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Under the California wrongful death statute, there is a time limit for family members to file a civil lawsuit after the death of a loved one. In general, this time limit is two years from the date of the death. It is important to be aware of this time limit and to act promptly if you are considering taking legal action in the event of the unexpected passing of a loved one.
This deadline—called the statute of limitations—can be one of the major pitfalls in wrongful death cases. One of the benefits of hiring a seasoned attorney is that they are familiar with the San Jose wrongful death statute of limitations and are able to act promptly and efficiently to file a claim. To discuss your case with a compassionate wrongful death lawyer, reach out today.
When it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, the statute of limitations always applies. As a San Jose attorney could explain, this deadline exists to prevent cases from being filed many years after a wrongful death claim accrues.
Most of the time, the statutory period to file a wrongful death claim is two years. The two-year period usually begins to count down on the date of a person’s passing.
The statute of limitations in San Jose for a wrongful death claim is different if that death resulted from an act of medical malpractice. Instead of the standard two-year statutory period, plaintiffs in these cases could face one of two deadlines.
In a medical malpractice case, a wrongful death lawsuit generally must be filed within three years of the act of negligence. This could be anything from a misdiagnosis to a surgical error. However, the chance for a wrongful death might not be lost if three years have expired.
Not all fatal acts of malpractice are discovered immediately. In these cases, a plaintiff could have additional time to file a lawsuit against a negligent doctor, nurse, or hospital. In these cases, a plaintiff could have one year to file a wrongful death lawsuit if the negligence is not discovered within three years.
Calculating the statute of limitations in these cases can be complicated. The good news is that there is no reason for the family of a deceased patient to handle it on their own. A San Jose attorney could manage every aspect of a wrongful death case, including the statute of limitations.
The state’s wrongful death statute of limitations may be “tolled” or paused in certain situations. If a minor child loses a parent and wishes to bring a wrongful death action, they have two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. For example, if a minor was ten years old at the time of the parent’s death, they have ten years to file a lawsuit. In addition, the statute of limitations may be tolled if family members were unaware of the decedent’s passing and had no reasonable means of discovering it. In this case, the statute of limitations would be tolled until the date that the death was discovered or should have been discovered.
If you believe that your loved one’s passing was caused by another party’s negligence, you could be eligible to file a wrongful death suit. It is important that you comply with the statute of limitations in these cases. Filing your case after time expires could cost you any chance at compensation.
Let an attorney address the San Jose wrongful death statute of limitations in your case and help your family get the compensation you need and deserve. Set up your free consultation at Solution Now Law Firm today to get started.