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What is the statue of limitation for someone that caused someones death 7 years ago? Can that person still be charged?

King, NC |

I just would like to know if I can start legal actions against someone that was the cause of someones death 7 years ago. No charges were filled at the time of death because we thought it was a accident. We recently found out that it was not an accident at all, it was planned to hurt the person. The only thing that person didn't plan was, that it did kill him. Advice would be greatly appreciated, please help.

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Attorney answers 3


First of all, the conduct you describe sounds criminal in nature and should be reported to law enforcement if it hasn't already. As far as a civil wrongful death claim, this may be possible, however, you should consult with an attorney immediately as there may be a statute of limitations (deadline for filing a lawsuit). Seven years is a long time and may be argued to be beyond this time deadline but, it sounds like you have an argument that the wrongdoing could not be discovered until just recently, which may be a way to get around the statute. Consult with a NC wrongful death attorney ASAP.

Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.


Concern over a death that arose out of the operation of a motor vehicle is a far more serious matter than can be addressed fully over an internet question and answer format. I urge you to waste no time and to immediately report this to law enforcement. Statutes of limitation are far longer in criminal matters than in civil matters and in fact for murder there is no statute in any jurisdiction of which I am aware.

As to a civil matter, which is totally different and would be handled by an attorney in private practice in your jurisdiction, my understanding is that the NC statute is only three years. However, two aspects of your post:

(1) Your first mistake was assuming that this was "just an accident." There is no such thing as "just an accident." See link 1 below:

(2) Statutes of limitation do in fact terminate claims, check link 2 below while you are going to your appointment with a civil attorney:

Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.


Different states have different limitations statutes, and different exceptions to them also. Consult with a lawyer in the state where the tort occurred.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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