When you lose a loved one as a result of the negligence of someone or something else, filing any type of legal action is probably one of the last things you want to do. But the unfortunate reality of the matter is that the law places very strict deadlines on when cases need to be filed and missing this deadline means that you miss the opportunity to recover much-needed funds in the absence of your loved one.
Let's start at the beginning-- what is a statute of limitations? Statute of limitations is a legal term that refers to the laws around the amount of time you have to bring a lawsuit. As it relates to California wrongful death and serious personal injury cases, family members of the loved one must file their case by these timelines:
- Wrongful death cases: two years for most types of wrongful death cases including car accidents, motorcycle accidents and truck accidents.
- Medical malpractice deaths: three years from when the injury occurred or one year from when you should have discovered the malpractice
- Cases against the government: 6 months
You may be wondering why there are time limits to sue for things at all? There are a few exceptions to the rule (murder being the most notable one) but the main reasons behind placing these requirements is to protect the defendant and their ability to present evidence to defend themselves. If individuals were allowed to bring cases decades after they happened, it would be hard for any defendants (and a lot of plaintiffs) to present their best case. Like that logic or not, that is how things are but the good news is that all the statute of limitations requires is that a case be filed, not finished.
There are some exceptions to the general wrongful death statute of limitations, including if the deceased was a minor or mentally insane at the time of the injury/death.
So what needs to be done to make sure you don't miss the chance to seek justice for the death of a loved one? Pretty much just one phone call to us will take care of things. During your initial free consultation with the Walch Law Firm, we will answer all your questions and get the information we need to make sure your case is being filed within the appropriate time limits. We know that dealing with a legal case is the last thing you want to be doing and we want you to concentrate on what is really important during this time-- healing. We are here to handle your legal and financial worries so that you can do just that. Give us a call today and let's begin working together.