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What should I know before filing a wrongful death lawsuit?

Wrongful death occurs when one person’s negligence leads to the death of another. The law allows you to sue that person if your loved one was the person who died.

There are stipulations and requirements to be able to bring a wrongful death case. According to FindLaw, you must have a specific relationship to the person and file your claim within a certain time to have a valid wrongful death case.

Relationship requirement

To file a wrongful death claim, you must have a close relationship with the person who dies. Friends or those without a legal relationship cannot file a claim.

Generally, the spouse has the first rights, along with the children. If the person does not have a spouse or children, then the parents may have the ability to file a claim.

Typically, the law also allows a personal representative to bring the claim on behalf of close relatives.

Statute of limitations

The statute of limitations is the time limit in which you have to file your claim. After the death of a close loved one, you may not be in a state of mind to file a wrongful death claim, but the law wants to ensure evidence is fresh and everyone in the case is not impacted by a long length of time between the incident and the court case.

For this reason, the law sets a time limit in which you must file of one year from the date of the person’s death. There are few exceptions to this restriction. If you do not file within one year, then the court will not hear your case.

Ensuring you meet the requirements to file your wrongful death case is essential to ensuring you can get the case before a judge.