As is the case in every state, New York has laws in place that award compensation to family members who have lost loved ones due to the negligence of another person. Called wrongful death accidents, these types of cases can be incredibly stressful on families not only because of the emotional hardship associated with them, but also because of the complex laws one must traverse in order to gain a sense of justice.
While some families are complacent and willing to take no action after a loved one's wrongful death - whether because of religious beliefs or personal reasons - others may not be resigned to do so. But for those looking to take legal action in a wrongful death case, there is one important thing to keep in mind: there is a statute of limitations on these types of personal injury claims in New York.
New York statute of limitations on wrongful death claims
As is the case in every state, New York has a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims that bars loved ones from filing a lawsuit more than two years after a person has died. (N.Y. E.P.T.L. § 5-4.1)
This restriction is meant to protect at-fault parties from facing incredibly old allegations where evidence may no longer be present as well as stopping clogs in the court system due to incredibly complex cases that may need considerably more time to review.
What you lose if you don't take action
While the death of a loved one may easily be fresh in the minds of family members looking for closure, waiting too long to file a lawsuit against an at-fault party is far more harmful then reopening fresh emotional wounds. That's because the statute of limitations effectively negates the right to file a lawsuit once the period of time has elapsed. This means that family members would be unable to collect:
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Reasonable compensation for health care costs
- Lost wages
If you're like a lot of people, the stakes of waiting too long after a wrongful death accident may be too high to ignore, which is why we hope you never experience the pain of missing out on a chance for justice.