Legal time limits after a loved one's suspected wrongful death

If you are ever in a situation where a loved one unexpectedly has passed away, the loss is no doubt overwhelming. Dealing with the initial needs like funeral arrangements and grieving can be more than any one person should bear. You, along with family members and friends, may have a lot of questions about how and why your loved one passed away. If you are a surviving spouse of the victim, you may be in even a more delicate position than you ever imagined.

The truth is that surviving spouses usually have the toughest time after a sudden death has left them a widower. This is due to the immense emotional loss, along with the debilitating financial loss to you and your immediate family members. If a company, person or other third-party played a role in your spouse’s unexpected death, it is possible that they could be held financially responsible. However, do not delay in seeking retribution, because there are time limits to filing a wrongful death suit after a loved one’s death.

These time limits are called statute of limitations. Pennsylvania state law dictates how statute of limitations plays a role in wrongful death suits. Usually, surviving spouses have a couple of years to file suit, but that depends on state law and the nature of the claim. Different industries have different limitations as far as how long a person can wait before their suit can no longer legally be brought, as too much time has passed.

In certain situations statute of limitations can be contested, but it is preferable that it not come to that. If you have to file suit as to why you can legally bring a lawsuit, it will take more time and effort than if you were to file it within the legal time constraints. Losing a loved one can truly be devastating for a family. Any contribution to the family can make an enormous difference.

Source:, “Wrongful death claims: Time limits and the “Discovery” rule,” Accessed January 2, 2017