Is There a Time Limit on Filing a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death?
Nearly all civil and criminal cases have time limits on when lawsuits can be filed. While these time limits vary depending on your state, each state has a statute of limitations that requires accident victims to file lawsuits within a specific timeframe. After this time, an individual loses their right to sue for that injury. Specific time limits range from one year in states like Tennessee and Louisiana to six years in states including Maine and New Jersey.
How are Wrongful Death Claims Affected by Statute of Limitations Laws?
State laws have different ways of handling wrongful death limitation laws, and the time when the clock actually starts ticking on a claim can vary. In many states, the statute starts when the person’s death occurs, but some states may apply a “discovery of harm” rule. This may mean that the limitations period actually begins before the death, when the person filing suit should have discovered the cause of the illness or injury of the person on whose behalf they are filing. In product liabilities cases, states may also consider additional limitations that begin running at the time of death, or may entirely prohibit product liability claims after the product has been off the market for an extended time or reaches a certain age.
As you can tell, wrongful death claims depend on a variety of factors and can be rather complicated without the help of an experienced attorney who has dealt with these types of cases before. As a general rule of thumb, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you intend to file a wrongful death claim. Since time is so important in these types of cases, it is urgent that you act quickly to allow yourself the best possible chance of a successful outcome.
The San Jose wrongful death attorneys at Habbas & Associates have recovered over $300 million for their clients. See what over 200 years of experience can do for you by calling us today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (888) 387-4053.