Parker Waichman LLP

How Does the Statute of Limitations Impact a Wrongful Death Action

Many people who have lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another person do not realize that there are limitations on how much time a person has to bring a wrongful death case against the wrongdoer. It seems unfair that the law prevents justice if the victim’s family mourned […]

How does the statute of limitations impact a wrongful death action

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Many people who have lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another person do not realize that there are limitations on how much time a person has to bring a wrongful death case against the wrongdoer. It seems unfair that the law prevents justice if the victim’s family mourned just a little too long and did not realize that their rights were being lost, but this is often the case. All states have various deadlines in which the family or the decedent’s estate may file a legal action OR to resolve the matter through a negotiated settlement. It is critical to remember that if there has been no resolution and the two-year window rapidly is drawing to a close, a lawsuit will toll the running of the statute and must be filed to preserve the family’s rights.

Some of the most important limitations include the following:

  • General wrongful death action – For most cases, the litigation must be commenced within two years of the date of death. However, a medical malpractice case may have a time period that runs from the time of the injury, rather than the death, if the cause of the injury is known;
  • Extensions as the result of concealed negligence – In some states, wrongful death actions are subject to the discovery rule, where a person reasonably could have discovered that he had a cause of action. In cases where there were concealed problems with the medical treatment or prescription drugs, the cause of action does not accrue until a person could have discovered the causal relationship between the error or defect and the harm suffered;
  • Longer limitations due to fraud – When the wrongdoer actively concealed the negligence that ultimately caused the death of a loved one, there are longer periods of time in place to bring a wrongful death action;
  • Special circumstances – If there are extenuating circumstances that demonstrate that justice only will be done if the statute of limitations is extended, then the court may consider reasonable accommodations. Although this situation is rare, it may be applied if the accident that led to the death of the individual also resulted in the physical or mental incapacitation of the person who would otherwise have brought the legal action;
  • Minor children – As with many applications of the law, there are special rules for minor children in many states. In some states, if the minor child has the right to bring a cause of action for the wrongful death of a loved one, then that right does not expire until two years after the child reaches 18 years of age, which is when the child has the legal capacity to bring the action on his own behalf. This means that a child who loses a parent at the age of 13 has until 20 years of age to bring legal action. However, a parent or legal guardian can bring the action on behalf of the child before that time. The sooner the action can be brought, the better because evidence begins to deteriorate as soon as the injury that led to death occurred. In addition, witnesses’ recollections of what happened may fade and become unreliable. If a parent or guardian does bring the wrongful death action on behalf of the child, then the court will appoint an ad litem, who is charged with determining that the settlement or jury award is in the child’s best interest.

The loss of a loved one may devastate the lives of those left behind, but it is important for the family members to take steps to preserve their rights as soon as possible.

CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW

Did you lose a loved one in an accident? Parker Waichman LLP helps those who have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence receive full monetary compensation. Trust your case with our wrongful death lawsuit lawyers. For a free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

What Our Clients Say About Us
We have worked with thousands of clients and we appreciate them and their positive reviews. Here are just a few recent client reviews...
5 Star Reviews 150
Jody Ryerson
5 years ago
5 Star Reviews 150
Positive: Professionalism I was pleased with how they handled my case from beginning to end. They were also very good with providing information and returning calls.
Daisy Figueroa
2 years ago
5 Star Reviews 150
Thank you very much for your good work, they work very excellently and my case went well. I am very satisfied with Parker Waichman LLP, thank you and I recommend them. They are very kind. I thank Jorge and Maryann for being very kind and always attentive to my case.
La estrella marina
8 months ago

Why Choose Us to Help You?

We Take Care of Everything
Your situation is stressful enough: Let us take on the deadlines, paperwork, investigation, and litigation. We'll handle every detail so you don't have to worry.
No Recovery = No Legal Fees
We work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that we only get paid from a portion of your settlement or jury award. If you don't get compensation, you owe us nothing.
Decades of Experience
Your situation is stressful enough: Let us take on the deadlines, paperwork, investigation, and litigation. We'll handle every detail so you don't have to worry.
Respected by Our Peers
Judges, insurance adjusters, and fellow attorneys all speak highly of our skills, and we've earned numerous accolades, including a flawless rating from AVVO.
We Have Many Locations To Serve You
We have the experience and the skilled litigators to win your case. Contact us and speak with a real attorney who can help you.
Nationwide Service
Parker Waichman LLP
59 Maiden Lane, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10038
New York
Parker Waichman LLP
59 Maiden Lane, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Long Island – Suffolk
Parker Waichman LLP
201 Old Country Road – Suite 145
Melville, NY 11747
Brooklyn
Parker Waichman LLP
300 Cadman Plaza West
One Pierrepont Plaza, 12th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Long Island – Nassau
Parker Waichman LLP
6 Harbor Park Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050
Florida
Parker Waichman LLP
27299 Riverview Center Boulevard, Suite 108
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Queens
Parker Waichman LLP
118-35 Queens Boulevard, Suite 400
Forest Hills, NY 11375
New Jersey
Parker Waichman LLP
80 Main Street, Suite 265
West Orange, NJ 07052