Wrongful Death Claims and Statute of Limitations

Wrongful death claims can be made for any form of death that occurs out of an intentional or negligent act. Such a death can be perpetrated by an individual or a company. This article will discuss filing a wrongful death claim and the statute of limitations set out for such a claim.

The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute [wrongful death | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)] defines a wrongful death as “a death caused by the wrongful act of another, either accidentally or intentionally”. It must be noted that the deceased person does not have the right to file a lawsuit for damages, rather, someone else must bring about the legal case, which is referred to as a wrongful death lawsuit. The whole point of a wrongful-death lawsuit is to get monetary damages from the individual or company that had a part to play in the death of the deceased. Speak to an attorney from the Crowson Law Group in Alaska for legal advice and representation in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Because the person who has died cannot file their own lawsuit, it is up to specific people to file the lawsuit in their behalf. It must be noted that every state has their own laws with regards to wrongful death claims and who can legally file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the common areas regarding who can file a wrongful death claim include the following:

  • It must be filed by an immediate family member
  • If the deceased was married then the surviving spouse can file the claim
  • If the deceased was an adult, an adult child may bring about the legal action; however, if the deceased was a minor child then a parent may bring about the legal action
  • If the deceased was a single adult, distant relatives may be allowed to file the lawsuit; such relatives may include siblings, grandparents, uncles or aunts

As with most family issues it is not uncommon for family members to dispute who files the lawsuit. As a result, courts only allow for one family member and one wrongful death lawsuit to be filed per deceased.

In cases where the deceased had a will this directly impact who will bring forth the legal action of a wrongful death lawsuit. When the person that dies has a will the court often appoints an executor or a personal representative. The role of the executor is to administer the deceased estate. Once the court has appointed an executor they have the sole right to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit in behalf of the deceased.

Generally, the statute of limitations set by most states for filing a wrongful death claim is at least one year from the date of death. However, in very rare cases it is possible to extend or toll the statute of limitations to longer than what is it. Basically, if you take too long before filing the wrongful death claim it is likely that you will lose your right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in behalf of the deceased and will have no legal remedy for your losses. For any questions you have regarding wrongful death lawsuits and claims contact a wrongful death attorney.

Resource Box: For head injury attorneys in Alaska AK, the author recommends the Crowson Law Group.

Comments are closed