No one wants to have to go through a wrongful death claim. After all, wrongful death implies that you lost a loved one because of another person’s actions. This could be intentional harm or it could be an accident. No matter the case, if your loved one lost his or her life due to someone else’s negligence, you may have a wrongful death claim. Before you file, however, it is important to understand two of the biggest myths about wrongful death.
Wrongful Death Has No Statute of Limitations
This is a major misconception. Wrongful death does have a statute of limitations. The reason that some people believe this is because murder charges tend to not have statute of limitations. Keep in mind that wrongful death is not a criminal charge. It is not the same as murder or manslaughter. Wrongful death is simply finding someone legally responsible for the death and ordering him or her to pay compensation for your loss. A person does not have to enter into criminal court because of a wrongful death lawsuit. Most states give you approximately two years to file a lawsuit.
Even if you have a strong case, if you wait until the time is up, you will not be able to file a lawsuit. In some states you may be able to file after you discover that there was negligence involved with the death. For instance, if your loved one dies but you think that it was an honest accident, only to find out months later that another person was involved, you may have more time to file a lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Suits Can Be Filed by Anyone
Another common misconception is that wrongful death suits can be filed by anyone. This is not the case. In order to file wrongful death, you have to be an heir to the person who lost his or her life. For instance, you could be the surviving spouse, the parents of the deceased, the siblings of the deceased, or the children. Keep in mind that every state is different when it comes to their laws about wrongful death.
If you think that you may have a wrongful death claim, then you need to consult with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Wrongful death claims can be complicated and take time to prepare. You do not want to wait until the claim is past the statute of limitations. Likewise, if you want to receive compensation as soon as possible, then you also need to file as soon as possible.