Are we able to sue his estate for damages and what is the statute of limitation? 49 Answers as of June 29, 2013

My son was murdered in a murder/suicide and I would like to know if we can sue the murderers estate for pain, suffering, ect. And also what the statute of limitations is on this kind of case. Thank you

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Brian Wendler | Brian Wendler
Yes, you can sue the estate of the murderer. The statute of limitations is generally two years for this type of case in Illinois. Exceptions might apply to the statute of limitations depending upon the facts. If the murder occurred in another state the statute of limitations might be different. In this type of case usually the most difficult obstacle to overcome is the fact that the person who commited the crime has little or no assets in the estate. There might be insurance to cover the situation too but more facts are needed. You should consult a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 7/5/2012
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
Probably a two year statute of limitations. But. There's a chance that it may only be one year because it was intentional. Get a lawyer ASAP!
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/28/2012
Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
You may sue the murderer, and I extend my sympathy to you and your family. The situation may not recover any money however when the culprit is in prison for his deed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/28/2012
Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
You could sue the estate of the murderer for the death of your son. A case involving a death may have 2 separate claims. First, there is a claim on behalf of the estate. This would include any claim your son would have relating to the incident causing his death such as medical expenses or conscious pain and suffering. This claim would be brought by the Personal Representative of your son's estate. Second, there is a claim for your son's wrongful death, which is a claim that is outside of the estate and is for the benefit of "the widow or widower and next of kin." Next of kin may include children, parents and other relatives. The damages for the wrongful death claim is the "pecuniary loss" suffered by the widow and next of kin or, in the case of minor children, for the parent's loss of society, comfort, and companionship as a result of the death. Generally, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is 2 years from the date of the person's death. However, there are some things that could shorten the statute of limitations period. You should consider speaking with an attorney to discuss the case and get more information as to the statute of limitations. DISCLAIMER: This response should be considered general in nature, for information purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing legal questions and issues. It is based on the limited information provided and, in some instances, makes certain assumptions. It is intended only for cases involving Nebraska and Nebraska law and is not applicable to any other state or jurisdiction. The author does not warrant the accuracy or validity of the information contained within this response, and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions. In addition, this response is not a substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor should it be considered a solicitation for additional legal advice or legal representation. If you ignore this warning and convey confidential information in a private message or comment, there is no duty to keep that information confidential or forego representation adverse to your interests. You should seek the advice of a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction to fully discuss your case. You should be aware that there are Statute of Limitations (the deadline imposed by law within which you may bring a lawsuit) as well as other requirements and/or limitations that limit the time you have to file any potential claims you may have. This response may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under any and all applicable laws and ethical rules. The listing of any area of practice that the author practices in does not indicate any certification or expertise therein, nor does it represent that the quality of legal services to be performed would be greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. It is merely an indication by the author of areas of law in which he practices. The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. Readers are urged to make their own independent investigation and evaluation of any lawyer being considered.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 6/28/2012
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
You are able to sue a murderer for killing your son, even if the murderer then killed himself. In order to do so you will have to have a Personal Representative appointed by the court and then the PR will sue the Personal Representative of the estate of the murderer for wrongful death. If the murderer does not have a PR appointed to handle his estate, then you will have to have the court do so. This is a complicated process so I would expect that you will need the help of a qualified wrongful death attorney. Additionally, prior to suing you should consider whether the defendant's estate has any assets. If there is no money in the estate, there is no sense in suing. Finally, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit in Oregon is 3 years. However, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible because if there is an estate with assets you don't want those assets to be distributed to the defendant's heirs prior to making your claim.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/28/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Two years from the date of death is the SOL. Yes you can sue the estate. Is there anything in it?
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Michael J. Sgarlat Attorney at Law | Michael Joseph Sgarlat
    You can sue the person who intentionally or negligently caused your son's death. In Virginia, wrongful death cases can be brought within two (2) years of the incident unless there is a statute to the contrary.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    Yes you can sue. Wrongful death of your son seems more appropriate and allows for a lot of other damage claims.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Yes, although it is complicated. GA has a split cause of action for wrongful death meaning that part of the claim (pain and suffering, medical expenses, etc.) and the remaining claim (full economic value of the life) can either be brought simultaneously or separately. If the murderer has no estate the plaintiff can force one to be created. The statute is basically 2 years from the date of your son's death but the creation of the estate affects that, too. You need to act quickly as these cases tend to need investigation fast before the evidence gets stale and/or witnesses get out of pocket. There may be insurance coverage that insures the murderer, too (homeowners' policy) that needs to be explored. Cases such as this need an attorney who is an expert at wrongful death. A regular lawyer won't know what to do even though he/she will not be willing to admit it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    Yes. 2 years.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 6/29/2013
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert | David W. Hibbert
    Yes , one can file an action against the estate in a homicide. The statute of limitations will vary depending upon the state with jurisdiciton. There may be differing statute of limitation if the state where the event occurred , the state where the perpetrator lived , or the state where your son lived are different. It will take some analysis of the details to correctly determine the statute of limitations. However, in Georgia the general limitation is two years , and that can be extended if no estate/administration has been has been set up for the perpetrator's assets.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Atterbury, Kammer & Haag | Eric J. Haag
    The lawyers for the estate are supposed to notify all potential creditors so that you have a chance to submit a claim before the assets are distributed. Even if that doesn't happen, in Wisconsin a tort victim is not foreclosed for suing the estate even after assets have been distributed, but it makes collection more difficult. The normal personal injury 3 year statute of limitations would govern the claim ultimately.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Steven Harrell, Attorney at Law | Waymon Steven Harrell
    The statue of limitation is two years from the date of the crime. Most liability insurance policies will not cover intentional acts such as this. This may only be a paper judgment for you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Goodman & Goodman PA | Bruce Elliott Goodman
    You can sue the murderer's estate for your wrongful death claim, and your son's estate can sue the murder's estate for his pain and suffering in a survivor's action. The statute of limitation would be 3 years from the date of the murder.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    I don't know why you couldn't. Murder is an intentional act and so it would not be covered by insurance. The only way you could get anything would be to go after the estate of the perpetrator. You would have to open up an estate if one was not already opened by the heirs of the perpetrator. There probably would be a two (2) year Statute of Limitations due to the intentional act. If there was negligence involved, there could be a 3 year, but I would not push it. If in doubt, go with the shorter time period, just to be safe.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
    Yes , a lawsuit is possible. The statute of limitations is two years.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Hynum Law Office, LLC
    Hynum Law Office, LLC | G. Wayne Hynum
    The murderer's estate can be sued for wrongful death. The best way to do that would be to open an estate for your son and have your son's estate sue the murderer's estate on behalf of the wrongful death beneficiaries. If your son was not killed instantly, his pain and suffering prior to the death would be one of the elements of damages recoverable in the lawsuit. The statutes are unclear as to whether the general 3 year statute of limitations would apply to a murder, or the 1 year statute for intentional torts. To be safe I suggest you get the lawsuit filed within a year of the murder.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Evan Guthrie Law Firm
    Evan Guthrie Law Firm | Evan Guthrie
    Yes. Do not delay on this though.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Goodgame Law, LLC
    Goodgame Law, LLC | Jeffrey L Goodgame
    Your son's estate has a potential wrongful death claim. You should consult an attorney. The statute of limitations is two years.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    First, sorry for your loss. Secondly, you can sue for wrongful death. The statute of limitations would be two years. Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 provides: 335.1. Within two years: An action for assault, battery, or injuryto, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act orneglect of another.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    Statute of limitation for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of the incident. The estate of a deceased person is a legal entity and a claim of action may be brought against an estate.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/27/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes you can. The statute of limitations is three years.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    The Carlile Law Firm, LLP
    The Carlile Law Firm, LLP | D. Scott Carlile
    Yes you can sue the estate. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of death.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Lehner & Rodrigues | Michael A Lehner
    This would be considered an action for wrongful death and the statute of limitations is generally 3 years. The person who committed the murder is not likely to have any insurance to cover the claim and you should consider whether someone else was at fault for the death by failing to supervise the murderer or failing to warn about the threat.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    In Rhode Island you may sue the estate of the murderer for wrongful death and other claims. Because it was an intentional act no insurance company will admit to coverage. The murder's estate must have assets in order for any lawyer to take the case. Unless someone were to do it for the public good.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Jules D'Alessandro | Jules D'Alessandro
    The short answer is yes. However, if the murderer did in fact have an estate that was properly opened and advertised then a claim has to be presented within six (6) months from the first publication date. The statute of limitations on a wrongful death case is three (3) years from the date of death. Therefore, as long as the above limitations re complied with then the case can go forward. CAUTION, this is not the type of matter that can be pursued without and experienced personal injury attorney. You need to get help with this one.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    In Montana, it is three years, however, actually recovering money from convicted murderer is very very difficult.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | Brett E. Rosenthal
    You can sue the estate of the perpetrator, but given the intentional nature of the act there will not be insurance available. Therefore, if the perpetrator has no money then you are spending money in the filing of suit with no possibility of recovery. There are many services out there that can perform asset searches to determine the economic viability of the estate, which will tell you whether it would be worthwhile pursuing such a suit. The statute of limitations is two (2) years on personal injury/wrongful death actions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray | Ronald D. Reemsnyder
    You may sue and the statute for wrongful death is two years from the incident.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    A wrongful death action must be brought within 2 yrs. It might be a proper case but if it were proved that your son was w willing participant (with girlfriend) that might be a show stopper. You should know whether there is a substantial estate before you sue. It takes a bunch of lawyering to get a judgment.. so if you don't have a substantial estate to shoot for you might be wasting time and money. You may get a judgment you can't collect.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    The statute of limitation for personal injury is 2 years in Texas. You will need to sue the murder's estate for damages. Does the murder's estate have any assets that can satisfy a judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Pearson, Butler, & Carson, PLLC
    Pearson, Butler, & Carson, PLLC | Matthew R. Kober
    Normal car accidents are governed by a 4 year statute of limitations. A wrongful death claim, which sounds like what you are talking about, is governed by a two year statute of limitations. If the death was "wrongful" (negligent, intentional, reckless, etc.) then you should be able to collect against the estate. You should consult an experienced personal injury litigation attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    Survival of actions is governed by RCW 4.20 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.20). In particular, see RCW 4.20.020. The statute of limitations for civil actions can be found at RCW 4.16. Since part of an action for murder would include the civil cause of action of "assault and battery", the applicable period of limitation would be two years. RCW 4.16.100 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=4.16.100).
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Yes, your son's estate, as well as potentially those aggrieved by his murder, have legal rights against the perpetrator/his estate. For there on it gets a bit less clear. I would have to know more details before giving any definitive answer. You should call and engage an attorney NOW. There a statutes of limitation but, also rules and cut offs regarding filing claims in the probate court. DO SOMETHING TODAY!!!!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/22/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Yes you can . If it was a Murder, then the insurance policy for homeowners will probably be excluding coverage. Usually the statute of limitations will be 2 years. It is 3 for some types of torts as well.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    You certainly can, and the statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years. However, you want to make sure you file the claim against the estate before it gets closed.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP
    Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP | Britany M. Engelman
    Potentially. This would be a wrongful death case in the civil arena. The statute of limitations is 2 years.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    The Martin Law Group
    The Martin Law Group | Yolvondra Martin-Brown
    Yes, you would have a cause of action against the estate of the perpetrator. The statute of limitations is usually two years from the date of the occurrence.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Koning & Jilek, P.C.
    Koning & Jilek, P.C. | Jonathan Neal Jilek
    This is a wrongful death suit. The statute of limitations in a wrongful death (non-medical malpractice case) is three years from the date of death. The murderers can be sued, but in general there is no insurance coverage for intentional acts.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Law Offices of Tanya Gendelman, P.C.
    Law Offices of Tanya Gendelman, P.C. | Tanya Gendelman, Esq.
    So sorry to hear about your loss, yes you could sue the estate for wrongful death, in NY it is a two year statute of limitations.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/26/2012
    Brankey & Smith, P.C. | Rodney L. Smith
    Yes......2 years.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/26/2012
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