Statutes of Limitations in Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death lawsuits, like most other civil cases, must be filed in court within a prescribed period of time. Courts impose deadlines called statutes of limitations on lawsuits because as time passes, critical evidence may be destroyed or misplaced and witnesses may be unavailable or have forgotten what they saw. Wrongful death cases that are not filed before their deadline has passed will be barred from ever getting into court, so it is crucial that parties who are considering filing such a legal claim consult with a qualified wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Different States, Different Deadlines
There is no set time period for statutes of limitations. The length of time a party has to file a lawsuit depends on the state where the claim is to be filed and the grounds for the suit. Wrongful death claims may have shorter or longer deadlines than claims for medical negligence or other personal injuries, for example.
Some states impose a one-year statute of limitations on wrongful death cases, while others allow claims to be filed for two or more years after the death in question. In some cases, a wrongful death case may be filed long after a person has died if the cause of death was not determined until later. In such cases, the clock starts running on the statute of limitations when the cause of death is discovered.
Because the laws of every state are different, it is critically important that you consult with a knowledgeable and experienced wrongful death attorney in the state where your lawsuit will be filed as soon as possible after the death has occurred. If you allow your filing deadline to pass, regardless of whose fault it is, you will be permanently barred from ever getting into court to fight for financial damages for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney, Protect Your Rights
Because statutes of limitations serve to cut off your legal rights to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking financial damages, you must act quickly to guard your legal rights. Waiting too long to consult with an attorney can prevent you from ever getting into to court to fight for financial compensation for your family’s medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of companionship and other damages. Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney today to discuss your legal rights.