a woman who lost a loved one holding a picture staring out the window

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be an incredibly difficult and traumatic experience, especially if a negligent act caused the death. The surviving family members can often bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their loved ones in this scenario. While it may not be enough to reverse time, wrongful death lawsuits allow surviving family members to be compensated for the impact of their traumatic loss.

What is a wrongful death?

Wrongful death occurs as a result of another person’s negligence — an innocent life is lost due to the negligent party’s reckless behavior or wrongful act. While wrongful deaths are usually an accident, the accident could have been avoided had the negligent party exercised the adequate care and caution of a reasonable person as required by law. 

Despite the death being the result of an accident, the victim’s family still has the right to file a claim against the negligent person to receive compensation for the loss of their loved one. 

Contact the wrongful death attorneys at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Wrongful death lawsuits often take 18 months to three years

Given the many factors that need to be taken into consideration when determining the settlement for a wrongful death claim, the duration of a Florida wrongful death lawsuit can vary significantly, regardless of whether it’s in Tampa, Miami, or any other city. Things to take into consideration include the factors that resulted in the victim’s death, as well as any complex details that may slow down the progress of the claim. 

Due to the issues that impact a wrongful death case, it can be difficult to pinpoint one specific timeline, as a wrongful death lawsuit can take anywhere from several months to multiple years to reach a favorable settlement. 

Things that sometimes delay wrongful death lawsuits

As with any lawsuit, many things can delay wrongful death lawsuits. Some examples include delays in discovery, delays in the court process, a party’s failure to cooperate, and the complexities of the case. It’s important to communicate effectively and diligently with your attorney to ensure you are doing your part to move the case along as efficiently as possible.

How long does someone have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?

Regardless of the type of lawsuit, every case must abide by its jurisdiction’s statute of limitations

Florida’s statute of limitations

In Florida, the statute of limitations for claimants to file a wrongful death lawsuit is four years from the date of the deceased person’s passing. The statute of limitations must be followed regardless of the elements of the wrongful death, making it important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Failure to abide by the statute of limitations means you will be incapable of filing your claim altogether.

Exceptions to the statute of limitations

While the Florida statute of limitations on wrongful death can seem strict, it’s important to understand that, under certain circumstances,  there are some exceptions as follows:

  • Cases against the government: In Florida, you typically have two years from the date of death to file a claim against the government
  • Murder: If the death resulted from intentional and criminal actions, such as murder or manslaughter, there isn’t technically a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This means you can initiate legal proceedings at any time.
  • Medical malpractice: In cases where medical malpractice leads to wrongful death, Florida law allows up to two years from the date the cause of action was discovered (or should have been discovered) to file a lawsuit. However, under certain circumstances, the statute of limitations could be four years from the date of the alleged malpractice, regardless of when it was discovered.

Speaking with an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney is essential to understanding how the statute of limitations may impact your claims, as failing to file within the proper time frame can bar you from receiving any compensation or justice.  

Wrongful death lawsuit timeline

There are many things to take into consideration when trying to determine the timeline of your wrongful death lawsuit. While the process for wrongful death lawsuits is typically the same across the board, each case has its own factors that may slow down or speed up certain parts of the process, making it difficult to properly predict how long your case may take. 

Some of the most common factors that can have a significant impact on a wrongful death lawsuit’s timeline include: 

  • Complexity of the case: Cases involving multiple parties, extensive evidence gathering, or complex legal issues may require more time for investigation and preparation
  • Witness availability: Witness testimonies are often crucial in wrongful death cases. The availability and cooperation of witnesses can impact the timeline as their statements need to be collected for use during negotiations or trials.
  • Responsiveness of parties involved: If all parties involved promptly respond to communications and requests from attorneys, it can expedite the litigation process. Delays caused by unresponsive defendants or insurance companies may prolong resolution.
  • Settlement negotiations: Parties involved often engage in settlement negotiations at different stages throughout the lawsuit process. Arriving at an agreeable settlement can expedite resolution compared to going through court proceedings.
  • Court workload: The court’s schedule and caseload also contribute to how long a wrongful death lawsuit takes to reach its conclusion. Courts have varying capacities, and high caseloads may result in longer waiting times.

How long does it take to get the money after a wrongful death lawsuit?

Fortunately, once the case is settled, receiving the settlement money is relatively quick and only takes between four to six weeks in most cases. Be sure to communicate with your wrongful death attorney to keep up to date with the timeline. 

How a wrongful death attorney can help

A gavel and the scales of justice on a wrongful death attorney's desk.

If you believe the loss of your family member may have been the result of another person’s recklessness or negligence, be sure to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible so you may begin a claim against the party responsible for your loss. While no amount of money can make up for the loss of your loved one, Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, is here to help you seek compensation after suffering a devastating loss.  

If you recently lost a loved one as a result of another person’s negligence, contact the wrongful death attorneys at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys for a free consultation.


FLA. STAT. § 95.11.

Statute of Limitations. (2023). 

Tort Definition. (2023).

Tampa Car Accident + Personal Injury Lawyers

Jack Bernstein Personal Injury Attorney

For more than 40 years, personal injury lawyer Jack G. Bernstein has protected the rights of individuals who have been injured in a variety of circumstances. Throughout his career, Bernstein has been a strategist thoroughly dedicated to the idea of protecting the rights of his clients. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Florida State Bar Association, the Hillsborough Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association.

Mr. Bernstein has the experience and expertise to handle a wide range of injury cases. Among the types of plaintiffs Mr. Bernstein represents are individuals involved in car accidents caused by drunk drivers or other exhibiting negligence, medical complications resulting from carelessness caused by a physician or a medical facility, including brain injury, bicycle, motorcycle, moped and truck accidents, admiralty law and cruise ship accidents, accidental drownings, all types of wrongful death lawsuits, along with most injury, catastrophic occurrences and legal malpractice issues.

Our firm handles every type of personal injury and accident case, using negotiation and litigation tactics effectively. We handle cases throughout Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, FL. With a staff of approximately 40 people, including six lawyers and 34 support personnel, we have the legal resources to get the justice you deserve and the maximum recovery for your losses. Schedule your free consultation today; we are always here to help.

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