Know the Time Limits for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Tue Mar 2017
- Wrongful Death,
You are overcome with grief. After several months of painful recuperation, your spouse passes away. The doctor tells you the death is related to the car accident that put him in the hospital in the first place. You’ve never even the heard the term wrongful death. Yet, a friend suggests you should speak with an attorney. Can you wait?
You and your spouse may have already retained legal counsel concerning a negligence claim. Of course, the easiest thing would be to consult with that attorney. There’s also the chance you were both holding off until the hospital discharge. You seem to be left with all the responsibility. It’s an incredible burden, and you may not be ready to face it. This is why it’s important to know the time limits for filing a wrongful death claim.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
The phrase Statute of limitations refers to the legal time limits in which a claim may be filed. In New Jersey, NJSA 2A:31-3 states that the action must be filed within two years from the decedent’s date of death. There are exceptions to this rule.
For example, there is no statute of limitations if the decedent was a victim of murder, aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter.The law states that as long as the culpable party is found guilty or not guilty because of insanity or adjudicated delinquent, there is an indefinite claim.
Notice Requirements for Public Entities
Suppose for a moment that your loved one died when she fell inside a stairwell in the local town hall.Does this mean you have the standard two years to wait to file a claim? Beware of this mistake in judgment.
Your claim may be denied if you hold off on filing a notice of claim against a government entity or agency. It is crucial that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to preserve your rights as quickly as possible. Whether your loved one is hurt on state or municipal property,there is a ninety-day notice expectation for claims against public entities. Even if you’ve passed the deadline, you should consult with an attorney to see if the time limit can be extended.
Discovery of Causal Relationship
First and foremost, other than the examples we gave you, it is not easy to continue the statute of limitations beyond the regular two-year period. However, what if you find out that your loved one’s death is causally related to chemical exposure? Or, if there was an act of medical malpractice? Either of these circumstances could extend the statute of limitations from the date you discovered or should have discovered someone else was liable for the decedent’s death.
Are You Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In a prior article, we provided you with some information concerning who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim.The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo has extensive experience representing clients who have lost loved ones. Contact our office to schedule an appointment to see how we assist you.