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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Time Limit

When a loved one is killed, it can be very difficult to recover. During this time, you may be considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit to receive some compensation for your loss, but it is reasonable to feel like you have too much on your mind to pursue legal action. This raises the question of whether or not there is a time limit to file. Can you recover a bit before jumping into a lawsuit? Or would you be at risk of losing the ability to file? There is a time limit, but it is a little complicated to understand. The time limit is called the statute of limitations.

The Statute of Limitations

It is important to be aware of the statute of limitations on your case so you can avoid missing your chance to file a lawsuit. If the statute of limitations expires, any lawsuit you file will almost certainly be thrown out.

The only major exception to the statute of limitations is called the “discovery rule.” If you do not know the identity of the person who caused the death of your loved one, the statute of limitations does not begin until you discover his or her identity. Essentially, the time limit only begins counting down at the time you discover who you should file a lawsuit against.

How Long Do You Have?

So how long is the statute of limitations? Exactly how long do you have to file? The answer varies from one case to the next based on two factors. First, the type of lawsuit affects your time limit. The type of your lawsuit is wrongful death. Second, the state you are filing in also affects your time limit. Keep in mind that the state the death occurred in is what matters, rather than the state of residence for you or the deceased. For most states, the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is two or three years, which provides plenty of time to recover before filing. There are only nine states where the statute of limitations is not two or three years:

  • Florida – Four years
  • Kentucky – One year
  • Louisiana – One year
  • Maine – Six years
  • Missouri – Five years
  • Nebraska – Four years
  • Tennessee – One year
  • Utah – Four years
  • Wyoming – Four years

This means that the statute of limitations will always be between one and six years. If your state is not on this list, you should do your own research to learn whether it is two or three years. An easy way to learn this information is to speak with a wrongful death attorney, like a wrongful death attorney in Lakeland, FL.

Thanks to David & Philpot, PL for their insight into the time limit to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

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