Losing someone you love is a painful and difficult experience. You may feel hopelessness, a deep and abiding sense of loss or painful loneliness. Grief can take different forms.
For some, grieving will involve leaning into their anger about their loss. For others, depression and social withdrawal will be their dominant experience. Certain factors can complicate or worsen grief. An unexpected loss can be harder for someone to process emotionally than a death caused by a long-term illness. The loss of someone with whom you are particularly close, like a spouse or a parent, will also be harder than the loss of a more distant family member or social acquaintance.
If someone in your family dies tragically, such as in a car accident, it’s important that you don’t allow your pain and grief to prevent you from seeking justice and compensation after your loss.
There is a limited time frame to file a civil lawsuit
Statutes of limitation protect people from prosecution or civil consequences for actions or mistakes made decades ago. Those who hope to file a wrongful death claim against a business or an individual that they believe caused the death of a family member will need to pursue that civil lawsuit in a timely manner.
The sooner someone initiates their claim, the better. Waiting until you have finished grieving might mean waiting too long. In South Carolina, you have just three years from the date of a loved one’s death to initiate a claim against the responsible party. In Virginia, the statute of limitations only gives you two years from the date of someone’s death to seek compensation.
With the exception of rare and unusual circumstances, those hoping to hold someone accountable for the loss of their loved one will need to act before too much time has passed.
How does a wrongful death claim help?
Nothing can undo the pain your family experiences from a tragic loss, but you can at least minimize the practical consequences you suffer.
A successful wrongful death claim can help your family cover losses like the wages that your loved one cannot earn. A successful claim can also formally identify an individual or business as the party responsible for your family’s loss, which can help you feel like justice was served.
Understanding the rules that apply to a wrongful death claim can help you support the best interests of your family after a tragedy.