Wrongful Death Lawyer
When your loved one dies after someone’s negligent actions, you deserve to be compensated for the financial losses you’ve experienced. While this isn’t going to bring your family member back, it can lessen the blow of everything you have to deal with as a result of the death. It’s important you speak with an attorney right away, as there are some rules and time limits you must abide by if you wish to receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
The Statute of Limitations
In every state, civil actions are given a time limit for when you are no longer allowed to file the claim. This time limit is called the statute of limitations, and it pertains to wrongful death cases. The time limit you have varies from state to state, so speaking with an attorney becomes even more important so you can understand the amount of time you have to get your lawsuit filed. For example, in Missouri, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is five years. Just over the border in Arkansas, someone would only have three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Discovery Rule
In many wrongful death cases, the surviving family members know at the time of death that the individual was the victim of a crime. Perhaps the deceased was in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Maybe he or she died because a surgeon left a tool inside his or her body. These examples show situations in which family members would know at the time of death that the death was unnecessary.
There are other situations in which the surviving family members wouldn’t know right away the death was caused by a negligent individual. For example, if someone was found deceased and alone at home, but there were no signs of foul play, it may initially be determined he or she died of natural causes. Upon further inspection, and possibly years later, the authorities might come to you with evidence the death may have actually been intentionally caused by another individual. That would be the moment you “discovered” something wrongful had happened, and typically when the statute would begin.
What You Can Do Today
If you have missed the statute of limitations, or if your loved one just died, it may help to have an attorney by your side. There are some alternative options if you missed the deadline, and if you’re just in the beginning of the process, your lawyer can help it run more smoothly. Contact a wrongful death lawyer, like from Patterson Bray today to get started.