A loved one’s death may always seem “wrong,” but in the eyes of the law, a wrongful death is defined as one that occurred as a result of another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct. A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by a personal injury lawyer on behalf of surviving family members.
While it can’t bring the decedent back, a wrongful death claim may help the surviving family seek closure for their loss and justice on behalf of their loved one. Like other civil lawsuits, wrongful death claims are subjected to statutes of limitations.
What Is a Statute of Limitation?
A statute of limitations is a regulation that prohibits legal claims made after a certain period of time. There are statutes of limitations for both criminal and civil actions. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action.
Statutes of limitations are established by the states, and so the time limits can vary from one state to the next. Within one state, there are different statutes of limitations on different types of legal actions. For each, the clock begins ticking on the date that the incident happened, the date it was discovered, or the date on which reasonable efforts could have discovered it.
If your loved one lost his or her life due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, the statute of limitations places a deadline on your legal right to file a lawsuit. It is crucial to understand the deadline for this type of legal claim because you will forfeit your right to file a lawsuit unless you consult an attorney in a timely manner.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in California
The California legislature has determined that surviving family members may only file a lawsuit against a negligent party for the wrongful death of their loved one if they do so before two years have passed. This two year statute of limitations is applicable for all types of wrongful death claims in California. It includes wrongful death stemming from car accidents, a slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, product liability, toxic substance exposure, and work-related deaths.
How Long Should Family Members Wait to File a Claim?
Two years might seem like a long time, especially in the wake of a loved one’s death when grief and mourning take priority. However, it is in the best interests of the family to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Long before a lawsuit is filed, the lawyer must conduct a pre-filing investigation. Since evidence can degrade over time and the memories of eyewitnesses can become unreliable, it’s best to begin the evidence collection process for your wrongful death lawsuit right away.
Protect Your Legal Rights
Due to the risk of the statute of limitations expiring, it’s in the best interests of surviving family members to contact a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer at the Salamati Law Firm as soon as possible. We will review your case free of charge, with no obligation to you. Every case is important to us, and every client receives the same caliber of uncompromising care and attention.
We understand that the loss of a loved one is a devastating tragedy that can never truly be mitigated. However, we sincerely hope that holding accountable those who are responsible for your loved one’s death will bring your family peace. For the vigorous legal advocacy services you need and the compassionate care you deserve, reach out today.