Understanding Wrongful Death Statutes of Limitations By John Macfarlane on August 25, 2022

candlesThe death of a family member is always heartbreaking, but it can be especially devastating when a loss is caused by another person’s reckless or negligent actions. Cases like these are considered wrongful death. When a wrongful death occurs, surviving dependents have the right to take legal action.

wrongful death claim allows surviving family members to pursue financial compensation for damages related to the death. It is important to understand wrongful death statutes of limitations, because dependents have a limited amount of time to file a claim. Here, lawyers from Younker Hyde Macfarlane, in Salt Lake City, Utah, go over the state’s statutes of limitations for wrongful death cases.

What Are Statutes of Limitations?

Statutes of limitations are legal deadlines that limit the amount of time a person has to file a civil claim. The statute of limitations generally starts on the date of the alleged offense. From that time the law sets a maximum amount of time for legal action to be taken. Statutes of limitations vary based on the type of claim that is being filed. 

Who Sets Statutes of Limitations?

Statutes of limitations are set on the state level. This means that the amount of time a person has to file a claim is dependent not only on the type of claim being filed, but also on the state in which they live. Individuals who are considering any type of civil lawsuit should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible, so that they do not risk missing the statute of limitations and forfeiting their right to pursue compensation for damages.

Wrongful Death Statutes of Limitations in Utah

In Utah, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years. The two year deadline begins on the day of the death. For example, if someone is involved in a car accident, and then they die a few weeks later as a result of accident injuries, the two-year timeframe would begin on the date of their death, and not on the date of the car accident.

It is important to note that Utah’s wrongful death statute of limitations is shorter when a government entity is involved. If the plaintiff is suing a government entity for wrongful death damages, then they have just one year from the date of the death to file a claim.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations? 

Statutes of limitations are strictly enforced. However, plaintiffs may be able to file a claim beyond the two (or one) year statute of limitations if the discovery rule applies. The discovery rule may apply if the plaintiff used reasonable diligence to discover the cause of their loved one’s death, but the cause could not be established until after the statute of limitations deadline had passed. The wrongful death lawyers at Younker Hyde Macfarlane can examine the details of a claim to determine if the statute of limitation can be extended under the discovery rule.

Contact Younker Hyde Macfarlane

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to another person or party’s negligent actions, you may be due substantial financial compensation for related damages. To discuss your case with the Salt Lake City wrongful death lawyers at Younker Hyde Macfarlane, contact our law firm online, or call (801) 335-6467.

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Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC

Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC

At Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, our attorneys have decades of combined experience in complex cases. We represent clients in all types of personal injury cases, with a special focus on medical malpractice claims. Our firm is associated with the following professional organizations:

  • Utah Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Salt Lake County Bar Association
  • American Trial Lawyers Association

To schedule an appointment, please contact us online or call (801) 335-6467.

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