What is the Statute of Limitations for a wrongful death claim? Can the Discovery Rule help?

May 07, 2021
wrongful death claim

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases

Every state set their statute of limitations on various cases. These statutes of limitations set an end time at which you can file a claim. Therefore, all cases are different with multiple levels of severity. The statute of limitations is strict to protect defendants from unfair and prejudiced practices. If you do not file a case before the statute of limitations ends, you lose your right to file the compensation claim. This wrongful death Seattle lawyer can help you. 

Each state looks at wrongful death cases differently and sets varying degrees of statutes of limitations. Therefore, it is best to hire a seasoned and experienced lawyer to ensure you do not let the statute of limitations pass on your case in your state of Washington. 

Most states set two years from the date the wrongful death occurred or when the person died. However, cases may have exceptions to this rule, so it is best to hire a lawyer. For example, if you file a claim for wrongful death in the case of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations in a particular state may give you three years to file. Therefore, the wrongful death attorney in Seattle would examine your specific circumstances, such as the statute of limitations beginning when the person died, not at the time of the person’s injury due to negligent harm. There are also exceptional cases involving public or government agencies that give these entities as little as six months to file a claim. 

  • An example is your loved one is in the hospital in a coma for months. You find out that the medical staff gave your loved one the wrong medication or treatment that adversely affected their condition. You cannot claim wrongful death until the person dies. Death may not occur immediately, but months or years later. 
  • Another example is that your loved one was exposed to a known chemical that causes cancer. Unfortunately, it was not until years later that the person died from this exposure. The statute of limitations begins at the time of death and not at the time of exposure to the chemical. 

It is difficult for you to identify the correct dates when the statute of limitation starts and ends and requires your attorney’s expertise. As a result, wrongful death cases become complicated when considering a host of legal explanations why you can file a claim after the expiration date. 

If you have any ideas that you or a loved one was affected adversely by another’s negligent actions, you need to seek advice from a seasoned lawyer as soon as possible. Never wait until death occurs in the future. Then, the attorney can begin working on your case and allow your attorney to handle all communications from entities such as insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, clinics, and more. Finally, never take the chance of losing your right to sue for wrongful death. In most cases, this is two years.

While most wrongful death claims come under the statute of limitations law restricting the time a lawsuit occurs. If you know that a loved one died at the hands of another person’s negligent actions or deeds the week they died, know that the statute of limitations is two years. Most courts in any state will not hear the case until this time passes. This Seattle wrongful death attorney follows all deadlines. 

Deadlines for court hearings depend on, The Statute of Limitations and circumstances of the case, such as in these few examples.

  • Medical Malpractice
  • Car Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Construction Accidents

One of the most challenging cases to prove is medical malpractice due to its specific statute of limitations and burden of proof. Many medical malpractice cases do not occur for weeks, months, and sometimes years after the fact. 

The Discovery Rule Adopted by Most States and How It Works

You must address your specific situation as soon as possible for the Discovery rule protection. For example, this wrongful death lawyer in Seattle knows the rules protecting you and your case, even if medical malpractice was not evident at the time it occurred. The Discovery Rule means the statute of limitations starts to run when the patient discovers the injury. Examples, where this filing time is extended are causes with much later effects, such as in the following. 

  • A surgical procedure on the wrong body part
  • Cosmetic surgical errors
  • Prescription errors
  • The wrong treatment
  • Wrong amputations
  • Brain injuries 
  • Burn injuries
  • Dental malpractice
  • Nursing malpractice
  • Vaccine injuries

A doctor can commit malpractice early at the beginning of your treatment in error. Then, when the course of the therapy in error stops, your statute of limitations begins. Thus the attorney evokes The Discovery Rule.

Call to Action on How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Seattle Can Help You

The following are a few of the ways a lawyer can help you file a lawsuit for wrongful death and possibly use the Discovery Rule in your case.

  • Communicates with all persons involved in your lawsuit
  • Knows the rules and laws of your city and state of Seattle, Washington
  • Unravels the complexity of your case
  • Advocates for your rights 
  • Unravels the sophistication of your case
  • Works hard to get you the compensation you deserve
  • Knows and applies the rules of law to your case
  • Knows and utilized exceptions to the state laws

This seasoned and experienced wrongful death attorney Seattle, Washington, works hard for you in your case against negligent death or injury. But, first, access our website for more information about the Albert Law PLLC in Seattle, Washington. 

Then, give our firm a call at 206-576-8044 as soon as possible when you suspect a wrongful death of a loved one. This first call is free with no obligation. Also, give us a call to help you find compensation for injuries brought about by someone negligent in their actions.