Like other civil cases, wrongful death cases have time limits for filing. When the statute of limitations ends, you cannot bring legal action. Every state has a statute for wrongful death cases; speak to a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Nashville TN to learn about state law and to determine if your case has merit.
The clock starts ticking when the injured party discovers (or should have discovered) the death of a person. Some states believe in a fundamental right to bring wrongful death actions, and courts in those areas start the clock when the person in question passes away. Discovery rules are applied to determine whether a deceased person knew his or her illness or injury’s cause, and can start the clock before the person’s death.
Considerations in Wrongful Death Cases
When a wrongful death case arises from a personal injury case, it may be barred if a decedent had no claim because the statute of limitations had run out. In some areas, wrongful death claims based on product liability are subject to time limits that begin on the date of the person’s death, and discovery rules do not apply.
If the statute of limitations has run out, there are still options: tolling and convincing the court or the other party to waive it. Plaintiffs can ask the court to waive the statute, but the criteria for a waiver are strict. Requests for the other party to waive the statute of limitations are rarely granted. Tolling is common, but its use varies according to state law.
For instance, a minor child cannot start the statute of limitations while he or she is still under the age of majority. Therefore, in a wrongful death action brought by a child for a parent’s death, he or she can file a case years later. The statute of limitations does not begin until a child reaches the age of majority, usually 18 years. In most cases, courts carefully weigh tolling’s benefits against prejudice shown to the defendant. If you need help filing a claim in civil court, consult Michael D. Ponce & Associates, a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Nashville TN.