San Mateo Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

San Mateo Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

We extend our condolences if you have lost a loved one to a senseless violent act or someone’s negligent behavior. During this difficult time, Solution Now Law Firm is here to provide you with support and legal guidance. Our team of experienced attorneys could help file your lawsuit, but you must act quickly to ensure it falls within the San Mateo wrongful death statute of limitations.

When your loved one could have brought a personal injury lawsuit against the perpetrator, there is a possibility for family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit. We understand that losing a loved one means more than losing their presence. If your loved one was the sole provider, you are now faced with keeping the family together with less money coming in. You have final medical bills and funeral expenses to pay. A seasoned wrongful death attorney could guide you through the legal process and help you seek the financial recovery you deserve.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When someone dies because of someone else’s reckless, negligent, or intentional actions, heirs and registered domestic partners may seek compensation. Often, insurance carriers reach settlements, but families must sometimes file wrongful death lawsuits with different time limits depending on the circumstances.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

Under the California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1, families have a two-year window from the date of their loved one’s death to file a lawsuit. Failure to file within this time frame will bar any future claim, although some exceptions exist. Talk to our team of San Mateo lawyers to discuss the statute of limitations for a particular wrongful death claim.

Exception Under the Discovery Rule

Sometimes, a person is injured and lingers for months or years before passing away. The correlation between the injury and death may not be immediately apparent, even though the wrongful death deadline looms. The state of California’s Discovery Rule adjusts such limitations.

For instance, when a person dies from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, the link between the two may not be discovered for years. Under the Discovery Rule, the time limit to file suit in San Mateo in such cases does not begin to run until the link is made.


An attorney can ask for an extension of the time frame to file a wrongful death claim in certain circumstances. Tolling occurs when the court delays or suspends the time limit for a specified time. Tolling can be granted in the following situations when the defendant:

  • Is a minor, tolling the case until the minor turns 18
  • Is in prison, tolling the case until the court determines appropriate
  • Is of unsound mind, tolling the case until they are of sound mind
  • Lives out of state, tolling the case until their return or as the court determines

Tolling is not guaranteed, and the rules for filing wrongful deaths involving personal injury and government agencies are different.

What If the Government Is Responsible for a Wrongful Death?

Family members have only six months to assert a claim against a government entity responsible for wrongful death. This could include car crashes with city vehicles and deadly accidents on school property.

A San Mateo Attorney Understands the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

We understand the anger and anguish you feel after losing a loved one due to someone else’s actions.  During your grieving process, remember that you may be able to hold the at-fault party responsible by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

The complex legal process of pursuing a lawsuit and complying with filing deadlines is not something you should go through alone. Speak with one of our knowledgeable lawyers to learn how the San Mateo wrongful death statute of limitations affects your claim. Call Solution Now Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

Solution Now Law Firm

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