The Discovery Rule in a Wrongful Death Claim Deadline
When a family member dies, loved ones are generally consumed by grief, anger and a sense of helplessness. With time, other aspects of their loss affect the family in ways that were unexpected. Throughout the entire process, one overriding fact emerges - they want justice for a loved one taken all too early by a negligent party.
In a civil case, this can be accomplished by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. To do that, the family must comply with certain rules such as the deadline for filing a wrongful death claim in South Carolina. In addition, the period of time to file is influenced by the discovery rule. Let’s look at what this means.
What Is the Statute of Limitation for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The statute of limitation for a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina is three years from the time the person dies. If the claim is not filed within this time period, the case will not be heard in civil court. Also, by limiting the time to file, the evidence is not lost or tarnished. This is a problem when too long a period elapses between the time the accident occurred and the case is taken to court.
When Does the Clock Start Ticking for a Statute of Limitation?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the clock usually starts ticking when the person dies. However, in some cases, the wrongful nature of death is not obvious. For example, if a person dies after suffering injuries in a head-on collision, it is obvious that the crash was the reason for their demise.
But, what if the person died due to a surgeon’s mistake. This changes things and evidence needed to prove negligence is absent on the surface. If a mistake by the surgeon is suspected, your wrongful death lawyer can explore the medical care received by the deceased to determine if liability is present. If the surgeon did not professionally act in a way that meets the standards within his/her community, you have entered into the deadline period.
Wrongful Death and Discovery - Do They Contradict Each Other?
In some cases, they can be at odds. If an individual was badly injured, one from which he ultimately passed away, a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party could be filed before the person died. The problem is the knowledge of negligence started the clock ticking, and the statute of limitation might run out before the individual’s demise. That is why it is important to talk to your South Carolina personal injury attorney to gain valuable legal insight.
Morris Law Firm in South Carolina
If you have a legal problem you would like to discuss, call Morris Law in Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet at (843) 232-0944 or online to schedule a free case evaluation. We will be able to answer your questions and help you file a claim against the at-fault party. Remember, if you retain our firm, there is no fee until you win.