Gainesville Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

As Seen On:
Access Wdun logo
CNN logo
11 Alive
NBC News logo
WSB TV Atlanta logo
The Atlanta Journal Constitution logo

The death of a loved one can leave survivors feeling stunned and unsure of how to proceed. However, when a death leaves you financially vulnerable, you may need to make decisions about what comes next. With the help of an understanding wrongful death attorney from Smith Hulsey Law, those decisions may or may not involve bringing a wrongful death claim to make up for financial losses.

In addition to your financial pressures, the state may pressure you to act before you are emotionally ready. Every type of lawsuit has a statute of limitations, which is when you can bring that suit. The general Gainesville wrongful death statute of limitations is two years. However, some circumstances can extend the statute, and others can even shorten it. Our compassionate attorneys could ensure that your claim is brought in a timely manner.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

Theoretically, the statute of limitations (SOL) is supposed to help ensure justice. The further in time from the incident, the more difficult it is to get evidence and witnesses, especially for defendants. To give both parties access to the resources they need to handle a dispute, states institute a SOL. The generic SOL for personal injury cases, including wrongful death cases, is two years in Georgia.

Tolling the SOL means delaying the date when the statute begins to run. For wrongful death cases, the SOL usually begins to run on the date of death. That makes wrongful death cases different from other personal injury cases, which begin to run on the date of an accident. When the date of the accident and the date of death are the same, this makes no difference. However, when a person dies weeks or months after the incident, it can have a massive impact on whether someone can bring a case. A Gainesville attorney could help survivors understand the statute of limitations on potential wrongful death claims.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Generally, the wrongful death SOL is two years. The clock begins on the date of the person’s death and expires two years from that date. Therefore, many survivors assume that they have two years to bring their claim.

Shorter Timelines

Sometimes, survivors have a shorter time to bring their claims. When a government worker is responsible for a wrongful death, survivors may or may not be able to bring a personal claim against them. Even if they can, there may be a greater chance of a significant recovery by suing the government agency involved. However, these agencies usually have shorter limitation periods and may also have special steps for wrongful death claims. Survivors could have as short as six months to bring those cases, so it is critical to consult with a police officer as soon as possible.

Timeline Outside of Two Years

When survivors are outside of the two years for the statute of limitations, they may assume that they cannot bring a wrongful death claim in Gainesville. However, some factors can extend the SOL. When the wrongful death is a criminal act, which can include traffic violations, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the final disposition of the criminal case. However, this provision only extends the SOL up to six years, so if there is no final disposition within six years, the survivors need to bring a claim to preserve their rights.

Call a Gainesville Attorney To Understand Your Rights as It Applies to the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Before planning a wrongful death claim, it is essential to determine whether or not the claim is time-barred. While the SOL is an affirmative defense, which the other party must assert, a defendant will first check to see if the case is time-barred. However, it is clear that while a two-year SOL is the standard, individual circumstances can make the period shorter or longer.

To learn more about Gainesville’s wrongful death statute of limitations, schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney from Smith Hulsey Law. In addition to assessing whether the claim is still alive, our lawyers could explain the wrongful death process and whether the estate may also have a survival claim.

Smith Hulsey Law

Smith Hulsey Law