Some people do not survive catastrophic injuries inflicted by an auto accident. In the event a negligent party is responsible for the death of someone you love, you may consider suing for damages under the wrongful death laws of California. However, you do not have an endless amount of time to do so.
A statute of limitations establishes a period of time in which people can file a lawsuit. California law creates various statutes of limitations for different kinds of damages, including wrongful death.
Filing for wrongful death damages
In situations when a person dies due to intentional action or neglect, the state of California places a two-year limit on when survivors can sue the responsible party. The statute of limitations starts from the date of the injury.
This time limit covers instances of death or when someone survives the injury. So someone who has been the victim of battery, assault or another kind of personal injury may also sue for damages provided he or she can do so within two years of the incident.
The delayed discovery rule
Sometimes a person dies because of a reason that family members do not learn about until years later, such as the use of a defective product. A later discovery of a cause of death may allow the survivors to bring a wrongful death suit even though the normal statute of limitations has already passed.
Keep in mind that state law can also limit your time to file a suit after discovering how and why a relative had died. Learning your legal options as soon as possible may help you avoid losing valuable time.