California Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

front of a courthouse

california courthouse where attorney files wrongful death suit

Statute of Limitations laws limit the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit. Statute of limitations laws help to guarantee that the legal process can move forward in a timely manner, that evidence will still be fresh and that witnesses are still available to testify. In the event of a wrongful death, a lawsuit would be brought forward by the victims executor; typically a parent, spouse or child. In California, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death.

Exceptions: The Discovery Rule in a Wrongful Death Claim

In certain circumstances, there are exceptions to the law, known as the discovery rule. The discovery rule states that the statute of limitations begins at the time  an injury was discovered, or became known. For instance, if a wrongful death occurred due to an injury or illness that was brought on by a defective product a year earlier, the statute of limitations would have begun at the time the injury or illness was first diagnosed. This could potentially mean that the time frame an executor has to file a wrongful death suit could run out before death even occurs.

There are other statute of limitations exceptions that may apply statewide as well. For example, in California, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death that occurred due to asbestos exposure is reduced down to one year after the death occurred, or one year from the date the victim knew of asbestos exposure, whichever is later.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations

In addition to the discovery rule, it is possible for the statute of limitations to be suspended, or tolled for a certain period of time. Certain scenarios may cause a wrongful death claim to be tolled, for instance in dealing with a minor, imprisonment or mental health issues.

You May Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer

It is very important to understand the statute of limitations laws where you live. When it comes to receiving the compensation you deserve, time is of the essence. Since wrongful death laws can be very complex, you must contact a trusted attorney to help you understand your rights. If you think that you may have a wrongful death claim, or are interested in learning more, contact wrongful death attorney Frank D Penney today.

Recent Blog Posts

  • classroom where a school accident might happen

    Can You Sue if Your Child Suffers Personal Injury at School?

    Laws about whether or not you can file a lawsuit against a school vary from state to state. In California you certainly can, but first you must file a Notice of Claim within six months of the date of injury. School districts are government entities and as such are protected by what is known as […]

    Read More
  • uber app

    New California Drunk Driving Law Restricts Uber & Lyft Drivers

    Commencing July 1, 2018, a California DUI law will go into effect making it illegal for drivers with a blood alcohol content level of .04 percent or higher to operate a vehicle that carries a passenger for hire. “Passenger for hire” is a legal definition meaning “a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a […]

    Read More
  • police force in riot gear

    Wrongful Death by Police: Should You Take a Settlement?

    For at least the last few years, anyone tuned into national news is aware of what seems a wave of police brutality and cases of wrongful death by police shooting working through the newspapers and courts. The Los Angeles Police Department reported that 2017 was a record year for settlement payments, at nearly $81 million (not […]

    Read More
  • Sacramento Office
  • 333 University Avenue, Suite 200
  • Sacramento, CA
  • (916) 756-0772
  • Roseville Office
  • 1544 Eureka Road, Suite 120
  • Roseville, CA
  • (916) 788-1960
  • Oakland Office
  • 1300 Clay St, Suite 600
  • Oakland, CA
  • (510) 962-4610

© 2018 Penney Law, Serving the Areas of Sacramento, Roseville, Fairfield, Modesto, Stockton & Oakland California