If you are the next of kin to someone who was killed in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can pursue a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is like a personal injury claim that is brought on behalf of the family or the estate of an individual who cannot file his or her own claim. If that person had lived, he or she would have been eligible to pursue a personal injury claim.
However, you do have a time limit for pursuing a wrongful death claim. Every state sets its own state of limitations for pursuing wrongful death and personal injury claim. The general rule, however, is that a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the negligence or misconduct that resulted in the accident victim’s death.
The Differing Statute of Limitations
Every state sets its own guidelines regarding personal injury claims and wrongful death claims. The statute of limitations can vary from one state to another. Here are some examples:
- In Tennessee, you have a year from the date of the accident to file a claim.
- In Ohio, you have two years from the date of the accident to pursue a claim.
- In North Carolina, you have three years from the date of the accident.
- North Dakota residents have six years for personal injury or two years for wrongful death.
- In Florida, victims have four years from the date of the accident.
- In Louisiana, the statute of limitations is one year.
- Wyoming has a four-year statute of limitations.
Starting a Wrongful Death Claim
To get a wrongful death claim underway, you will need to send a demand letter. A demand letter will explain what happened, why you believe the defendant is liable, the damages that resulted, it should include copies of any applicable medical bills and funeral expenses, proof of lost wages and future income for the decedent and how the family is affected – such as loss of consortium, loss of income, and loss of the relationship with the accident victim.
Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company can be challenging, so before your negotiations get underway you should consult with a personal injury attorney who is licensed in your state. You want a lawyer who is familiar with the state laws to represent your family in this serious matter.
Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have lost a loved on in an accident that you believe was caused by someone’s negligence, you should consult with a wrongful death attorney right away. You have nothing to lose because personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. That means your attorney will not be paid until you are compensated through a judgment or a settlement. The initial consultation is also free. Remember, though, time is of the essence. To get your wrongful death claim on the right track and in a timely manner, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page today!