Statute of Limitations – How Much Time Do I have to Sue for Florida Wrongful Death Claims and Lawsuits Arising Out of a Car Accident?

Statute of Limitations_Florida Wrongful Death_fightsforyou.netUnfortunately, in the many accidents that occur every day in South Florida, whether it is a Miami Florida car accident, truck accident, boating accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident or pedestrian accident, people are killed or fatalities occur. When that happens, the case is converted to a Florida wrongful death claim as opposed to a survivor claim where one sustains serious or minor injuries but lives. When one is killed in a Naples, Florida car accident, a question always asked of a Hialeah Florida injury lawyer is how long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit or claim against the negligent or at fault party. This time period is called the Statute of Limitations or “time to sue.”

For Florida wrongful death claims and lawsuits, the statute of limitation periods applicable to these cases is governed by Florida Statute § 95.11(4)(d). According to this statute, the Florida Statute of Limitations period applicable to Florida wrongful death claims is two years from the date of death. Again, it does not matter what type of accident this is, whether a construction site accident involving scaffolding or a crane, pleasure boating accident involving personal watercraft, slip trip and fall accident, food poisoning accident or a pedestrian hit by a car on a sidewalk. However, according to Florida Statute § 95.11(10), the Florida Statute of Limitations for wrongful death claims arising out of intentional torts such as murder or manslaughter, can be brought at any time. For an extensive discussion on Florida Statutes of Limitations and their Affect on Florida Personal Injury Accidents and Cases, see my prior article.

Moral of the Story: if you are injured and a fatality (ie., wrongful death) occurs due to a Miami Florida automobile accident, whether you are a pedestrian hit by a motorcycle, a construction site worker that falls off a roof, a driver or passenger injured in a motorcycle accident, whether it happens in Tampa, Lehigh Acres, Venice, Sebring, Marco Island, Sanibel Island, Rotunda, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Northport, Moore Haven, Lee County, Arcadia, Ave Maria, Avon Park, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Charlotte County, Clewiston, Collier County, DeSoto County, Lake Placid, Labelle, Immokalee, Kendale Lakes, The Hammocks, Miami Beach, Hialeah, West Kendall, Homestead, the Florida Keys, Englewood, Highlands County, Florida City, Hendry County, Miami Shores, Glades County, Fort Myers Beach, Miami Lakes, Everglades City, Key West or another area within Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Palm Beach, or anywhere in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Monroe Counties, know that the Florida Statute of Limitations applicable to your Homestead accident claim or Hialeah injury lawsuit, is important to know as a claim can be barred if the Florida Statute of Limitations expires, to which this may require the retention of a Miami Florida accident lawyer or a Miami Beach injury attorney, given the many complexities involved when analyzing Florida’s statute of limitations (SOL) applicable to the various Florida wrongful death accident claims referenced above.

Florida Wrongful Death Claim – My Mom Was Killed in a Miami Car Accident: What Damages Are Recoverable in Florida for a Wrongful Death?

Unfortunately, everyday on the roadways throughout South Florida, whether in Miami-Dade County, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach or Monroe County (to wit, the Florida Keys, including Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada or Tavernier), family members, friends and co-workers are hurt in accidents due to the fault of another, and sometimes, they are even killed.  These accidents typically involve cars, although they can also involve trucks, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, and even bicycles.  Not knowing what to do, a surviving relative (ie., a “survivor”) may seek out the assistance of a Miami, Florida, personal injury and accident lawyer, wondering what types of damages may be recoverable when a “wrongful death” occurs.  Well, Florida Statute §768.21 (part of Florida’s Wrongful Death Act) lends some guidance to this question.  According to this statute, the following damages are recoverable for a Florida wrongful death claim or lawsuit:

Survivor:

  1. Each survivor (the loved one’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the loved one for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters) may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of your loved one’s injury to her or his death, and future loss of support and services from the date of death.
  2. The surviving spouse may recover for loss of the loved one’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
  3. Minor children (considered under the age of 25) of the loved one, and all children of the loved one if there is no surviving spouse, may recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
  4. Each parent of a deceased minor child may recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury, and  each parent of an adult child may recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors.
  5. Medical or funeral expenses due to the loved one’s injury or death may be recovered by a survivor who has paid them.

Estate:

  1. Medical or funeral expenses due to the loved one’s injury or death (excluding amounts paid by a survivor).
  2. Loss of earnings of the loved one from the date of injury to the date of death.
  3. Loss of the prospective net accumulations of an estate (ie, the loved one’s future earnings), which might reasonably have been expected but for the wrongful death may also be recovered if (1) the loved one’s survivors include a surviving spouse or lineal descendants (ie, children);  or (2) the loved one is not a minor child (ie, 25 and older), there are no lost support and services recoverable by a survivor, and there is a surviving parent.

On a side note, according to Florida Statute section 95.11(4)(d), the statute of limitations (time to bring a lawsuit) for a Florida wrongful death claim arising out of an automobile (whether a driver, passenger, or pedestrian), trucking, scooter, moped, bike, construction, cruise, slip and fall, trip and fall or on the job accident, is two years from the date of incident.

As you can see, these types of cases can be very complex and may require the need for a Florida Keys personal injury and wrongful death lawyer.