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What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Florida?

Understanding the Florida wrongful death statute of limitations is crucial for families who’ve suffered the unthinkable loss of a loved one due to another’s negligence. A wrongful death claim not only seeks accountability but also provides a means of financial recovery for the bereaved.

However, in the aftermath of a tragedy, the last thing a grieving family wants to do is worry about filing a claim. That’s why the assistance of a compassionate attorney can be of great help in times of sorrow.

At Colling Gilbert Wright, we stand by our clients, guiding them in their quest for justice. If you’re grappling with loss and seeking recompense, our Orlando wrongful death lawyers are here to support you. Let us worry about the Florida wrongful death statute of limitations while you focus on your family.

Call (407) 712-7300 today to schedule a FREE consultation. We are proud to represent our neighbors in Orlando and throughout Florida. We are committed to doing the right thing for our clients—and we do it exceptionally well.

How Long Do You Have To File a Wrongful Death Suit in Florida?

After a tragic loss, understanding the legal timelines is imperative. A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum period from the occurrence of an incident within which legal proceedings may be initiated.

When it comes to the Florida wrongful death statute of limitations, the timeline is particularly stringent. Family members are only allowed 2 years from the date of their loved one’s death to file a lawsuit (Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(e)).

Unfortunately, due to this relatively short amount of time, families need to seek legal guidance promptly after a death caused by negligence. Failure to adhere to this deadline can bar the opportunity to pursue compensation altogether.

Given the complexities of wrongful death claims and the meticulous investigation required, it can take many months to put a strong case together. Engaging a wrongful death lawyer early can be pivotal in navigating this time-sensitive process effectively.

Filing an Insurance Claim Does Not Satisfy the Statute of Limitations

Starting an insurance claim after a fatal incident is a typical first step toward seeking compensation. Yet, it’s essential to remember that this action alone does not meet the requirements of the Florida wrongful death statute of limitations.

Engaging with insurance providers, while necessary, does not extend the two-year deadline to file a legal claim. Without filing a lawsuit within this period, families risk losing their entitlement to pursue justice and financial redress for their loss.

It Takes Time to Build a Wrongful Death Claim

Constructing a solid wrongful death claim is a meticulous and time-intensive process. It involves a deep dive into the incident, gathering and analyzing phone records, employment records, surveillance camera footage, and other forms of evidence from a variety of sources. This process can easily take several months.

Given the complexity of piecing together the events leading to a wrongful death, initiating the investigative process well before the 2-year statute of limitations in Florida is critical. Starting the process early is vital for thoroughly developing a robust claim.

It Takes Time to Prepare a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Preparing a wrongful death lawsuit is a meticulous and time-consuming task. The attorney representing your family must identify the liable parties and develop effective strategies for securing a favorable outcome.

While a skilled lawyer can manage much of the workload, the involvement of you and your family is invaluable. Your insights and testimonies are pivotal, bolstering the case with personal accounts and evidence to support a compelling argument for justice.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Florida, the statutes are clear about who can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. According to § 768.20, the legal action must be filed by the decedent’s personal representative. This individual acts on behalf of the decedent’s estate and all surviving family members who have an interest in the claim.

If the deceased had a will, it likely names a personal representative. If no will exists or if the will does not name a personal representative, then the court may appoint one through the probate process. This process can sometimes lead to disagreements over who is best suited to serve in this capacity, further extending the process of filing a claim.

Waiting Can Make It More Difficult to Secure a Favorable Result

Delaying action in pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can significantly hinder your ability to secure a favorable outcome. Over time, vital evidence can be lost or become less reliable, and witnesses’ memories may fade, making it challenging to construct a compelling case.

Additionally, legal deadlines and procedural requirements necessitate timely action. Engaging an experienced wrongful death attorney early can help ensure your case is strong, well-documented, and filed within the statutory timeframe.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Limitations on Wrongful Death?

Certain circumstances may alter the standard Florida wrongful death statute of limitations timeline. The law does stipulate certain exceptions to the general statute of limitations, allowing some flexibility under specific circumstances:

  • Discovery Rule: If the cause of death was not immediately apparent and only discovered later, the countdown may start at the discovery date.
  • Fraud: If there’s evidence that the defendant deliberately concealed information that prevented the filing of the claim, an extension might be granted.
  • Minor Dependents: The statute provides some leeway for claims filed on behalf of minors, allowing for extended filing deadlines under certain conditions.

Due to these exceptions, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney will help to navigate these legal nuances effectively.

Who Is Entitled to Wrongful Death Benefits in Florida?

Under Florida law, the beneficiaries of wrongful death claims typically include the deceased’s spouse, children, and in some cases, parents. Additionally, any blood relative or adoptive sibling who was partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support may also qualify. Understanding who is eligible for benefits is crucial in ensuring that all entitled parties receive the support and compensation they deserve during this difficult time.

What Damages May Be Available for Wrongful Death in Florida?

The damages recoverable in a Florida wrongful death case may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral & burial expenses
  • Loss of future income
  • Loss of benefits
  • Loss of companionship & protection
  • Pain & suffering

The comprehensive approach to compensation aims to address both the economic and emotional toll a wrongful death takes on the deceased’s loved ones.

Is There a Cap on Wrongful Death in Florida?

Florida law does not impose a general cap on the damages that can be awarded in wrongful death cases. However, specific limitations may apply to certain types of damages or in cases against certain defendants.

How Can an Orlando Wrongful Death Attorney Help You?

Navigating the aftermath of a loved one’s wrongful death demands more than just legal knowledge—it requires a compassionate partner who understands your grief and fights for your rights with integrity and commitment. At Colling Gilbert Wright, our team offers both the support and the legal strategies needed to secure the justice and compensation your family deserves. Let us carry the legal burden so you can focus on healing.

Contact Colling Gilbert Wright Today!

If you’re facing the devastating impact of a death in your family, don’t navigate this challenging time alone. The experienced Orlando wrongful death lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright are here to provide the dedicated support and representation you need.

You don’t need to worry about the Florida wrongful death statute of limitations—let us handle that. Contact us today for a FREE consultation, and let us help you take the first step towards justice and healing for your family.

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