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What time limitations are involved with wrongful death claims?

Hearing the news that a loved one has been involved in a serious accident is bad enough on its own. Finding out that they did not survive the incident is devastating. Young or old, the loss of a loved one is a tough reality to face. Surviving family members are overwhelmed with a rush of emotions; it is difficult to process the situation at hand. They are so busy dealing with funeral arrangements and overcoming the financial losses loved ones often forget that they have legal recourses available to them.

A wrongful death suit could be a valuable step to take, especially if it was the negligence of another person that caused the unfortunate death of a family member. However, the availability of this legal action does not exist forever, making it imperative that family members take the time to understand their rights to this claim as soon as they are emotionally and mentally ready.

What time limitations are involved with wrongful death claims? All civil actions have time limitations. This is known as the statute of limitations. Depending on the type of action and the state that it occurred, a plaintiff has a set amount of time, usually a few years, to file an action. With regards to a wrongful death claim, this time limitation usually falls between one to three years.

When does the statute of limitation begin? The clock starts at the time of death of the injured victim. But what if it is not apparent right away that another party is liable for the death of a loved one? There are three options available to you if the statute of limitations has passed. First, you could have the statute of limitation tolled, which means delayed or suspended. Next, you could have it waived by the court. Finally, you could have it waived by the opposing party.

Filing a wrongful death action can be a vital step to take. It not only help to hold a negligent party accountable for their wrongdoings but it could also help with the collection of compensation. This monetary award could be used to cover medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages, loss of companionship and other related damages.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Wrongful Death Claims: Time Limits and the "Discovery" Rule," accessed Oct. 15, 2017

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