How Do Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work In Delaware?
Losing a loved one can be very difficult from an emotional perspective, but there can be hefty financial tolls involved as well. Medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, and other costs can rapidly add up, resulting in a crippling amount of debt. Thankfully, there are some tools that can help you reduce or entirely eliminate that debt, including wrongful death lawsuits. To help you get a better idea of how a wrongful death lawsuit can help you out, here are some specific laws that you will need to bear in mind when it comes to filing in the state of Delaware:
Who can and cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit?
One of the most crucial steps is figuring out who can and cannot file. Some states heavily restrict this right to the point that only one individual may file (the personal representative), whereas other states will allow large portions of the decedent's family to file.
Delaware falls into the latter category, allowing anyone to file as long as they were in the decedent's immediate family. This means that spouses, children, siblings, and parents are all able to file. If you are not among those parties, then you won't be able to file a lawsuit on your own. However, you can contact one of the parties who can file and help them set up the lawsuit, which can potentially result in you financially benefitting from the ultimate result of a successful lawsuit.
How much time do you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is very important, since it dictates when you can and cannot file. If you are past the limit, then your lawsuit is essentially dead. In most cases, wrongful deaths fall into the larger category of personal injuries, which means that you will need to look at the personal injury statute of limitations to figure out how much time you have.
Delaware specifically gives you 2 years to file your lawsuit from the date of the death. However, this can be extended in very specific circumstances, such as when you were fraudulently misled about the circumstances of your loved one's death. For example, if their death was not an accident, yet you were led to believe that it was an accident, then you may be able to get the statute of limitations extended to start from the date that you discovered the truth.
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