How Long do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?

How Long do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?
Calendar icon December 29, 2023
How Long do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?


  • In New York, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years.
  • Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits filed against someone who negligently caused the death of a loved one.
  • Surviving spouses and children have the primary right to file, followed by dependent parents or siblings.
  • Working with a New York wrongful death attorney is crucial for protecting your rights and seeking justice.

Losing a loved one is always difficult. When their death is caused by someone else’s negligent actions, the grief and anger can be overwhelming.

In New York State, the law allows for surviving family members to pursue justice in the form of a wrongful death claim. Working with a qualified wrongful death lawyer can help you file a successful lawsuit.

What is Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit filed against someone whose negligent actions or lack of action caused the death of another person. This lawsuit is entirely separate from any criminal proceedings which the defendant may also face.

The wrongful death claim seeks justice by financial compensation for the losses faced by the grieving family.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

New York wrongful death claims prioritize certain relationships. Any surviving spouse or children has the primary right to file, followed by dependent parents or siblings. In some cases, the personal representative of the deceased may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

In cases in which minor children are the primary beneficiaries, a court-appointed guardian may act on their behalf and protect their legal rights.

What’s the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?

In the state of New York, wrongful death claims have a two-year statute of limitations. This means you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in New York.

If you don’t file within that two-year window, you may be unable to pursue a case and obtain compensation.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

While two years is the general rule, exceptions may apply in special circumstances, such as:

  • Medical malpractice: The statute of limitations is extended to two and a half years if medical negligence caused the death.
  • Criminal cases: If the defendant faces criminal charges related to the wrongful death, the wrongful death claim can be filed up to a year from the conclusion of the criminal case.
  • Minors: If the surviving family member is a minor, the wrongful death claim can be filed after they turn 18 or when a suitable representative is found.

The Importance of Timely Filing

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in New York is very serious. If you don’t file your claim within the statute of limitations, you forfeit any legal right to pursue compensation.

It’s always a good idea to contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible and get your wrongful death claim started. Besides ensuring your lawsuit is filed within the statute of limitations, it also helps make sure all the evidence is fresh and that any witnesses have clear memories of the incident.

How an Experienced New York Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You

Navigating the legal complexities of a New York wrongful death claim can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with the grief of losing a loved one. An experienced New York wrongful death attorney can be a crucial ally in this difficult time by:

  • Assessing your case: Your lawyer can determine who has the right to file and on what grounds.
  • Gathering evidence: Your lawyer can help gather, organize, and present evidence for the strongest possible case.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies: Your lawyer can deal with the difficult and stressful negotiations with insurance companies and advocate for fair compensation.
  • Filing a lawsuit: If necessary, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and represent you in court.

The experienced team of wrongful death attorneys at Cellino Law are ready to defend your rights and fight for the justice your loved one deserves. Contact us online or give us a call at (888) 888-8888 to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered “wrongful death” in New York?

In New York, a wrongful death is caused by a wrongful act or negligence. Examples can include car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, or product liability claims.

Contact a New York wrongful death lawyer to assess your case.

Who can legally file a wrongful death claim in New York?

Surviving spouses and children have the first right to file a wrongful death claim in New York, followed by dependent parents or siblings. In some situations, the deceased’s personal representative may be able to file a claim.

Get in touch with a wrongful death attorney to learn who can file a claim after the death of your loved one.

What kind of damages can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Recoverable damages can include loss of income, medical expenses, funeral costs, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and, in some cases, punitive damages.

The laws around compensation for wrongful death claims have been changing recently, so it’s important to contact an experienced attorney for an assessment of your unique case.

Zoom Screenshot_16.png

Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.



Free Case Review




  • It was a great pleasure working with you on my lawsuit. You certainly gave 150% of your time and interest in settling my case and for that, I am extremely grateful. Therefore, I want to thank you very much for helping me win my settlement and wish you the very best.


  • I am writing this letter to say how much I appreciate your services pertaining to my case. Your injury attorney took a hands-on approach and left me fully informed at all times as to where my case was going as well as how much ground we had to cover; leaving the final decisions in my hands but making sure that I knew all of the risks involved in the choices. I have dealt with a few law firms in my life on various different cases and this is the first time that I never had to call and/or track down my lawyer… because of this, I have and will continue to recommend Cellino Law to my friends and associates.


  • I can only say great things about my attorney Allan Silverstein. He is professional, he calls back right away, he keeps me informed, and makes me feel comfortable as this entire ordeal is stressful. I have total confidence in his ability to handle whatever comes his way. He is no nonsense and very good at his job. Thank you Allan... he is a true asset to the team!

    Mrs Steward

  • I really appreciated your determination and efforts on handling my case. You have done an outstanding job, and I am very satisfied with the outcome of the settlement. Thank you so so much John.


  • Tim Cellino handled my case beautifully. He is very knowledgeable and patient with all my questions. He kept in touch with me through out my ordeal. Tim also got a settlement for more than I expected. I highly recommend Tim Cellino!


  • Cellino Law is an amazing firm with a great team. I worked with Greg Pajak and his assistant, Tracey Falconer. I cannot express enough how dedicated they are. The personal attention I received was excellent; they were always available to help with questions and concerns and put me at ease in the unknown territory I found myself in. I highly recommend them to anyone needing representation. A huge thank you to them for all they accomplished for me!