Wrongful death lawsuits are often fraught with emotion– not only has your loved one passed away, but you must now attempt to seek justice for their death. As much as you and your family may wish to take your time and grieve, it is important to act quickly. When it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, timing could affect your ability to seek justice.
Many people do not know this, but there are statutes of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits, just as there are statutes of limitations on any other civil case. That means that if you and your attorney do not file suit within a certain amount of time, you could lose the right to sue for wrongful death altogether.
When does the statute of limitations start?
Generally, the statute of limitations for wrongful death actions commences once you have discovered your loved one’s cause of death. This is because in some cases, it takes a length of time to discover the cause of death and uncover the fact that death was wrongfully inflicted.
The discovery rule
There is one important exception known as the discovery rule. This rule essentially means that the statute of limitations may begin earlier if the deceased person knew or should have known about the cause of their illness or injury before their death.
Wrongful death because of personal injury
Sometimes, a wrongful death claim arises from a personal injury lawsuit. But if the decedent did not file a personal injury claim in life, there may be limitations to filing a lawsuit after their death–especially if the statute of limitations on that personal injury has run out.
Many wrongful death cases are majorly affected by the unique rules and statutes of limitations that apply to them. A wrongful death attorney can assist families who are considering lawsuits on behalf of their deceased loved ones.