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New York Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Time Is Of The Essence

In New York, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of the decedent’s death.

A statute of limitations restricts the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit. These laws vary between states and by case type. Failure to file within New York’s two-year time limit will prohibit the individual from ever filing a wrongful death lawsuit and seeking compensation for his or her loss.

The two-year statute applies whether you are bringing a claim against an individual person, or a public entity or government agency. However, there is one slight difference: if the potential defendant is indeed a public entity, including a town, village, city, or county, then a Notice of Claim must be delivered to the defendant within 90 days of the appointment of a personal representative (the person intending to bring the claim) to the decedent’s estate.


Despite the two-year rule, there are some exceptions that could permit the claimant to file a wrongful death lawsuit even after the two years have passed, although it is important to note that these are rare:

  • Medical malpractice case: In a medical malpractice wrongful death case, the statute of limitations is extended to 2 years and 6 months, instead of 2 years.
  • The sole beneficiary is a minor: If the only person that stands to benefit from a wrongful death claim is a child or minor under 18, New York allows the claim to be “tolled,” or delayed, either until the minor turns 18 or until a legal guardian is appointed that can bring the claim for the minor. However, if there was already a parent or guardian appointed for the minor at the decedent’s time of death, the statute of limitations would remain at two years.
  • The potential defendant already has a criminal case pending: If the person you want to bring the lawsuit against already has a criminal lawsuit against him, then the claimant has one year, starting from the end of the criminal case, to bring the wrongful death action.

As mentioned above, these exceptions are uncommon. The most important thing to take away is that, for the majority of wrongful death cases in New York, two years from the date of death is the time limit to file a claim. If you have questions about the specifics of your case, it is in your best interest to speak to a New York wrongful death lawyer to find out how the statute of limitations may apply to you.

Act Now To Protect Your Right To Compensation

If you have lost a loved one in New York, it’s important to speak with our wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible to ensure the New York wrongful death statute of limitations does not expire. The wrongful death attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy realize that making practical decisions during the grieving process is difficult. We will thoroughly handle all aspects of your case so that you are allowed time to recover while we focus on protecting your legal rights.

The New York wrongful death attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have dedicated their practice to protecting the rights of those who were injured or lost a loved one in New York. We have obtained a number of impressive verdicts and settlements, including a $15,000,000 settlement for the wife and five children of a worker who was tragically crushed by a falling object in an on-the-job accident.

Other notable results include:

  • $7,525,000 settlement for the surviving family of a mother and young son who were killed in a tragic Long Island car crash
  • $7,200,000 settlement for the wife and young daughters of a 25-year-old Brooklyn worker who died after falling down a misleveled elevator shaft
  • $5,000,000 settlement for the four children of a mother who was struck and killed by a garbage truck that went off the road
  • $3,000,000 settlement for the family of a Long Island man who died after receiving severe injuries in a car accident

Our wrongful death lawyers in New York are committed to seeking justice on behalf of individuals who have been wronged due to another party’s negligence. To speak with our New York wrongful death attorneys about your potential claim, call us at 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.


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