If an individual or organization causes the death of someone you love, it is only natural to want answers and justice. However, grieving takes time and while you are adapting to the void left in your life, legal proceedings may be the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately, if the statute of limitations expires before you take action, you may lose your chance to make a wrongful death claim.

For one woman whose mother died after allegedly being injured by smoking, the situation has proved even more complicated. Her mother, while she was still alive, had filed against a number of tobacco companies, claiming personal injury. However, four months later, she was dead. The daughter did not initially file a wrongful death claim, nor did she amend her mother’s original complaint.

In light of this, when the tobacco companies filed to have the claim dismissed, a Palm Beach judge approved. The tobacco companies also claimed the expiration of the statute of limitations before the daughter had attempted to amend the claim. They further cited previous instances where attempts had been made to amend complaints, but had been unsuccessful.

However, the Court of Appeal responded that the examples cited did not apply. The court also agreed with the daughter that her claim related back to her mother’s original filing. Despite the tobacco companies’ resistance, she was permitted to amend her mother’s complaint, adding a wrongful death claim.

Proceedings such as this can be drawn out and complicated. However, if you are one of the countless people in New York mourning the loss of a loved one as a result of someone else’s actions, you do not have to face this battle alone. An attorney can support you at this difficult time by helping you figure out if you have a legitimate claim. Although it may seem like a lot to think about when you are grieving, if nothing else it may help you to cover some of the financial costs of your loss.

Source: Daily Business Review, “Court Revives Tobacco Suit After Woman’s Mother Dies,” Adolfo Pesquera, Aug. 13, 2014