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Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2017 | Personal Injury Law |

You’ve probably heard the term “statute of limitations” tossed around on TV courtroom dramas when a criminal committed a crime years ago and can no longer be prosecuted because the statute of limitations on his offense has expired. But did you know that there are statutes of limitations that apply to civil lawsuits as well? A civil statute of limitations is simply a law that sets the maximum amount of time that a person can wait before filing a lawsuit. If someone waits too long to file their case, and thus violates an applicable statute of limitations, then the defendant(s) to the action can assert the expired statute of limitations as a defense to the lawsuit and the court will likely refuse to hear the case. Therefore, it is very important that plaintiffs (i.e. people who are suing) promptly file their lawsuits in order to avoid having their claims barred by a statute of limitations. There are currently several civil statutes of limitations on the books in Florida, one of which applies to most wrongful death claims.

Florida Wrongful Death Claims Must Generally be Filed within Two Years! 

When someone is killed in Florida due to the negligence, recklessness, or wrongful act of another the deceased’s surviving family members are often able to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party under our state’s wrongful death statute. This statute is known as the Florida Wrongful Death Act (section 768.16 et seq. of the Florida Statutes) and basically enables a decedent’s surviving family members to file a wrongful death action if the event that caused their loved one’s death would have entitled to decedent to recover damages in a resulting personal injury lawsuit had he/she been injured rather than killed. However, a family member’s right to file such a lawsuit is limited by Florida’s wrongful death statute of limitations.

Under Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d) a wrongful death lawsuit brought in our state must be filed within two years of the day on which the death at issue occurred. This means that if you lost a family member on January 1, 2017 then you would have to file your resulting wrongful death claim by January 1, 2019, or else risk having your claim barred by our state’s wrongful death statute of limitations. 

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Personal Injury Attorney 

If you are interested in filing a wrongful death claim in Florida contact a local personal injury attorney without delay in order to best avoid having your claim barred by our state’s wrongful death statute of limitations! If you would like to discuss your legal rights with one of the experienced personal injury lawyers at Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law, during a free initial consultation, contact our Ocala office today at 352-558-8480.