The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in New York is two years, per Estates, Powers & Trusts (EPT) § 5-4.1. There may be special circumstances that could extend this time limit.
Here, we will try to help you understand the time restrictions on bringing a wrongful death lawsuit, as well as offer you advice on how to go about pursuing compensation for your loss. This compensation can help cover your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages that result from losing a loved one too soon.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
According to Cornell Law School, a statute of limitations is a law that limits the time span in which you can bring a lawsuit after an incident.
There are potential exceptions to the statute of limitations. If you meet certain criteria, the statute of limitations may toll, or pause, for a specific amount of time. A wrongful death lawyer can help you determine if you meet the criteria that would toll the statute of limitations in your case.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900
Why You Should Act Quickly After a Wrongful Death
While you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit in New York, these cases can take time. In many situations, people wait too long because they are not concerned with taking legal action after the loss of a loved one. However, acting quickly can take a burden off your shoulders. This will allow you to grieve more fully while a lawyer and their team handle the entirety of your case.
You Give Your Lawyer More Time to Build Your Case
In addition to taking the burden of your case from you, acting more quickly can allow a lawyer to gather more evidence. It also gives them more time to build a robust case. If you seek help from a lawyer within days or weeks of the statute of limitations expiring, your lawyer may not have the time they need to build a compelling case.
Evidence May Disappear
A lot can happen in two years. Evidence can disappear or be destroyed, memories can fade, and eyewitnesses can move away. Acting earlier can help you avoid this complication.
If You Overstep the Statute of Limitations, You May Give Up Any Leverage You Have
If you do not file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you may need to accept whatever the insurance company is offering you. You do not have the opportunity to file a lawsuit in the hopes that it will offer you a higher amount.
Why Should You Consider Hiring a Lawyer to Help You?
A lawyer can handle every aspect of your case, including, but not limited to:
- Gathering evidence, including discussing the accident with eyewitnesses or hiring expert witnesses
- Determining a value for your case
- Handling all communication with any involved parties (An insurance company may take advantage of you in your grief, pressuring you to take a low settlement or accusing you or your loved one of causing or contributing to the accident.)
- Negotiating with insurers or other involved parties
- Preparing your case for trial
- Taking your case to trial if need be
Wrongful death lawyers also typically take cases on a contingency-fee-basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront. It also means you owe no attorney’s fees unless and until you receive compensation. The law firm will advance the costs of your case, so you can spend your time grieving the loss of your loved one, not worrying about how you will afford legal help.
Get Help from a New Hyde Park Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If you lost a loved one due to an accident in or around New Hyde Park, you may be entitled to compensation. Remember that the statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits in New York is two years, so you should act quickly. To learn if any special circumstances apply to your situation, call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe today at (516) 358-6900 for your free consultation and to get answers to your questions.