Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Even though it can be a very stressful and upsetting time for surviving family members, due to discovery rule statute of limitations and negligence statute of limitations it is very important to file a claim for wrongful death as soon as possible. This is because the statute of limitations for wrongful death and personal injuries only allows claims to be filed for a short period of time.

All fifty states have wrongful death statutes, which provide for the period within which a claim must be filed. After the expiration of this time limit, and with very few exceptions, even genuine claims become invalid.

The period of time specified by the wrongful death statute of limitations varies from state to state, and can be from a few months to several years. Ordinarily the timescale begin to run from the date of the death although there are some exceptions to this.

For information specific to your situation, it is highly recommended that you consult with a wrongful death attorney to discuss your case and find out if you are eligible for compensation.

For example, in California, there is a limit of two years to file a claim against businesses, corporations and private persons with an exception relating to children, who may file up to the age of 19 years. However, if the claim is to be made against a public entity – such as a state, city or county - all claims, whether by adults or children, must be made within one year following the death; an administrative claim is filed within six months, and then a late claim is allowed in the six months following that. In Florida, the statute of limitation is 2 years after the cause of the wrongful death was suspected or confirmed

Delay In Discovering The Cause Of The Wrongful Death

Although the statute of limitations provides a time limit within which a claim for wrongful death must be filed, there are certain limited situations in which a claim can be filed after the expiration of the limitation. This is essentially in situations where the actual cause of death is not known until after the expiration of the statue of limitations.

The rules vary depending on the state and arguably the type of wrongful death. For example, in Florida, you may not be able to file a claim after the expiration date unless the wrongful death was as a result of a defective product (e.g. a pharmaceutical drug).

In all cases, no matter what the cause of death, it is essential to be vigilant in the preparation of a wrongful death suit. In order to prove the liability of the defendant, it is necessary for the plaintiff to preserve evidence that supports the case, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the wrongful death and the incident itself and to ensure that the lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations deadline passes.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal assistance with a wrongful death case, please consult with a wrongful death attorney to discuss your case and find out if you are eligible for compensation.
Get Professional Help
Talk to a Wrongful Death attorney.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you