Wrongful Death Statutes of Limitations
A wrongful death suit can provide surviving family members with financial compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of income, loss of benefits, and loss of consortium (emotional damages associated with the loss of a loved one).
Understandably, filing a lawsuit is not usually on the top of a person’s mind as they are grieving a death, but unfortunately, there are limits to when a lawsuit can be filed.
Here, our attorneys discuss wrongful death statutes of limitations with our Scranton, PA clients.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations sets a time limit on when certain types of lawsuits must be filed. Statutes of limitations vary based on the type of case that is filed and the state in which the case is filed. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years.
It is important to note that the window of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit begins at the date of the person’s death, rather than at the time of the accident that caused the death.
For example, if a person is in a car accident and survives for six months before dying as a result of the injuries, the two-year window starts on the date of the death, not the date of the accident.
It is important to note that a case does not have to be settled within the two-year timeframe. As long as the case is officially filed before the statute of limitations runs out, the plaintiff is entitled to any compensation the courts may eventually reward, even if the case runs beyond the two-year statute of limitations.
Are There Exceptions to Statutes of Limitations?
Although the general statute of limitation laws for Pennsylvania prohibit a surviving loved one from filing a wrongful death lawsuit beyond two years from the death of the deceased, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
The two-year statutes of limitations may not apply if the cause of death is not immediately known, or if wrongful death actions are filed against a governmental agency.
If you wish to file a wrongful death suit after the statute of limitations has expired, discuss your case with an attorney. An attorney can review your case and let you know if any of these exceptions apply.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have lost a loved one due to the reckless or negligent actions of another person or party, you may have the right to seek financial compensation for your losses. To learn more about wrongful death lawsuits, contact us at your earliest convenience. You can call (570) 342-8194 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys.