NY Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death

In NY, the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is two years. It may vary in other states, though. A Long Island, New York wrongful death lawyer can help ensure that a wrongful death lawsuit or insurance claim is filed within the appropriate timeframe in NY.

Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Case

Wrongful death cases can arise out of traffic accidents, defective products, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and other types of personal injury. In order to file this type of claim, it must be proven that the fatal injuries suffered were a cause of someone else’s negligence. A Long Island, New York wrongful death lawyer can help establish the cause of an accident through applicable evidence.

If a claim is not filed within the NY statute of limitations for wrongful death cases, though, it could result in a spouse, children or other surviving family members failing to recover damages that might have otherwise been recovered.

For instance, costs to cover medical bills and funeral expenses may be recovered, compensation that addresses: 

  • lost earnings;
  • pain and suffering;
  • loss of companionship;
  • mental anguish; and
  • grief may also be recovered.

Two years is a fairly common period of time in which a wrongful death claim can be filed, such as in the state of New York.

However, some states have a shorter timeframe. An example is Tennessee, which has a one year statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits. In other states it might be longer, such as Arkansas which has a three year period of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The statute of limitations begins on the date of the person’s death. So in New York, if someone had died on May 20, 2011, a claim would need to be filed by May 20, 2013. There are sometimes exceptions, though.

Impact of Discovery Rule in a Wrongful Death Case

One way around the deadline to file a wrongful death claim is when there was a delay in discovering the cause of the accident and resultant injury. Let’s say a person dies on May 20, 2011 after undergoing surgery. At first it’s assumed that unavoidable complications were what led to the person’s death.

If an investigation is launched and a year later it is proven that a surgeon’s negligence was actually the cause of the person’s death, the NY statute of limitations for wrongful death may begin at that time, the date of discovery. This is known as the discovery rule.

In New York, if a foreign object is left inside a patient’s body and it causes injury, a claim must be filed within one year. However, it may not be discovered until after that time. This is an example of when the discovery rule might apply.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the ability to use this depends on the state. Again, it is usually in the best interest of the claimant to talk with a Long Island, New York wrongful death lawyer who can review the case and determine what laws might impact it.

Seeking Legal Counsel in Long Island, New York with a Wrongful Death Lawyer

Acting quickly is critical to ensure a case is filed within the NY statute of limitations for wrongful death, which is why an attorney should be consulted. It will take time to review the case, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and compile evidence to establish fault and damages suffered.

The law firm of Gacovino, Lake & Associates is familiar with wrongful death lawsuits. Our Long Island, New York wrongful death lawyers are knowledgeable in claims related to accidents, defective drugs and products, medical malpractice, premises liability and workplace injuries. They can help victims’ families file a wrongful death lawsuit within the appropriate NY statute of limitations for wrongful death cases.

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