The families of people who die due to another party's negligence may face time limits regarding legal action set by Georgia law. If a case is not filed within the set period, the family may be unable to file a lawsuit.
Generally, the statute of limitations will begin to run when the person dies. If the family could not reasonably have known the cause of death at the time of their loved one's passing, the limit will begin running from the date of discovery. In some cases, if the decedent knew or should have known the cause of his or her death prior to passing away, the statute of limitations might be held as running prior to their death.
When a person's death is due to a personal injury, the case may be barred in the event a personal injury action could have been filed but was not within the timeframes specified for the personal injury case. In the event a statute of limitations has run out in a wrongful death case, it is still possible to file in some cases. Filing outside of the limitation period may be allowed if the statute of limitations was tolled, if the court waives it or if the defendant agrees to waive it.
When a loved one has passed away due to the actions of another, the family may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit as soon as they learn of the cause of their loved one's death. An attorney could help a plaintiff understand the time limit and build a case that seeks compensation in court.