Wrongful death claims: time limits and the “discovery” rule

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2022 | Wrongful death |

If someone you love is killed wrongfully, you only have a certain amount of time to bring a wrongful death action. There are different rules that control the time limit for bringing an action, depending on your situation. We’ll discuss some of them in this article.

The discovery rule in wrongful death actions

A wrongful death action’s limitations period begins when the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered why the deceased died. The discovery rule in Hartford, CT allows the limitations period to begin when the deceased knew why he was sick or injured before he died.

Wrongful death action considerations

When wrongful death results from a personal injury action, a statute of limitations may limit the time to file suit if the decedent did not file the claim within the injury’s limitations period.

Some states also have special limitations on product liability-based wrongful death actions, regardless of whether the plaintiff knew the cause of death. These suits are exempt from the discovery rule.

Tolling a statute of limitations period

You’re not out just because you’ve run out of time. Three options remain as a last resort:

– Tolling the statute of limitations

– Waive it with the court

– The opposing party can waive it.

Plaintiffs can request the court to waive the statute of limitations so they can file the lawsuit. Court waivers require particular criteria and are uncommon. Waiver requests sent to the opposing party may not be approved.

Tolling (delaying or suspending) the statute of limitations period is more common. It is subject to state law. Discovery could be considered tolling since it extends the statute of limitations.

If you think you’re running close on your case’s statute of limitations, now is the time to find out if you have options.