The Wrongful Death Claim and Limitation Statute Connection

wrongful death claim

If you’re not a lawyer, you might not know the “limitation statute” term. If you know about it, you may not have considered it much. If you ever need to file a wrongful death claim, though, you’re going to have to find out all about it.

Let’s talk about limitation statutes and wrongful death claims right now. You’ll never want to be in a position where you have to put what you’ve learned into action, but it does happen sometimes. If it ever does, you’ll be glad you know these terms.

What Do These Two Terms Mean?

A limitation statute is a law that’s in place which only gives you a certain amount of time to file a legal action. For instance, if a piece of candy cuts your cheek, you probably wouldn’t want to wait fifty years before trying to pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer. That wouldn’t make much sense.

You can always file a wrongful death lawsuit when you believe that a certain individual or company killed one of your family members. Presumably, they did not do so on purpose. They came out with a product that killed your loved one, though, or they allowed unsafe conditions to exist that killed them.

These two concepts connect to each other. In each state, you have a designated period during which you can file a wrongful death claim. For instance, in California, the court gives you two years to file your claim in most instances.

Who Can File One of These Lawsuits?

Generally, family members can file a claim against an individual or company if they believe they can hold this entity or person responsible for a loved one’s death. They must do so in the time the state gives them.

A surviving spouse or domestic partner can do it. A brother, sister, father, or mother can also. Any surviving children can file a claim, or grandchildren can.

If there are no immediate family members who can file a claim for the deceased, it’s not often possible for a friend or acquaintance to do so. There are occasionally exceptions to this rule, but you’d need to contact an experienced lawyer to determine whether that’s true about any particular circumstance.

When Might You File One of These Claims?

All kinds of things cause wrongful deaths, but there are some specific instances where these lawsuits are likely. For example, an unsafe product killing someone might bring on a wrongful death claim. You’ll have to prove that the company that came out with the product did not test it enough, or they knew about dangerous components, but they released the product for use anyway.

Premises liability lawsuits happen often as well. You’ll need to establish that a company or individual knew about an unsafe condition, but they did not correct it. You might bring a premises liability wrongful death lawsuit after a workplace death or one in a business or private residence.

Medical malpractice does happen far more often than most individuals would like to think, and you might bring a lawsuit against a hospital or doctor in that case. You’ll have to show the jury that a doctor operated on the wrong body part, did not adhere to the professional care standard, or they administered the wrong medication.

What Money Can You Expect to Win?

You can recoup all kinds of financial expenses following a wrongful death if you can win your case. You might get back lost wages that the deceased individual would have earned during their lifetime. You can use the cash to pay your rent or mortgage, utility bills, grocery bills, and more.

You might win funeral and burial expenses. You could win non-economic damages as well, such as money to compensate you for the deceased person’s companionship. Of course, it’s hard to put a dollar amount on that sort of thing, but you’ll leave that up to the jury to determine.

What If You Fail to File a Lawsuit During the Designated Time Allowed?

If you cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit during the designated time, and the limitation statute expires, often, you have no way to hold the responsible party accountable. However, there are sometimes exceptions or loopholes, so make sure you consult a lawyer before you completely give up.

Some attorneys specialize in this area, and they might be able to come up with a legal argument for filing of which you could not conceive on your own.

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Posted - 05/11/2021