Under Florida law, individuals who are considered “survivors” may be compensated for losses resulting from the death of another person. However, because the death of a loved one is such a traumatic event, initiating a lawsuit is typically not a survivor’s top priority. Nevertheless, a statute of limitations exists for Florida wrongful death claims. This statute of limitations sets a time limit for survivors seeking financial compensation for the loss of a loved one.
The statute of limitations for Florida wrongful death claims is two years. If the death of a loved one is caused by negligence, survivors generally have two years from the date of death to file a claim for compensation. This statute of limitations is for death caused by any type of accident, even motor vehicle accidents which generally have a four-year statute of limitations. While the general rule is a two-year statute of limitations for Florida wrongful death claims, there are certain exceptions.
In cases involving death related to medical malpractice, the two-year time limit does not begin to run until the cause of death is determined. Practically speaking, survivors cannot file a wrongful death case until it is determined that a wrongful death actually occurred. Florida wrongful death claims involving medical malpractice take into consideration the “delayed discovery doctrine.” The “delayed discovery doctrine” tolls the statute of limitations until the plaintiff either knows or should know that the last element of the cause of action occurs. The only type of wrongful death action that the “delayed discovery doctrine” applies to are those arising from medical negligence.
Florida Statute section 95.11(10) describes another statute of limitation exception for wrongful death claims. This section circumvents statute of limitations requirements in situations where death arises from intentional torts described in Florida statute sections 782.04 or 782.07. These sections of the Florida statute respectively deal with various levels of murder and manslaughter. Accordingly, homicides are an exception to the general two-year statute of limitations for Florida wrongful death claims. For some survivors, the statute of limitations may not begin until the culprit is identified or apprehended.
Lastly, in situations involving government entities the two-year statute of limitations for Florida wrongful death claims is likewise extended. Where a government entity is responsible for wrongful death, the statute of limitations extends from two to four years.
Wittmer|Linehan understands that losing a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence is tragic. Florida wrongful death claims exist so that survivors can be compensated for their losses. If your family has suffered a wrongful death, don’t delay in contacting our knowledgeable attorneys who understand the statute of limitations for Florida wrongful death claims and who can immediately begin working on your case. When an injury results in death, surviving family members are entitled to recover damages for the wrongful death of a loved one. Wittmer|Linehan is here to help. Contact us at (941) 365-2296 to discuss your case today.