A wrongful death lawsuit is your right if someone causes the death of your loved one. You can recover damages for your loss and for costs associated with the death from the guilty party if you win your case.
It may be difficult to think about filing a lawsuit after you lose a loved one, but you have a limited time in which to file a wrongful death claim. If you fail to file your case within the time limit, the court will not hear your case and you lose all rights to make a claim.
General statute of limitations
The time limit on filing a case is the statute of limitations. According to Findlaw, wrongful death has a general statute of limitations in Georgia, which is two years. The clock begins counting down from the time the person dies.
For example, if your loved one is in a car accident and does not die until three days later, then the statute of limitations begins on day three, not the day of the accident.
Pauses in the statute of limitations
The time limit may pause if the situation also involves a criminal case. For example, in a car accident situation, prosecutors may bring criminal charges against the other party. If this happens, your time limit for filing pauses until the case concludes or six years, whichever is shorter.
It will also pause if your loved one’s estate is still in probate. You have up to five years to finalize the estate and file your wrongful death case. You can file while the estate is in probate if you get close to the five-year mark.