What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death?

UPDATED: Nov 21, 2011

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What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death?

The death occurred over 2 1/2 years ago. Is it too late to contact an attorney? In IL.

Asked on November 21, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Illinois


Mike Harvath / Harvath Law

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

     Hi.  I am an Illinois and Missouri licensed attorney that focuses my practice on serious injury and wrongful death cases.  Our office handles cases in all parts of Illinois, as well as Missouri.

     It is possible, and not terribly unlikely, that the statute of limitations can be extended, or "tolled" beyond the 2 year period.  This occurs particularly often in medical malpractice cases in situations where the injury itself is not discovered until a significant period after the negligent act that caused the injury occured.  The statute may be extended also in situations where an act was not even known to be negligent at the time, but, due to some form of recent discovery, it becomes known that the medical act, was, in fact, negligent.

     Additional detail would be necessary to determine whether you are still within the time frame to file an action, settle your claim, or take other legal steps.  Even in auto accident, or other type of injury cases, the time period can be extended.  Whether the limitations period can be lengthened is very fact sensitive, and details of the time line of events would be necessary to make a determination.  However, I would certainly not delay.

     I hope this helps, at least to some extent.

     Our office can be reached at (314) 471-5585, or, for convenience, directly via e-mail at mth2000@yahoo.com.  Evening calls are acceptable.

NOTE: This answer is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.  The use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship or privilege between the user and the attorney responding.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In Illinois, the statute of limitions for injury (or death) of a person appears to be 2 years, whether resulting from malpractice or otherwise (e.g. car accident). However, sometimes, the statute can be "tolled," or held in abeyance for a time, extending the time period to sue. This usually occurs when it was impossible to know of the injury immediately. For example, in a misdiagnosis case, the fact of the misdiagnosis may not be known until injury occurs from the lack of treatment or improper treatment, which could be months after the mistaken diagnosis. Therefore, depending on the facts of your case, it might still be possible to bring a legal action; you should consult with an attorney IMMEDIATELy, before any more time passes, to see if this is the case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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