Dallas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
All civil lawsuits are governed by a statute of limitations. The statute is a legal deadline derived from English common law: it has been a part of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits for generations.
When you are pursuing a wrongful death case, it is critical to understand how the statute of limitations could impact your claim. Waiting too long to move forward with your case could jeopardize your ability to pursue justice on behalf of your deceased loved one. A seasoned attorney could advise you on the Dallas wrongful death statute of limitations.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute period for wrongful death cases in Dallas typically expires two years from the date of a person’s death. This two-year period is important, as the court could reject any claim filed after its expiration.
When the plaintiff in a wrongful death action files their lawsuit after the statute expires, the defendant will likely move to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning that it can never be filed again. When a claim is not filed within the statute’s deadline, the court will even dismiss cases with strong arguments.
When Does the Statutory Period Begin?
The statute of limitations serves as a time limit for filing wrongful death cases—but when does that deadline expire? The statutory period in a wrongful death case begins on the date of the decedents passing. Therefore, it is important to understand that this differs from a typical personal injury lawsuit, as those claims accrue on the day of the accident.
In some cases, the date is the same either way. However, some wrongful deaths occur days or weeks after a fatal injury is sustained. This can complicate the statute of limitations. One of the benefits of working with an attorney is leaving any calculation of these deadlines in their hands.
Important Exceptions to Know
There are certain exceptions that apply to the statute of limitations. While rarely used, these exceptions could delay the statute and provide a plaintiff with additional time to file a lawsuit. Tolling, or pausing, the statute of limitations could be the difference in some cases between filing on time and losing out on a claim. It is never wise to assume these exceptions apply in a case without first speaking to an attorney.
When a claimant is under the age of 18 have additional time to file a lawsuit. Typically, the statute of limitations does not begin to expire until a plaintiff turns 18 years old.
Sometimes, the defendant will take active steps to conceal their involvement in a negligent death, in which case, their fraud might not come to light until after the statute expires. When fraud exists in a case, a plaintiff generally has additional time to file a lawsuit.
Discuss the Statute of Limitations in Wrongful Death Cases With an Attorney in Dallas
The death of a close loved one is never easy, and you might not have the mental capacity to focus on a civil lawsuit in the aftermath of such a tragedy. However, any delay in pursuing these cases could negatively impact your case.
Fortunately, an attorney could carry the weight of your claim while you focus on your grief and recovery. Reach out today to learn more about Dallas wrongful death statute of limitations.