Norristown Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Whenever someone gets hurt because of another person’s negligence, Pennsylvania law puts a time limit on how long the injured person can wait to file a lawsuit. This rule, known as the “statute of limitations,” is meant to make sure that important evidence is still available by the time a personal injury lawsuit begins and to prevent potential “defendants”—the people being sued by injured “plaintiffs”—from the threat of legal action hanging over their heads forever.

Just like with all other types of personal injury litigation, there’s a statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits, too. Failing to start your claim within the applicable deadline will almost always lead to your case being thrown out of court for being “time-barred.” Fortunately, you have help available from well-known and winning wrongful death attorneys who can help you build the strongest case possible while complying with the Norristown wrongful death statute of limitations.

How Long Do I Have to Sue After a Family Member’s Wrongful Death?

The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Norristown is set by the same section of Pennsylvania law as the one that sets the time limit for most other personal injury claims. Under 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 5524, you generally have two years from the moment your “cause of action accrued”—in other words, from when you first had valid grounds to file a lawsuit—to start the wrongful death litigation process, either by yourself or with help from a skilled lawyer.

However, there’s one crucial difference in how Pennsylvania law handles the deadline for wrongful death claims compared to the one for other personal injury claims. If you’re filing suit over an injury you suffered, the two-year filing period generally starts on the date you got hurt. For wrongful death claims, though, you have two years to file suit starting from when your loved one passed away, which may be much later than when their ultimately fatal injury occurred.

Different Deadlines for “Survival Actions”

Another crucial thing to know about the wrongful death statute of limitations in Norristown is that it works differently for “survival actions” than it does for wrongful death claims. Survival actions allow recovery for losses a deceased person suffered between when they were first hurt and when they ultimately passed away from their injuries. But unlike with wrongful death cases, the two-year statutory filing period for survival actions starts when the deceased person initially got hurt.

This means there may be different filing deadlines for different portions of a comprehensive civil claim built around a wrongful death, especially if your loved one survived for several months after suffering a fatal injury. This is just one example of the kind of legal roadblocks you may run into that an experienced legal professional can help you navigate around.

A Norristown Attorney Can Help Start a Wrongful Death Claim Within the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a hard and fast rule for all types of personal injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania. Knowing what time limits it sets for your unique claim is crucial—but so too is actually constructing and filing a strong claim within applicable filing deadlines.

If you have further questions about the Norristown wrongful death statute of limitations or about wrongful death lawsuits in general, a qualified attorney from our team can provide the answers you need. Call Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers today to set up a meeting.