Knowing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit’s Statute of Limitations

October 28, 2022 Insights


Each state has a different statute of limitations for bringing a wrongful death claim. Parties have a minimum of a year to launch a lawsuit in every state. This date establishes the window of opportunity during which a person must file a lawsuit to pursue justice. 

Statutes of limitations stop people from suing for wrongs committed many years ago. If something had been permitted, crucial events might have been forgotten or lost to time, witnesses might have passed away, and evidence might have been lost or destroyed. 

The purpose of statutes of limitations is to provide victims a reasonable length of time to gather information while it is still current and seek redress.

The sections below provide further details on wrongful death lawsuits and their statutes of limitations.

Deadline to the Filing of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Most states give surviving family members and estate representatives two years following the victim’s passing to file a wrongful death case and seek restitution. The statute of limitations may be longer or shorter in various states.

In some cases, a different statute of limitations than the one for wrongful death is applicable. For instance, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits may be applicable in a claim involving a death brought on by medical error. 

The statute of limitations, in this case, could be different from the statute of limitations in other wrongful death instances in length or shortness.

If the cause of action is identified after the statute of limitations has passed, family members of the victims may still have time to file a case.

For example, if a doctor missed cancer, they may have practiced medical misconduct. The patient’s surviving relatives may have more time to pursue justice if the patient eventually passed away from the disease but did not learn of the doctor’s error in diagnosis until years after the doctor’s error.

It’s crucial to be aware of the applicable statute of limitations. Even if you are entitled to compensation, you might not be able to obtain a cash judgment if you miss the deadline to bring a wrongful death claim.

Potential Forms of Compensation

You might be entitled to monetary compensation to pay for the medical care your loved one had before they passed away. You might also be able to get your money back for any funeral and burial costs you out-of-pocket paid. 

The loss of the inheritance your relative would have left you as well as the income your family member would have otherwise made, may also be covered by an award.

Additionally, you might be able to receive compensation for the emotional trauma your loved one’s premature death has caused you to experience and will continue to cause. 

If your relative used to provide you with affection, friendship, support, nurturing, and direction but no longer does, you may be entitled to a monetary award as compensation.

Requesting Immediate Legal Counsel

It can be emotionally upsetting when a family member passes away suddenly. If you were wholly or partially dependent on that person’s salary, you might also have trouble keeping up with the mounting debt and trying to figure out what to do.

Suppose you are still reeling from the unexpected loss of a loved one and struggling to make ends meet both emotionally and financially. In that case, the idea of hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit may seem overwhelming. You can decide to postpone it and think about it more later.

The months fly by. And by the time you decide to pursue legal action, the statute of limitations might have expired, and you would no longer be able to submit a claim for damages.


If you’re considering engaging an attorney to handle your wrongful death action, you might want to do it immediately. Your case can be filed before the state’s deadline with the help of an attorney.

If you need a wrongful death attorney in Kentucky, don’t hesitate to choose Circeo Law Firm. Our lawyers will fight to hold people accountable for negligence. Set up a consultation with our firm today.