When someone causes another person’s death, loved ones have the legal right to pursue legal action. This is separate from any criminal action the police may take. However, there is a limited amount of time for family members to do so.
Understanding the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims could be critical in knowing your next step. At Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, our attorneys will work as diligently as possible to help you. If you suspect that your loved one has died as a result of negligence on the part of another person, it is critical for you to contact our wrongful death attorneys as soon as possible.
Do so even if you believe the statute of limitations may have run out or may be quickly approaching. Let us help you.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations in wrongful death claims differs based on the state you are in and, in some cases, the type of claim being made.
In the state of Tennessee, the person’s immediate family members have one year from the time that the person has died to take some action. This applies to most types of wrongful death claims.
The statute of limitations in wrongful death claims in Mississippi is three years from the date of the person’s death. This is a much longer period of time, but it is still not a lot of time to take the actions that you need to. This applies to most cases.
In situations where intentional acts have taken place, the statute of limitations is limited to one year after the incident occurred. This includes legal matters that result in criminal prosecution. For situations related to medical malpractice cases, a person has two years of the date of death to take action.
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What Type of Claim Can a Family Member Make?
The second factor to consider in making a wrongful death claim is the type of compensation owed. Typically, under this law, a person may pursue compensation based on the following:
- The loss of financial support
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of household contributions
- Emotional support loss
- Losses related to the cost of therapy or counseling related to the person’s death
Additionally, both states allow for survival claims. These are claims that include damages that a deceased person may have suffered prior to their death. This includes, for example, their lost income, medical costs related to the incident, and any pain and suffering they may have claimed.
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Who Has the Right to Pursue Wrongful Death Claims?
Not just anyone can pursue financial compensation for a person’s death. The state’s laws will put in place specific rules for who can take this action as well as when it may apply.
In Tennessee, for example, a person may be able to file a claim if they are a close family member. It also puts in place an order which defines who may file a claim.
- Surviving spouse always receives the first right to claim
- Surviving children if there is no spouse
- Surviving next-of-kin, if there are no children or a spouse
- The personal representative or administrator of the estate
- The surviving parents of the deceased person, if that person was financially dependent on their parents
In these legal matters, filing a wrongful death claim must follow this order, and if a surviving spouse does not wish to do so, it can be quite difficult to move the case forward. In Mississippi, the following people are given the ability to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit on behalf of a person that has died.
- A personal representative, which includes the administrator or executor of the deceased person’s estate
- The surviving spouse
- The surviving parents, including adoptive parents
- The surviving children
- Surviving siblings
It is only possible for one party to file a wrongful death claim for an individual. However, all eligible people in those listed above may be a part of that lawsuit.
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While there is often a lot of focus on the statute of limitations, it is critical to understand that even if you wait until the last minute, you still have the right to take action. However, the sooner you do take action, the better. That is because these are complicated cases that often involve a significant amount of research and evidence-seeking.
More so, the sooner that evidence is obtained, the less likely it is for the involved parties to forget the details of what occurred. Proving a wrongful death claim is critical and requires a solid understanding of the laws and limitations of the rights of survivors. Some of the most common instances in which it may be possible to determine negligence occurred is due to legal faults in areas of:
- Medical malpractice
- Negligence-based accidents or incidents such as car accidents
- Defective product claims
- Intentional acts
If you believe your loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligence, take action as soon as possible to learn if you have a case and what legal steps need to be taken to pursue financial compensation. Not only is this your right, but it is one of the most important decisions you can make to prevent other people from facing the same types of limitations.
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What is the statute of limitations in your situation? Perhaps you are unsure if you have a case. Let our team take a closer look at your case to provide you with more insight.
Contact Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, to learn more about how we can help you. We are happy to provide a free consultation to guide you in determining the best legal support available to you moving forward. There is no obligation to move forward, but contacting us allows you to take the first step in learning your legal options and rights.
Request a free consultation with our wrongful death attorneys today.