If your loved one passed away due to negligence in Florida, you typically have two years from the date of their passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit according to Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d). However, some factors can lengthen or shorten that window, and each case is unique. A wrongful death attorney from our office can determine the deadline in your circumstances.
What Factors Affect the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?
Wrongful death cases can arise from several scenarios, any of which could have variables that affect the typical two-year lawsuit deadline. Common ones include:
- Medical malpractice cases
- Suits involving government entities
- Death of negligent party
- Cases involving murder or manslaughter
Most wrongful death claims are dated from the time of a person’s passing. However, if your loved one’s death was due to healthcare negligence, your case could be dated differently. In fact, you may have up to four years.
Malpractice can be complicated due to the specialized nature of the medical field. That could mean you don’t realize your family member was affected by negligence until after an investigation into the circumstances of their death. If so, the case may be dated from the discovery of negligence rather than from the death.
Our medical malpractice lawyers can spearhead the investigation into your family member’s case to understand what happened and how long you have to file.
Cases Involving Government Entities
When suing a government entity like a city or state, separate requirements and statutes of limitations can apply. For example, some government entities require filing notice of your claim before the deadline for the lawsuit. You can also file a lawsuit against the federal government if your claim was denied by a specific agency but must do so within six months of the denial per 28 US Code § 2401(b).
Taking on a government entity is intimidating, especially when claims and lawsuits involving them have unique deadlines. However, we can navigate this labyrinth for you.
Death of Negligent Party
Sometimes the negligent party is killed in the same accident or passes away during lawsuit proceedings. Their death doesn’t mean you have no options for seeking compensation, but it can mean you need to file additional paperwork to receive damages from their estate. We can help you pursue a lawsuit under these circumstances within the Florida wrongful death statute of limitations.
Cases Involving Murder or Manslaughter
If you lost your loved one because of a criminal act, you might not even know the criminal’s identity yet. Therefore, it would be unreasonable to limit your opportunity to pursue a civil case before the culprit has been caught. Instead, the statute of limitations for your wrongful death case might begin only when the person responsible has been identified.
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Why do Wrongful Death Cases Have a Statute of Limitations?
Given these possible exceptions, you may wonder why states have statutes of limitations for wrongful death. While family members in unique situations should have the opportunity to pursue justice, having a general deadline makes sure that we can:
- Preserve evidence
- Investigate the case
- Interview witnesses
- Identify negligent parties
- Prevent stalled cases
- Encourage negotiation
- Provide prompt settlements
Once more than two years have passed, witnesses can forget critical details, evidence can be damaged or lost, and bringing the appropriate party to justice can be more challenging.
Furthermore, the deadline is not just for you. Wrongful death cases can settle out of court without filing a lawsuit, with all parties negotiating to reach an agreement. Knowing that the matter can proceed to court if a settlement isn’t reached can incentivize the other party to negotiate.
We are willing to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial, and we make sure the other party knows it.
Your Family Deserves Help and Comfort Now
Two years is a long time when you must handle the immediate financial consequences of your loved one’s passing, such as:
- Remaining end-of-life medical bills
- Funeral service expenses
- Burial costs
- Lost financial support
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the average casket is $2,000. Additional funeral costs include embalming, hiring a hearse, holding a graveside service, catering the wake, and paying fees to a funeral director and staff. Of course, you want to honor the person you lost, but these costs can be daunting.
Your lawsuit can compensate for wrongful death expenses and other losses like pain and suffering. In addition, taking action quickly within the statute of limitations can provide an avenue for recovering these losses.
A Wrongful Death Attorney Can Ensure You Meet Deadlines Applicable to Your Claim
Determining the statute of limitations in a Florida wrongful death case depends on each family’s circumstances, so get personalized help now. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can determine when to file your case and help before the filing deadline, from scheduling appointments to negotiating a settlement. Call now: 1-800-747-3733.
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