How long do I have to bring a wrongful death lawsuit?

The Florida law concerning when a claim can be brought for wrongful death is known as the Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations sets forth strict time limits in which a claim must be brought or forever be barred. Although the rule seems strict, The Legislature finds placing definite time limits are necessary in order to insure fairness to all involved. As time passes, evidence disappears, witnesses move or their recollection fades and it is a public policy not to have a party exposed for unreasonable periods of time because another party fails to bring an action forward within a reasonable time

In Florida, survivors of a person who dies as the result of another’s negligence must, under almost all circumstances, bring a wrongful death action with two (2) years of the date the person died as a direct result of that negligent act. There is, however, a narrow exception to the otherwise strict wrongful death statute of limitations that was created by the Florida Legislature in 2010 by Senate and House Bills (SB92 and HB1, respectively), more commonly known as the “Jeffrey Klee Memorial Act”. The Act provides that there be no time limit within which to file a wrongful death action provided the death was the result of a homicide. The Senate and House, recognize that homicide investigations often go many years before the party responsible for the homicide is identified and/or apprehended. To afford the survivors additional time to file a suit, the House and Legislature has liberally extended the time window within which an estate or survivor can file an action to be compensated for the loss of a loved one.  Other than “The Act”, the time limit within which an action for wrongful death must be filed is narrow and strictly construed. It is important to recognize that the Statute of Limitation is triggered by the actual filing of a lawsuit in a court of competent jurisdiction, but , in most cases, time to investigate and collect evidence is necessary before filing a lawsuit and waiting too long to prepare could prevent one from filing suit in a timely manner.

Filing a lawsuit within the statute of limitations is a critical matter and failing to file within the allotted time could forever bar an estate or survivor from ever having their day in court. Don’t make a critical mistake. If you have any questions concerning the Wrongful Death statute of limitations you are encouraged to contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in the area of wrongful death. Call the Law Office of  Dan Newlin & Partners.  Our firm has the experience and knowledge to assist you in filing a timely Wrongful Death claim, and the resources to bring your claim to a successful conclusion. Call us at (407) 888-8000 immediately if you have any questions about Wrongful Death claims. Time is your enemy when dealing with statute of limitation issues. Let our firm be your friend. It costs you nothing to talk to us, the cost could be substantial if you do not.