How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?

There’s nothing worse than unexpectedly losing a loved one. When this occurs due to another’s negligence or carelessness, the experience can be even more devastating. If this has happened to you, please accept our deepest sympathies. The attorneys with The Eberst Law Firm will be here to help if you choose to pursue justice against those who caused your suffering.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in wrongful death cases. We know how to investigate accidents to determine blame. Once that investigation is complete, we aggressively pursue compensation from all of the parties that contributed to the tragedy. While money obviously won’t make up for your loss, it will make those responsible face accountability.

You can schedule a free case evaluation by contacting us online or calling 1-888-CALL-JON.

What is Wrongful Death?

The State of Florida defines wrongful death as “the death of a person caused by the wrongful death, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person.” The surviving family members of the deceased may be entitled to compensation for the loss they’ve suffered. A wrongful death attorney can help them obtain that compensation.

Causes of Wrongful Death

Just about any form of negligence can result in a wrongful death. The following are just some of the more common ones.

  • Car accidents: When a negligent motorist chooses to drive while impaired or decides that answering a phone call or text is more important than keeping their focus on the road, the results can be deadly.
  • Medical malpractice: Doctors and other medical professionals can make fatal mistakes. A surgeon, for example, may operate on the wrong body part. A nurse may fail to administer the correct dose of a medication.
  • Nursing home abuse: When we trust the care of an elderly loved one in a nursing facility, we don’t expect abuse to take place. Malnourishment, neglect, or physical attacks can oftentimes lead to death.

You Have Two Years from the Death of a Loved One to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida

All states have what’s known as a “statute of limitations” regarding wrongful death claims. Florida’s is two years. The statute of limitations means you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to pursue a claim.

While you might have that long, you really should take action immediately. You’re going to need proof that the death occurred due to another’s negligence. The only way to get that proof is to hire an attorney to investigate the accident. Time is of the essence. The reason is the investigation needs to begin as soon as possible before critical evidence disappears.

For example, suppose someone dies in a truck accident caused by a drowsy driver. Your attorney will need to get to the accident scene immediately. They’ll look for proof the driver was at fault. A nearby surveillance camera may have footage of the wreck.

The truck’s “black box” data may show the vehicle was behaving erratically because the driver lost control. It could also show the driver was behind the wheel for far too long in violation of federal safety regulations.

The faster you hire legal help, the earlier the investigation can begin – and the better the chances your attorney will be able to uncover the proof you’ll need to win your case.

Exceptions to The Statute of Limitations

There are some limited exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. For example, if your loved one’s death was caused by medical malpractice, you’ll typically have between 2-4 years from the date that you discovered or should have discovered the malpractice to file your lawsuit.

An experienced wrongful death lawyer can answer any questions you might have regarding exceptions that might apply to your case.

Who is Able to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Florida, only a personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This person could be an attorney, a family friend, or someone else. As long as the following apply, the person can act as a representative.

  • They’re at least 18 years old.
  • They don’t have a felony conviction.
  • They don’t have any convictions for neglect, exploitation, or abuse of an elderly or mentally incapacitated adult.
  • They’re physically and mentally able to perform their duties.

If the deceased didn’t have a will naming a representative, the court will appoint one.

Who Will Pay Your Loved One’s Damages?

Damages are the financial losses stemming from an accident caused by negligence. You may be able to pursue compensation for not only your own damages but also the damages your loved one incurred before passing away.

Some of the damages you may be able to obtain include the following:

Medical Bills

The deceased may have been hospitalized for several days before they died. They may have needed surgery, as well as pain medication or sedatives. Medical bills will accumulate even though the treatment was, tragically, unsuccessful.

Lost Wages and Future Earning Capacity

Survivors may also be eligible to recover the wages the deceased earned at the time of death, as well as money the victim would likely have made had they not died.

Pain and Suffering

You can pursue compensation for your own pain and suffering, as well as the pain and suffering the victim experienced before death.

You might be certain someone caused your loved one’s death, but there could actually be multiple parties that contributed to the fatal accident. A collision involving a truck is just one example. The following people and entities could have played a role in causing the wreck:

  • The truck driver.
  • The trucking company.
  • The company that negligently loaded the truck, causing a balance shift that caused the driver to lose control.
  • The manufacturer of a defective part that failed, such as the braking system or tires.

As you can probably see, a wrongful death case can be complicated. As stated earlier, you must hire a lawyer as soon as possible so they can investigate the accident. The investigation will show all of the liable parties.

How Can The Eberst Law Firm Help You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The attorneys with The Eberst Law Firm are experts in wrongful death cases. We have a long track record of success, and we’re ready to get to work for you. Please don’t hesitate to call 1-888-CALL-JON or contact us online for a free consultation.

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Attorney Jon Eberst

Attorney Jon Eberst

Jonathan Eberst, the driving force behind The Eberst Law Firm, is known in his community and across Florida for knowledge and skill in the personal injury industry. Respected for his friendly and help attitude, he has consistently helped thousands of clients, ensuring their rights are upheld. Jon's profound expertise makes him a sought-after voice in the legal community, both online and in-person.

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