When someone close to you has died from someone else’s negligence, it may take you a while to decide whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit.  You need to be aware of the time restrictions that exist in these cases.  Let’s take a look at the laws surrounding these actions.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Suits?

In Georgia, there is a statute of limitations… a certain length of time that you have in which to initiate a wrongful death claim.  Typically, it’s a period of two years.  There are extenuating circumstances where the period of time allowed may be longer, or shorter.  Let’s dig a little further into this.

My Loved One Died Immediately

In cases where someone has died immediately due to someone else’s negligence or neglect, you should consider the statute of limitations to be two years as stated above.  If you are considering filing a claim, your best strategy is to consult with a wrongful death attorney that specializes in wrongful death suits as soon as you are able.  They will be able to clarify the statute of limitations, and to note any circumstances under which that window of opportunity may close ahead of the two years.

My Loved One Survived Their Injuries, but Passed Away Later

Sometimes, an injury is caused by negligence, but the injured person survives the initial accident.  They may even survive for a length of time before the injuries cause their death.  Take, for example, a situation where someone is injured and passes away six months later due to the injuries sustained in the accident.

The rule of thumb when considering the statute of limitations is that the allowable time period begins at the time of the accident, or negligent act.  This may cause some confusion, as the time period would now be eighteen months from the time of death instead of two years from the time of death, since the injuries were incurred six months earlier.

If the time elapsed between the date of injury and the date of death is a matter of days, obviously this will not be a major problem.  If there is a considerable amount of time between the two, it becomes more important to talk to a lawyer as soon as you are up to it.  Take steps to ensure that your family is compensated for the negligence by another party that has robbed you of the life of your loved one.

How Can I Find Out How Much Time I Have to File?

If you’re in this situation, you already realize how complex and complicated this procedure can be.  Have an ally in your corner to guide and help you through the process, from determining statute of limitations to agreeing to a settlement.  Make sure that the wrongful death attorney you hire to represent you is someone that you are comfortable working with.  You will need to spend considerable time with them.  When you’re making your selection, be open to interviewing a couple different people if you don’t find a professional that you “click” with right away.