Is Wrongful Death a Tort?
There are a few cases that rock your core more than a wrongful death case. In a situation like that, the first thing people want is justice for their loved one, and for themselves. They look to the legal system to get that justice, but they aren’t sure if they can take the kind of action that they want to get the results that they want. When you get a call from a survivor whose loved one has been killed, emotions are high and very often they want to know if this is a tort. The gist of what they’re really asking is, “Can I take legal action against the person that I feel is responsible?” And for other types of cases, this is a lot more clear-cut because they deal with common law rather than statute. Sometimes the answer is yes, this is a tort, but it's important to remember that wrongful death cases are creatures of statute. It's not a matter of common law.
There are specific procedures and laws that we need to make sure we're adhering to in order to preserve your rights. One right in particular that can be jeopardized is the right to file a claim, and the threat comes from time— wrongful death cases have only a two-year statute of limitations. This may seem like a long time, and it’s easy to put off speaking to an attorney because you just aren’t ready for it, emotionally. But when you have lost someone, sometimes it takes some time to get over that before you're even ready and capable and willing to move forward with the case. What we hope survivors will do is take the time to heal while also keeping that statute of limitations in the back of their minds. There’s no need to stop grieving or pressure yourself to “get over it” so you can take legal action— we have years of experience working with wrongful death survivors, and we know how to be compassionate to your grieving process. Our goal is to take the burdens off you as much as possible. This includes the burden of planning your case, of gathering documentation, and of worrying over whether or not you can file a claim. With those pressures off your mind, you’ll be free to look after your own mental health with your full attention.
Time is always of the essence. While you might not be emotionally ready to deal with the legalities of the situation yet, it’s important to decide within that two years if you’d like to bring a suit or not. Recovering from your loss and being ready to file a suit aren’t necessarily mutually inclusive. You can absolutely do one before the other. That's why we encourage clients to call us as soon as possible. Let’s start working together. Let us work in the background while you’re working on healing and getting through the process emotionally. Later, we'll sync the two, and we'll complete the journey. If you’re thinking of filing a wrongful death suit, contact us. Even if you don’t feel ready yet, we can relieve the pressure of wondering and let you get back to what’s most important: taking care of yourself.