After a loved one’s untimely death in an accident, their surviving family members may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. But they need to take action quickly, as here in Louisiana, the claims will proscribe after one year.
If survivors wait too long to take civil action, they will no longer be able to seek financial compensation for the loss of their loved one.
But like most things having to do with the law, there is an exception known as the “discovery rule.” This exception means that the clock begins ticking on the statute of limitations when the person died. But if the person was injured and then there was a long period between the initial injury and the death, the claim may be considered to have proscribed since there was no action taken on a personal injury claim.
So, does that mean if the time has elapsed, you can take no actions? It may not if you can extend that time period in one of the following ways.
- Tolling the statute of limitations
Here, the statute of limitations is suspended or delayed. This could come into play if a 16-year-old suffered injuries in an accident but was a minor and unable to file a claim and their parent declined to file one for them. At 18, they could then file on their own if the statute is tolled.
- Petitioning the court to waive the statute of limitations
Courts do have the power to do this but rarely do because the criteria that merits a waiver is very specific.
- Getting the opposing party to waive the statute of limitations
This is next to impossible to achieve, as if the defendant was amenable to settling the claim, it would already have done so.
If you want to file a wrongful death action, do not delay. A Terrebonne Parish attorney with experience in handling these type of cases can offer advice and counsel in these legal matters.