How Long Can I Wait Before Bringing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit, you may not want to weigh your options for too long. You could speak with a lawyer to determine what to do and when, but it’s understandable you’ll want to do some thinking on your own. The following outlines how long you are able to wait before bringing a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Statute of Limitations

There is a legal time limit that gives a deadline to when you have to file your lawsuit following a wrongful death. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” The statute is different in each state, so it’s important you take the time to understand what it requires in your state. If you go beyond the statute of limitations, you may not be able to receive the compensation you deserve.

When Time Starts Ticking

Though in many cases the statute of limitations starts ticking upon the time of death, there are some situations in which the surviving loved ones have extra time. This includes:

  • If the surviving loved one is a minor. If a parent dies and his or her children are under age 18, a child would have however many years the statute is beyond his or her 18th birthday in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, if a child was 14 when his or her mom died, four years would go by before the 18th birthday, when a possible two-year statute of limitations would begin. This would give the child six years after the death in which to file a lawsuit.
  • If the discovery rule has not been met. Sometimes the surviving loved ones of the deceased don’t realize there were negligent actions that caused the death. If that’s the case, the statute of limitations wouldn’t begin ticking until the discovery of the negligence.
  • If a court grants an extension. Most courts don’t just go around handing out extensions, though some extenuating circumstances do qualify. For example, if the other party in the case keeps delaying the proceedings, the court may grant you additional time for which to make your case.

What You Should Do Now

Any time someone is looking at a wrongful death case, he or she should contact a wrongful death lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer in Washington, DC. Perhaps you’re not sure whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit, but that’s no reason you shouldn’t get legal advice. To learn more about wrongful death and how long you have to wait until filing a lawsuit, contact an attorney today.

Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into how much time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit after an accident occurs.