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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

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You can't waste time when filing a wrongful death lawsuit

The loss of a loved one in a tragic accident, such as a car crash, workplace accident or boat accident, is likely to turn your life upside down. When the tragic accident was the result of negligent behavior or intentional actions, it might be possible to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. If you are planning on filing a wrongful death lawsuit for your loved one's death, you should be prepared to take action quickly.

Wrongful death cases in Wisconsin are subject to certain time limits. These times limits are known as statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations that applies to each case depends on the circumstances of the case. For example, wrongful death actions stemming from a motor vehicle accident have a statute of limitations of two years, but some other wrongful death claims might have a three-year statute of limitations.

It is also important to understand when the clock starts for the statute of limitations. In some cases, it starts at the time of the fatal accident.There are some cases that meet the requirements for the discovery rule, which means that the clock doesn't start until the death is discovered. While it might seem like the discovery rule might give you more time, it is crucial to learn for sure if your case meets the requirements for the longer statute of limitations.

A wrongful death lawsuit is barred if the personal representative of the decedent's estate doesn't file the lawsuit within the statute of limitations. That means that if you wait too long to file, you might not be able to file at all. Your attorney can advise you regarding the statute of limitations for your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Claims: Time Limits and the "Discovery" Rule," accessed June 10, 2016

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