if you are curious about the statute of limitations on wrongful death in Florida. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state and issue to issue. Learn more about the Florida statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, how to file a wrongful death claim in Florida, and what type of law firm can help.

Wrongful Death Statute — What Is It?

The wrongful death statute of limitations varies from state to state. It is a deadline that limits the time you have to submit a wrongful death claim. In Florida, a personal injury claim based on the other party's negligence generally carries a statute of limitations of four years. However, cases not based on negligence only provide a two-year statute of limitations, meaning you must act quickly to file these lawsuits.

In a wrongful death case, the statute of limitations can become complicated due to multiple exceptions and exclusions that can affect your deadline. Generally, a wrongful death claim is accompanied by a two-year statute of limitations in Florida; this includes cases involving nursing homes. This two-year Florida wrongful death statute of limitations usually begins on the date of the death.

Florida Statutes, Exceptions, and Limitations

Wrongful death statute of limitations - Florida

  • Two years

FL wrongful death statute of limitations involving medical malpractice

  • Two years from when the incident was or should have been discovered but no longer than four years from the date of death

Florida statutes of limitations involving state or government entities

  • If you lodge your claim against the state of Florida or another government entity, you must generally make it within four years. However, there may be another rule that complicates it. Your statute of limitations may be significantly less than four years.

Due to the many exceptions, limitations, and additional statutory requirements in Florida, it is essential that you discuss your situation with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. You may have much less time to file your claim than you anticipated. For example, if you file a claim against the other party, and that party dies before the lawsuit is finalized, you only have 90 days to file a particular motion in court to substitute the other party's estate's personal representative. Failing this, you may lose the opportunity to file a wrongful death claim. An experienced Florida wrongful death lawyer can ensure you do not miss crucial deadlines like these.

How to File a Wrongful Death Claim

Filing a wrongful death claim in Florida can be done without an attorney. However, hiring an experienced legal representative can help simplify the process and ensure your decisions are well-informed and punctual. There are three main steps to filing your wrongful death claim.

Prepare for Litigation With Your Personal Representative

First, you should prepare for litigation with your representative. Your lawyer can verify if your case qualifies for a wrongful death lawsuit. An honest conversation with your wrongful death attorney can help you determine your rights and the legal options available. At this point, you may choose to pursue legal action.

You and your attorney will discuss the evidence needed to support your case. Your wrongful death lawyer is in the best position to determine what evidence will be most beneficial for your case and help you collect it. This may involve meeting with law enforcement or medical professionals with experience in these cases. You may even need an expert witness or other specialty witnesses to analyze the evidence. 

Begin Negotiations or Insurance Settlements

Before you begin negotiations or discuss settlements with insurance companies, your lawyer will determine the value of your legal claim. They will tally the damages so that you can recognize a good offer during the negotiation and settlement period.

If the other party makes a fair offer, your claim may settle before going to court. Settlements are relatively common. They can reduce the time a case takes to finalize and save you from the stress and costs of ongoing legal processes. However, your case may proceed to court if the other side fails to offer a reasonable settlement.

File Your Civil Lawsuit Within the Time Limit

Your lawyer can help you file your wrongful death civil lawsuit within the Florida statute of limitations. Your attorney can ensure all deadlines and statutes of limitation are adhered to so that your legal claim remains valid.

Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Not everyone is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. Florida has specific rules that regulate who can file a wrongful death claim. A personal representative or wrongful death lawyer should initiate the official complaint. This person will file the complaint on behalf of all family members who suffered a loss. Typically, these family members include:

  • The deceased's spouse
  • The deceased's children
  • The deceased's parents
  • Any other relatives who relied upon the deceased for financial support.
  • Your wrongful death lawyer will analyze your case and determine which family members a qualified to be included in the wrongful death claim.

What Damages and Compensation Is Possible?

If you or another family member paid for costs associated with your loved one's death, then you may be able to claim these expenses as damages.

Examples of potential damages and compensation may include:

  • Hospital bills
  • Medical expenses
  • Specialized care
  • Medications and pharmaceuticals
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost wages, earnings, and other benefits
  • Mental and emotional suffering
  • Loss of companionship

Every wrongful death case is unique. A skilled wrongful death attorney who understands Florida's laws can help you determine the damages you and your family may be eligible to receive.

Rely on Qualified Attorneys With Experience for Your Lawsuit

Whether the wrongful death originated in premises liability, medical malpractice, or another type of accident, you need more than just a personal injury law firm. You need a Florida personal injury law firm with attorneys who understand wrongful death claims. The respected legal team at Ratzan Weissman & Boldt is here to help you navigate the intricacies of Florida's wrongful death laws. We understand the pain your family has suffered. We are prepared to advocate your case while providing you with vital information empathetically so that you can focus on the grieving process.

Call us today at (305) 374-6366 to speak with a wrongful death lawyer who can help.