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After a fatal accident, how long should you wait to file a claim?

After a fatal accident, there are many factors that can overwhelm the family left behind, including medical bills. If the fatal accident was caused by the actions of another driver, such as reckless or drunk driving, the family may consider a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for financial and emotional damages. While filing a civil claim is often a legitimate legal option, there are time limits dictated by Louisiana law that could affect the possibility of compensation.

The statute of limitations is the amount of time that an individual or family has to file a civil claim. The actual length of time will differ on the details of the case, such as if the injured or deceased victim is a minor. Speaking with a personal injury attorney familiar with Louisiana laws will determine the amount of time available to a family, as well as identify the next steps that should be taken.

The amount of time that a family has to file a wrongful death claim typically begins at the point the family becomes aware of the cause of death. While the deceased party may not pass at the moment of the accident, the discovery rule may still allow for legal action even after the expiration of the typical statute of limitations. In certain circumstances, the court may grant additional time to file a lawsuit if the case meets specific criteria.

The thought of navigating the legal process can be daunting, especially for a family overwhelmed by grief after a fatal accident. It is important to carefully evaluate the situation in order to determine if legal action is appropriate or necessary. Even if the initial incident was years in the past, there may still be legal options available to a family.

Source: Findlaw, “Wrongful Death Claims: Time Limits and the “Discovery” Rule“, Accessed on Feb. 9, 2015