How do “statutes of limitations” apply to wrongful death claims?

All civil lawsuits have what are known as “statutes of limitations.” This is the time period in which a person can file a lawsuit. Once the time period is up, a person can no longer pursue a legal claim. This is true of personal injury claims, including wrongful death lawsuits. Each state has its own statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, so this post will only speak generally about this topic and does not provide legal advice. Those who want to know what the statute of limitations is for wrongful death claims in New Jersey will want to speak to a professional.

When it comes to wrongful death claims, in general the statute of limitations begins when the person pursuing the lawsuit knows or through reasonable diligence should have known the cause of their loved one’s death. Some states utilize the “discovery rule” to determine when the decedent knew or should have known the cause of his or her death, meaning the wrongful death statute of limitations would begin running before the decedent’s death.

In some states, the statute of limitations can be “tolled” — that is, delayed or suspended. For example, the statute of limitations period cannot be used up while the decedent is still a minor. In general, courts will compare the plusses of tolling the statute of limitations against the prejudice, such tolling would inflict upon the defendant.

Again, this is just general information on the statute of limitations in wrongful death cases and does not contain legal advice. New Jersey residents who want to pursue a wrongful death claim will want to consult with a professional. This way, those who want to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit can make informed decisions.