There is nothing more painful than losing your dear ones due to preventable accidents. In such a situation, close family members of the victim in the state of California can lodge a wrongful death lawsuit against the party whose negligent action caused the fatality. For this, you must consult with a lawyer who focuses on wrongful death cases or lawsuits, like an accident injury lawyer. This lawsuit comes under the purview of wrongful death statutes of limitations in California, and the purpose of this article is to explore more about this.
Wrongful Death Statute Limitations Of California
In the state of California, the claims for wrongful death must be initiated within two years of the date of the accident. Also, the statutes of limitations for wrongful death must be complied with by the plaintiffs. Otherwise, the case will be dismissed by the court. In many cases, death or fatalities happen due to accidents, injuries, or medical malpractice, and the process of filing a lawsuit is complex. Because of this, you need to do it with the help of an injury lawyer to avoid not getting a hearing in the court.
Exceptions In Statute Of Limitations On Wrongful Death In California
The standard statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in California stipulates that the wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within at least two years of the date of the accident. But there are exceptions to this based on the nature of the accident, and this can reduce or increase this time. The details are shared below.
The Discovery Rule
The time frame for filing the wrongful death lawsuit is extended if the family member of the victim found out about the accident late; this is referred to as the ‘discovery rule’. Here, the statute of limitations is tolled or paused, and the two years are applied not when the death happened, but when the death from the accident was discovered.
The time frame to file a wrongful death lawsuit due to medical malpractice is three years from the date of the malpractice, or one year when it should have been reasonably discovered. Deciding between these two points can be difficult, and hence it is imperative to call a lawyer who focuses on wrongful death lawsuits due to medical negligence. Having said that, in some cases, family members discover the involvement of medical negligence quite late, and in such a scenario there can be variations.
These are the important points that you must know about wrongful death statutes of limitations in California and its exceptions.