Is there a statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a possibility when negligence played a part in the death of a loved one. The claim of wrongful death can result in monetary compensation for medical expenses, funeral or burial costs, mental anguish, or other damages. The wrongful death lawsuit will never be enough to bring your loved one back, but it can help to ease some of the fallout that has affected you and your family.  

When your loved one dies, and it’s the fault of another individual, you may not want to think about what steps you could or should take. It’s not fair and it’s not right that you’ve lost your loved one. But you can start on your path to working through the grief and investigating if a wrongful death lawsuit might be applicable in your situation.  

While you don’t want to think about it, you can recover something from your inexplicable loss and pain. It just requires that you act. The first step is to get some of your questions answered, including what a wrongful death claim is, and if there is a statute of limitations. Information and education are power, and details about a wrongful death claim and the statute of limitations might just get you some semblance of the justice you and your loved one deserves.  

What is a wrongful death claim? What types of accidents or claims does it cover?  

A wrongful death claim is associated with the death of a loved one, involving the negligence of a person or entity. A wrongful death lawsuit could involve any number of reasons and at-fault parties, depending on the situation. Here are a few of the most frequent accidents or at-fault reasons involved in wrongful death lawsuits.  

  • Car accidents: 32,000+ fatalities involve crashes every year. That’s an average of 90 people every day.  
  • Workplace accidents: On average, ~4,000-6,000 people die due to workplace accidents each year. 
  • Medical malpractice: Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US, with 250,000 deaths every year. 
  • Defective product: Death or injury could occur from any number of products, including food, pharmaceuticals, and motor vehicles. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports all products that are recalled because they risk injury to consumers. 
  • Liability accidents: Slip-and-fall accidents are the second leading cause for liability-related deaths and the number one cause for those individuals 85+. 
  • Pedestrian accidents: More than 6,000 pedestrians are killed every year.  
  • Elder abuse: Abuse results in a higher risk of as much as 300% for Seniors.  

Wrongful death involves a tragic accident, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about the process and whether your case is still eligible to move forward. Part of that process involves determining whether the wrongful death claim falls within the statute of limitations.  

What is the Statute of Limitations for wrongful death?  

A statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit places a deadline on the initiation of certain legal actions. The timeline can vary depending on the type of wrongful death, but in many cases, the statute of limitations is for one-to-two years from the date of the incident or cause of death. Not all wrongful death claims are on the same timeline, though. There are a number of exceptions, which could give you more time to investigate and file a wrongful death lawsuit.   

One exception can involve a homicide, where the statute of limitations only starts when the person identified as the responsible party is apprehended or identified. Another exception is medical malpractice, where the statute of limitations starts when the medical error is discovered. One more possible exception involves government culpability. In that case, the statute of limitations extends for four years. These exemptions also may involve more extensive criminal investigations and the search for justice.  

What’s the Next Step: Work with an Advocate for Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit 

When a wrongful death takes place, it’s a tragic time. You may not want to think about anything but your sorrow and loss. It’s important to begin to consider how you can protect and alleviate the pain and suffering from the loss via a wrongful death lawsuit. It’s not something that you can easily do alone, which is why you’ll need to reach out to an advocate to gather evidence and proceed through the process to get you the settlement that you and your family deserve.  

Wrongful death involves an event that should not have happened. Another individual is at fault, which is why it’s so important that you act to protect yourself and your family, and find an individual or legal team who can work with you to help you understand your rights, walk you through the legal quandaries, and be there for you every step of the way in your wrongful death lawsuit. It’s only fair. It’s only right.  


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