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Is It Too Late to Hire a Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer?


A lawyer discussing the statute of limitations for a client's claim.

The loss of a loved one is undoubtedly difficult, especially when the loss occurs prematurely. Wrongful deaths are, by nature, premature deaths that should never happen but do, most often due to negligence, recklessness, or even intentional actions.

If you have lost a loved one far too soon and are interested in pursuing compensation for your loss, it is important to note that you have a limited window of time to hire a wrongful death lawyer and take legal action, though thankfully, the clock stops ticking as you seek justice.

Statute of Limitations and Wrongful Death Claims

Most legal actions must be initiated within a certain period of time, known as the statute of limitations, or they become invalid. Wrongful death claims are no different, and in Florida, legal action based on wrongful death must be taken within two years of the incident that caused the death.

As such, if you are looking to pursue a wrongful death claim and more than two years have elapsed, you may already be out of time. However, there are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations for wrongful death that you should be aware of:

Medical Malpractice Exception

If the wrongful death of your loved one occurred due to medical malpractice, you might not be aware of the malpractice until far after the statute of limitations has expired. For that reason, the law has carved out an exception to the two-year time limit for undiscovered medical negligence. Known as the “discovery rule,” the exception effectively freezes the statute of limitations until the victim discovers (or should have discovered) their injury.

For example, if a physician carelessly treats a patient and dies three years later, the statute of limitations would normally prevent the patient’s family from filing a wrongful death suit unless the negligent treatment and subsequent harm are not discovered until a year or more later.

Out-of-State Defendant Exception

Service of process is essential in wrongful death lawsuits, but serving defendants who are not located within the state of Florida can be a complicated and time-consuming process. If the defendant of a wrongful death suit resides out of state, the court may halt the statute of limitations for a reasonable time until the defendant can be properly served.

Missing or Hiding Defendant Exception

The court may also stall the statute of limitations when a defendant is missing or in hiding. It is often the case that those responsible for wrongful deaths and other forms of personal injuries will hide or use a false name to avoid facing justice. They know that if they can’t be served, they can’t be required to resolve their liabilities.

Without court intervention on the issue, a liable party could essentially hide out until the statute of limitations expires. However, the law realizes that it is an absurd result that awards wrongdoers for their ability to avoid being served. Hence, the statute of limitations is placed on hold when the defendant cannot be located for whatever reason.

Other Important Timing Considerations

As alluded to earlier, swift legal action is important in wrongful death cases, but that is not simply due to complying with the statute of limitations. Delaying legal action can negatively affect your prospects of recovering compensation in various ways as well.

Evidence considerations arise when you wait too long to take action in a wrongful death case. After too much time has passed, your wrongful death lawyer may find it difficult or even impossible to get their hands on evidence crucial to your case.

Take witnesses, for example. As time passes after an incident that causes a death, witnesses to the accident may be difficult or outright impossible to locate, even in today’s digitally-driven world. Additionally, witness testimony becomes much less reliable over time.

Video footage is another example. Most businesses and organizations with surveillance cameras only hold onto their camera footage for a while, and the same holds true for municipalities with traffic cameras. Some jurisdictions in Florida delete their traffic cam footage in as little as 24 hours after its recording. If you need this evidence to prove your case, you may be out of luck if you wait too long.

When Is It Too Late to Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

Ultimately, there are many factors that may cause it to be too late to hire a wrongful death lawyer, but before you determine that you have waited too long, you should meet with an experienced wrongful death lawyer to review your case.

You may very well find out that it is too late to hire a wrongful death lawyer, or you may discover that you indeed have time to take action. Since initial consultations are free, you risk nothing by scheduling a meeting. Contact the Schrier Law Group for a consultation and case review today.

Read Our Reviews

Schrier Law Group is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 22 review(s).


My name is David and I’ve been represented by mr. Schrier law firm twice in my life and I got nothing more then good things to say about them they are very professional and they really Take their clients I really recommend them every time I called them they were always there for me especially the attorney he’s very professional and he got me the money did I deserve by representing me and fighting for me I will use their services again them no questions asked if I ever need them to me they are the best God bless them all

David Cuello


The firm is super professional and handled my husbands vas amazingly. I should refer them to some in need of an attitude.

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The Schrier Law Group are hands down the best and should be your go to for all your legal troubles. They are such professionals; efficient, persistent and don’t take no for an answer. Thank you so much Chatriece, Geissie, Paul & everyone at Schrier Law Group for your patience and making my win possible!

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Shrier Law Group extremely thorough. A really caring Law Firm. My previous lawyer sat on my case for 2 years did nothing with it by chance came across Mr Paul schreier firm and explaining my case he noticed I was not hopeful but he was able to encoirage me and was able to resolve my case within a year I'm so grateful for Mr Paul Schrier and Mrs Chatrice. They go above and beyond. 20⭐

West Jean


I must say that Mr. Schrier was there when we needed immediate advice after my wife got rear-ended by an unlicensed speeding lunatic. We called a handful of attorneys in our area, but after waiting 2- 5 days they would drop her case. We found Mr Schrier online and he explained the pros/cons and he took the case. We waited patiently, and in time he was able to tracked down the actual owners of the car and get their auto insurance info!

Gerard Avalos


The firm pays close attention to locating every possible insurer liable for my injuries. They return my calls in 24-48 hours. Friendly staff who care.

Mr K


Attention to detail with the different insurance coverages. Returned my phone calls, which is very important.

David Kuczenski


Best attorney in South Florida

Fefe Alex


Was a wonderful experience getting through a tough process!

Edward Pawley


Both my wife and I feel grateful for the treatment and the professionalism of the staff. Maritza is great doing her job. It is the second time that I request your services and we are pleased and grateful. Many blessings to this Law Firm

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Theresa Caprice Caprioli


Thank you so much for going above and beyond what I had ever anticipated. It was truly a pleasure to work with you all, especially Chatrice. I will most definitely refer The Schrier Law Group to my family and friends.

Cat Breen


The Schrier LG is an excellent firm! They accepted my case, provided me with all the procedural information, maintained a high level of professionalism while showing kindness and care. The doctor's office that they suggested is another group of kind and considerate individuals, dedicated to my full recovery. I would recommend the Schrier Group to friends, just as they were recommended to me. I am happy with my settlement and very pleased with the attention and diligence of the group as a whole. Thank you again!

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Mr. Paul Schrier is by far the best attorney for the job! He is very responsive, knowledgeable, and very efficient. Despite my very busy schedule, he kept me informed throughout the process. I am very please with the outcome of my case. The customer service I received from the entire team has been amazing! Thank you all so much!

Ms. Jean


Not only did I get a phenomenal attorney to represent me in my case, but I also got a step by step education on how the legal process actually worked. I was encouraged to ask questions and be an informed client. I was never treated like a case. I truly felt like the advice and recommendations he gave to me would have been the same he would have pursued if he were the client. That was important to me. I needed to work with an attorney I could trust with my best interest in mind...and that is what I got with Paul Schrier.

Juan Rodriquez


I was involved in an auto accident in January 2016. We decided to contact Paul K. Schrier, PLLC for legal advice. He never got annoyed with me calling to ask questions, which was quite often. We have finally reached the final stages of this case, which they handled very well, and have come to a settlement. I highly recommend the Florida personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC, especially Paul K. Schrier to any one who needs a personal injury attorney. Thank you very much Paul for everything you have done do me.

Martin Tyler


I called to ask some question about a car accident I was in. I spoke to Paul who was very helpful, honest and professional. It seems that he really care about clients. I appreciate all that Paul did and would certainly recommend to anyone who needs an attorney.

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Thank Paul for everything your personal injury law firm has done for my case as well as my daughter. Thanks for all the hard work and attention. Thanks again!

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Chatrice Telfort


Great job! I loved working with Paul.