A wrongful death claim is essentially a negligence civil suit that is brought on behalf of an individual who was killed as the result of the actions of a person or company. Close relatives have legal standing to bring such cases, but they must file their suits before the wrongful death statute of limitations expires. If you are interested in learning more about these time limits, read on for a brief discussion of what they are and how they relate to wrongful death lawsuits.
Reasoning Behind Statutes of Limitations
Statutes of limitations are time limits placed on certain types of lawsuits. If plaintiffs do not take proper action to pursue litigation within these legally defined periods, they lose the right to bring their claims. These laws are intended to do three things:
- Ensure that plaintiffs with legitimate claims will pursue them diligently
- Protect defendants, who may face overly difficult challenges in disproving old claims
- Ensure that defendants don’t live in fear of a potential lawsuit indefinitely
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
In most American states, the time limits on wrongful death claims will vary based on the details of the death. Cases involving medical malpractice, auto accidents or product liability, for example, may each carry its own specific statute of limitations.
Legal Standing and Statute of Limitations
Legal standing describes a party’s ability to show that they are sufficiently connected to a harm to be involved in a lawsuit. Sometimes standing is also tied to statutes of limitations. For example, in some states victims’ spouses are given the exclusive first chance to bring a wrongful death suit. If that spouse does not file a suit within one year of the death, then the deceased’s children may file a suit if they wish.
If one of your loved ones has recently been killed as the result of the negligence of an individual or company, you may want to speak with a wrongful death attorney in order to determine if you are still within the window of the applicable wrongful death statute of limitations. Call 615-859-2223 today for a FREE consultation regarding your case with an experienced wrongful death attorney at The Law Office of Eric Beasley.