Every state has different and unique laws and regulations regarding wrongful death claims. In addition, one of the considerations when filing a wrongful death claim is to ensure that the process begins within the right time frame. A Statute of Limitations is attached to lawsuits and varies depending on the type of claim and circumstances surrounding the event.
When you lose a loved one, you must commence an action for compensation within the time stipulated by the Statute of Limitations to try and ease financial burdens.
Therefore, it is best not to waste time. However, losing a loved one devastates people, often leading to late or out-of-time claims. Thankfully, a Port St. Lucie wrongful death lawyer can help ensure the wrongful death claim commences within the time stipulated by the Statute of Limitations if contacted in time.
Therefore, we suggest contacting the wrongful death lawyers at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers if you lose a loved one due to another person’s actions. We offer excellent legal advice and representation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claim in Port St. Lucie, Florida?
Firstly, a Statute of Limitations is a time frame that sets the period in which a person can file a legal action to seek justice. Statute of Limitations prevents people from having the right to file a claim indefinitely.
If people can continue to file claims for events that occurred after a long time, there wouldn’t be an end to litigation. Additionally, evidence can go missing, and witnesses may die or forget important details of the accident. Therefore, a Statute of Limitations gives victims a reasonable time to obtain and present evidence to seek justice.
The Statute of Limitations for wrongful death lawsuits differs from state to state. In Florida, relatives of deceased victims have two years to file a wrongful death claim.
In addition, the two-year time frame begins from the time of the person’s death. For example, if a person dies instantly in an auto accident, their loved ones can file a claim within two years starting from the date of the incident.
However, when an accident results in the person going into a coma for months, the wrongful death Statute of Limitations begins once the victim dies and not on the date of the incident. Furthermore, there are some exceptions to this two-year statute of limitation for filing a wrongful death claim.
For example, if the defendant fled the state after the accident, the claimant cannot file a claim until they return. The Statute of Limitations will also be tolled if the defendant fled the accident scene and was not identified by the police in time. In this case, the time starts counting from when the police found and arrested the defendant.
Therefore, a claimant must know and understand how the Statute of Limitations applies to their case. If someone misses the time frame to file a wrongful death claim, it might become impossible to seek compensation.
What Are the Reasons for the Statute of Limitations?
There are several reasons why there are laws regarding the time for filing a wrongful death claim in Florida. Some reasons behind the Statute of Limitations include:
- Ensuring that there is quick legal action and justice is served.
- Balancing the scale of justice between a claimant and a defendant.
- Ensuring claimants immediately use the available evidence.
Therefore, as mentioned, the claimant must commence their claim while their evidence remains intact and the defendant can gather relevant proof to defend themselves.
What Are the Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Certain events involved in a wrongful death claim can influence the Statute of Limitations. Sometimes, the Statute of Limitations can be shortened to one year, although the law is strict about the two-year statute of limitation. However, there are a few exceptions to this time limit aside from the two mentioned earlier.
- Medical Malpractice: Sometimes, it can take a while after the death of a person for the family or loved ones to realize that the wrongful death was a result of medical malpractice. Therefore, in this case, the two-year time limit will only begin counting when the family discovers the cause of death instead of the time of death. Also, the court may extend the Statute of Limitations for further investigation.
- Murder and Homicides: Usually, in cases with a criminal element, it might take a long time for homicide investigators to discover and prove that a person or entity is responsible for the death of a person. Therefore, the Statute of Limitations may not begin to count until the murderer responsible for the wrongful death is identified and apprehended.
- Government Entity: If a government entity is responsible for wrongful death, the Statute of Limitations extends to four years. This extension allows for specific requirements that the complainants must complete before filing a wrongful death claim.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Claim in St. Port Lucie, Florida?
Sometimes, not every death warrants a wrongful death claim. According to Florida Statute 768.19, when a reckless action, wrongful act, or breach of contract causes another person’s death, the deceased’s family or representative can file a wrongful death suit.
However, the claim must contain the following proof:
- Negligence, wrongful act, reckless action, or breach of contract
- The defendant’s actions have caused the death
- The deceased person would have been awarded compensation in a personal injury claim had they lived.
Some of the examples of negligent actions or reckless behaviors can result from a:
- Distracted or drunk driver speeding and hitting a pedestrian
- Negligent doctor leaving a medical instrument in a body that eventually leads to infection or death of a person
- Thief intentionally shooting another person during a robbery
- Manufacturer selling a defective product without warning and eventually kills someone.
A Port St. Lucie wrongful death lawyer can investigate and gather the evidence needed to prove negligence.
Seek Advice From a Port St. Lucie, Florida Lawyer Today
Losing a close family or loved one can be emotionally draining and devastating. If you were financially dependent on the deceased’s income, you might struggle to cope and figure out what to do.
Taking time to mourn a deceased loved one and be emotionally and financially responsible can remove the idea of finding an attorney. However, months can pass by, and you may discover that the Statute of Limitations for filing a wrongful death claim has expired when you begin the process.
Therefore, you should take legal action as soon as possible. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we will make sure that your claim is filed before the time expires when you reach out to us within the allotted time. Our Port St. Lucie wrongful death lawyers can help you understand the Statute of Limitations and other applicable laws. Contact us at (561) 800-8000 for a free case review.