Is There a Specified Time Limit to File a Florida Wrongful Death Suit?

Losing a loved one is one of the toughest things people can go through, especially when the loss is due to another person’s negligence. If someone has lost a loved one due to the reckless actions of another person in Boca Raton, Florida, they can file a wrongful death suit. 

However, it is understandable that filing a wrongful death suit might not be at the forefront of someone’s mind after a loss. Some people might even take weeks or months to consider filing a wrongful death claim after the death of a loved one. This is because they are overwhelmed by sudden death and grief.

However, there is only a limited time to file a wrongful death suit. This time limit is the Statute of Limitations. In this article, our Boca Raton, Florida, wrongful death lawyer explains the time limit for someone to file a wrongful death suit.

Is There a Statute of Limitations to File a Wrongful Death Suit?

If a person dies due to the negligence of another, Florida’s Statute of Limitations limits the amount of time the victim’s relative has to file a wrongful death suit. Greiving families have a maximum of two years to file any wrongful death suit from the date of the death. 

In addition, any delay, even for a day, can result in the loss of the ability to file a wrongful death claim, regardless of whether you are merited compensation. According to Florida’s Right to Action legislature section 768.19, when a wrongful act, negligence, default, breach of contract, or warranty causes a person’s death, the victim’s estate can file a civil lawsuit in court. Furthermore, a relative or loved one of a victim can pursue financial compensation for the wrongful death and any other losses caused by the negligence. 

What Does Statute of Limitations Mean?

The Statute of Limitations refers to the time limit for someone who lost someone to file a claim. All personal injury claims in Florida have a Statute of Limitations because evidence can be lost and memories may fade over time.

Therefore, in Florida, if a person does not file the lawsuit within two years, that person may have to forfeit the right to claim any damages. Anyone that wants to file a wrongful death lawsuit has a maximum of two years from the exact date of the incident. Although this Statute of Limitations is quite strict, some exceptions could shorten or lengthen the time frame to file a claim.

What Are the Exceptions to the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

A few factors influence the amount of time a person has to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These factors are as follows:

Death of the Offender

There are cases where the offender or defendant passes away before the case is finalized. For example, if two people were involved in an auto accident and died later due to their injuries. The families or loved ones of the victim have 90 days to file a motion and ask the court to allow the defendant’s representative to represent the offender.

Government Involvement

There are wrongful death cases where government agencies are the cause of the incident. In these cases, the Statute of Limitations can be extended from two to four years. However, there may be other deadlines that can shorten the time frame of a wrongful death suit. 

How to File a Wrongful Death Suit in Boca Raton, Florida?

In Florida, a representative of the deceased must file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation. This representative can be listed under the deceased person’s will or by a loved one. However, a court can appoint a representative for the deceased if there is no estate plan.

The representative must include the names of the victim’s beneficiaries in the claim. Here is a list of family members that could recover compensation in a Florida wrongful death case:

  • Blood relatives
  • Spouse, parents, or children
  • Parent of minors
  • Adult children in the absence of a spouse
  • Adoptive siblings

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Generally, a victim’s family can recover economic and non-economic damages from the person who caused the fatal accident. The beneficiaries of the deceased can seek compensation for:

  • Medical Bills

If the victims received medical treatment before they died, their relatives could be compensated for the money spent. This covers medical tests, surgery, treatment, transportation to and from the hospital, etc. You can use the receipt for each expense to prove how much was spent. 

  • Lost Wages

If the victim was their family’s breadwinner before they passed away, their legal beneficiaries could seek lost wages. They could also seek compensation for allowances to which the victim was entitled.  

Another kind of compensation that can be recovered is prospective net accumulations. This is the value of earnings the beneficiaries would have received if the deceased person had been alive. Contact a Boca Raton wrongful death lawyer to know what you can claim as lost wages.

  • Mental Distress 

Beneficiaries of a deceased victim can also seek compensation for the mental distress caused by the loss. This settlement is mostly available when the victim is a parent who left behind young children whose mental health is affected by the death. It is also possible to seek a settlement for the pain and suffering the victim endured before they passed away.

  • Future Expenses

Future expense is a broad term used to describe any expenditure the victim would have handled had they lived. A typical example is the school fees of the decedent’s young children or the cost of running their household. 

  • Value of Lost Services and Support

When a person dies, their loved ones lose the support and services they rendered. The law recognizes this and provides the beneficiaries with ways to seek compensation for this loss. 

Finally, wrongful death cases are classified as civil claims. This is because these claims are brought to the court by the deceased person’s representative and not the government. As a result, the punishment for liability in a wrongful death case can only be expressed in financial compensation. 

Call Our Boca Raton, Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer Before Time is Up

If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, time may be running out if you plan to file a claim. We recommend speaking with an experienced injury attorney to receive legal advice. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our team can advise you of your legal options and have your claim filed on time if you choose to proceed.

We know money cannot bring your loved one back, but seeking financial compensation can help alleviate the suffering. More importantly, a successful case means you won’t be indebted with expensive medical bills.

Call us at (561) 800-8000 to set up a free consultation and begin the legal process today.

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