Every state, including Florida, has a statute of limitations on the amount of time that someone has to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Statutes of limitations serve several important functions, including:
- Making sure that cases are filed while evidence is still available
- Providing certainty for potential defendants that they will not face civil lawsuits after a specific amount of time
- Allowing the estate or surviving family members to recover damages within a reasonable period of time
Two-Year Florida Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
In most cases, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of someone’s death if someone else’s negligence caused that person’s death. However, in some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended. For example, you may have longer than two years to file a wrongful death case in Florida if:
- Your loved one died because of medical malpractice. Instead of the date of death, the statute of limitations begins running on the date that the family found out about the medical mistake that caused their loved one’s death.
- Your loved one died in a homicide. If your loved one was murdered, the statute of limitations for your civil wrongful death case might begin when the person who killed your loved one is identified or arrested.
- Your loved died because of a government entity. Lawsuits are often more complicated when a government entity is involved. Therefore, Florida law provides a four-year wrongful death statute of limitations when the defendant is a government entity.
In other cases, such as when the negligent person who caused your loved one’s death also dies, the statute of limitations may be shorter than two years.
Don’t Wait to Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer
Right now, as you mourn the loss of your loved one, two years may seem like a long time. However, we encourage you not to wait that long to contact an Orlando wrongful death attorney. Attorney Louis Berk can evaluate your case and make sure your family’s rights are protected as soon as you contact him. Don’t let the uncertainty of a wrongful death case weigh on you. Contact us today to learn more.