The death of a loved one sends your mind reeling in a million different directions at once. The idea of receiving monetary compensation for your loss is likely far from the forefront of your priorities; however, in the state of Florida, you may have a pressing time limit if you do decide to seek financial compensation for the loss of a loved one.
Here are some things you should know if you experience a wrongful death case.
Statute of Limitations
In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death is two years. This means that if a loved one passes away due to negligence, close family members have exactly two years from the date of death to file a claim for compensation. This statute of limitations holds true whether the cause of death was car accident or any other type of accident.
Florida Statutes of Limitation
|Type of Case||Time Limit to File Suit||Florida Statute|
|Personal injury||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(a) (2016)|
|Wrongful death||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(d) (2016)|
|Motor vehicle accident||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(a) (2016)|
|Product liability||2, or 4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11 (3)(a), (3)(e), (3)(k), (4)(d) (2016)|
|Assault and battery||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(o) (2016)|
|Workers’ compensation||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 440.19(1) (2010)|
|Legal malpractice||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(a) (2016)|
|Medical malpractice||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(b) (2016)|
|Claims against the government||180-day investigatory period; 3 years (wrongful death, 2 years)||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 768.28(6)(a) (2016)|
|Contract founded on written instrument||5 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(2)(b) (2016)|
|Contract not founded on written instrument||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(k) (2016)|
|False imprisonment||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(o) (2016)|
|Fraud||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(j) (2016)|
|Libel||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(g) (2016)|
|Property damage||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(h) (2016)|
|Slander||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(g) (2016)|
|Trespass||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(g) (2016)|
For the most part, this two year time limit is set in stone; however, there are a few situations that can warrant an exception.
Exceptions to the Rule
Sometimes, in the case of medical malpractice fatalities, the two year time limit doesn’t start at the date of death, but rather when the cause of death is discovered. For example, a family cannot file a wrongful death case if they have no idea that a wrongful death has taken place.
Homicides can also be an exception. Investigations in these situations can take a long time. For some families, the statute of limitations may not begin until the individual responsible is identified or apprehended.
Finally, if a government entity is responsible for the wrongful death, the statute of limitations is extended to four years to account for an extended process.
Don’t delay your case
If your family has suffered a wrongful death, it can be a great advantage to have an attorney on hand from the very beginning of the process. If you have questions about your legal rights, contact our Tampa office and ask me about your options.
In what state do I need to file a wrongful death lawsuit
Died in NY on business
Employees for corporation in Missouri
Possible foe a division located in Ky
Ian Pisarcik says
I would need more information. But, in most cases, you could sue in the state the defendant resides (in the case of a corporation – where the corporation is incorporated or where they do business). You may also be able to sue in the state where the death occurred.
Need a law firm with
Missouri, Kentucky, and New York locations if possible.
Complicated wrongful death and possible med mail practice law suit need to file
Ian Pisarcik says
Take a look at our free directory! You can search by state.
How can I contact u
Thanks for ur response
What if you filed the Wrongful Death within the 2 years but discover in year 3 that there may be another responsible party. Can you amend the complaint?
Ian Pisarcik says
You generally can’t amend a complaint to add a new party after the statute of limitations has run. The main exception is when the new party and the old party have a sufficient “identity of interests” so that that the newly added party will not be prejudiced. This is rare and usually only applicable in cases where you’re adding a married person, etc. Nevertheless, consult with your local attorney to see if an option exists.
I had heard it is possible to file a wrongful death and/or medical malpractice suit after 2 years in Florida if the one filing the suit is an adult child with severe mental illness (schizophrenia for example) especially if the parent that died was the sole financial provider for the mentally ill adult child. Is there any truth to this exception to be able file after 2 years?
Ian Pisarcik says
If the plaintiff is deemed “incapacitated” (such as from a mental illness), the statute of limitations will be tolled (paused). However, the lawsuit must still be filed within 7 years after the act giving rise to the cause of action.
Can someone file a wrongful death claim within the 2 year limitation, when the deceased person had cancer ? Even though cancer wasn’t the cause of death .
Melissa Gold says
Hi, Misty. This all depends on the facts surrounding the person’s death. In order to make a wrongful death claim, you’d need to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the person’s death. So, for example, if the person died as a result of injuries suffered in a car accident, it wouldn’t matter if they already had cancer if the evidence shows that the cause of their death was the accident.
One thing to note, though, is that a wrongful death lawsuit usually involves damages (financial compensation) for the future earning capacity of the person who died. If they had cancer with a prognosis that they were only expected to live for a short period of time, you wouldn’t receive as much to compensate for future earnings. Medical experts and actuaries would determine how much that person would be likely to have earned in the future based on their life expectancy.
Again, a wrongful death claim might be appropriate if there was negligence that caused the death. The cancer diagnosis wouldn’t be an issue unless the fact of their illness might have contributed to the death in some way.