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How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in FL?

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Wrongful Death on March 13, 2019

Every state has statutes of limitations. These are laws that place a time limit on how long an injured party has to file a civil claim. Statutes of limitations exist to keep the justice system fair. Without a deadline for filling, plaintiffs could wait until valuable evidence no longer exists to file – thus creating an unjust situation in which the defendant may not be able to defend him or herself. It is critical to understand the statute of limitations on Florida wrongful death claims if you recently lost a loved one.

Florida Statutes Section 95.11

The text of Florida’s statute of limitations on wrongful death claims is in Section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes. This law states that all parties bringing claims founded on negligence have four years in which to do so. In a typical personal injury claim, the claimant would have four years from the date of the accident to file. In a wrongful death claim, however, the claimant has four years from the date of death. The date of death may or may not be the same day as the incident in question.

Keep track of the exact day on which your loved one passes away. You will have four years from this date to file the paperwork bringing a civil claim against the alleged at-fault party in the state of Florida. Missing this deadline will almost certainly bar your family from any financial recovery, even if someone’s negligence caused the fatal injuries. The representative of the estate must file within four years if he or she wishes the courts to hear the case. Exceptions only exist in very limited circumstances.

The Florida courts may toll, or extend, the statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim until an ongoing criminal case against the defendant ends. For example, if you lost a loved one in an alleged homicide, the four-year timeline may not start until the jury comes to a verdict on the criminal trial. This is because the outcome of a criminal case could potentially serve as evidence of negligence in your wrongful death claim. Speak to an attorney about your specific deadline to file.

What Does it Take to File a Claim?

You may have a wrongful death case if someone else’s negligence, wanton disregard for the safety of others, recklessness, or intent to harm took your loved one’s life. Wrongful death claims can arise after fatal auto accidents, workplace accidents, medical malpractice situations, falls, animal attacks, amusement park accidents, and more. If you believe you may have grounds for a claim, contact an attorney as soon as possible for directions on how to proceed.

The representative of the estate and his or her attorney will need to fill out claim paperwork and submit documentation to the correct county civil court. The defendant will then receive notice of the claim and file a response. If the defendant accepts the claim, the attorney can help surviving family members negotiate for fair and full compensation. If the defendant denies the claim, the attorney may take the wrongful death case to trial for the desired outcome. Working with an attorney can give you the resources to take your case to the end.

Get a Lawyer’s Help With Timely Claim Filing

The statute of limitations is one of the most important laws to know when considering filing a wrongful death claim. Waiting too long could automatically take away your family’s right to any compensation for damages. The at-fault party could escape liability for causing your loved one’s preventable death. The sooner you speak to an attorney about your case, the more confident you can be that you have not missed an important deadline. Time may be running out. Contact a wrongful death lawyer about your case today.