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How can you extend the wrongful death statute of limitations?

You may or may not be aware that Montana state law lists the time that you are allowed to commence a claim of wrongful death at three years. However, if, for some reason, you or the personal representative of your deceased loved one’s estate are not able to file a lawsuit within that time, does that mean all of your chances at legal recourse are gone? Not necessarily. The law does allow you to extend that time period in certain situations.

Then first is stated in the same state statute where it lists the three-year time limit for standard cases. It goes on to say that in cases where your loved one’s death was ruled a homicide, the time allotted to you to file a wrongful death lawsuit is extended to 10 years.

The next potential exception to the three-year statute of limitations for wrongful death is the Discovery Rule. If it is discovered that your family member or friend’s death may have been due to wrongful action after the statute of limitations has expired, you may granted a short window of time in which you can commence action.

If the target of your intended complaint is out of state, the time he or she remains away does not count towards the time allowed for you to act. It only begins again when he or she returns to the state.

Finally, depending upon your age or mental status, you can ask that the statute be “tolled.” What this means is that if you were a minor when time to initiate action commenced, the actual time counted towards your filing limit does not commence until you are legally of age. If you are committed due to a mental disorder, that time also does not count toward exceeding the statute.  

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