When it comes to filing a wrongful death suit in Louisiana, there is such a thing as “too little, too late.” That is because, like other civil lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits are subjected to the statute of limitations. This phrase refers to the period of time in which a person has to file a lawsuit. Once that time period has passed, a person can no longer file a lawsuit even if the lawsuit otherwise would have been valid.
Statute of limitations laws are set by the states. In Louisiana, a person has one year from the death of the victim to file a wrongful death suit. After that, barring some exceptions, a wrongful death suit cannot be brought to the court.
However, it may be possible in very limited circumstances to have the statute of limitations waived. There are very specific criteria that must be met in order for this to happen, and it is not very common. Also, it might also be possible to have the statute of limitations tolled, that is, delayed or suspended. This will be subject to state law.
So, with a few exceptions, it is important to file a wrongful death suit sooner rather than later. While a person is grieving, they may be so lost in the process that they aren’t thinking clearly into the future. However, when a person dies, funeral and medical expenses will eventually come rolling in. A person will have to deal with the loss of financial support the deceased provided. Then, there is the loss of companionship to deal with, as well as other non-economic losses.
As this shows, the wrongful death of a loved one can take a serious financial toll on the survivors. Therefore, those interested in pursuing a wrongful death suit will be well-served to discuss the matter with an attorney who can advise them as to how to proceed and how long they have to file suit.
Source: FindLaw, “Wrongful Death Clams: Time Limits and the ‘Discovery’ Rule,” accessed March 12, 2018