It is important to take time to grieve the loss of your loved one. It is also important to keep bills paid and food on the table. Wrongful death claims do have a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is an amount of time in which a person can file and pursue claims in a court of law. Each state sets their own statues. In the state of Florida, a person has 4 years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim before the statute of limitations runs out.
Filing the Claim
As with any civil claim that is filed with the court, deadlines must be met. It is possible to avoid a court appearance if the opposing side can reach an agreement. This process is known as litigation and still falls under that statute of limitations law in the state of Florida; which is 4 years from the date of death. Throughout the process of the case there may be separate deadlines to meet in which information is gathered, prepared and presented. It is important to work with an attorney who is familiar with the proceedings and can ensure your deadlines are met.
There are even certain circumstances that will allow an extension or postponement of the deadline and possibly the statute of limitations. Those limited ‘tolls’ (extensions) are something your attorney can determine per your particular case.
If the statute of limitations is passed, your claim will likely not be accepted by the court.
Length of Time to Process
Each wrongful death claim is an individualized process and there can be no guarantee as to how long it will take before it is settled. There are many factors that determine the length of the process, including if there is a Last Will and Testament in place and if there is an executor of the will available. It is a safe assumption that your case will take longer than a few weeks. It is more common for these claims to take months and possibly a year or more to settle. But each case is different and depends on the opposing side’s willingness to litigate to reach a settlement or if the case will be forced to be taken before a jury trial.
Your wrongful death claim is a right afforded to you and eligible family members in the event your loved one has been a victim of an untimely, negligent or willful act. Let an attorney help you navigate the legal waters as you process your grief.