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Berger & Lagnese, LLC

How much time do I have to file a lawsuit for the death of a family member?

When a person dies as a result of the wrongful act or negligence of another, there are two separate claims that can be brought: (1) a Survival Action and (2) a Wrongful Death Action.

Survival Action: A Survival Action is brought to recover the decedent’s gross loss of earnings from injury to death; the decedent’s loss of earnings from death through his/her expected lifespan, minus maintenance and monetary contributions already awarded under the Wrongful Death Act; and the decedent’s pain and suffering.A survival action must be filed in court within two years. The two-year period begins to run on the date of injury, as though the decedent were bringing his or her own lawsuit.There is an exception to the general rule: it is called the discovery rule, which applies where the existence of an injury is not known to the injured person. In such cases, the statute begins to run once the injured person has knowledge or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have knowledge of his injury and the cause of his injury. However, that date cannot be later than the date of death.


Wrongful Death Action: The Wrongful Death Action is brought to recover the cost of the medical bills; funeral bills; estate administration costs; monetary contributions the decedent would have made to his/her spouse, children and parents had he/she not died; and the value of the services, society, and comfort the decedent would have provided to his/her spouse, children, and parents had he/she not died.


Contact Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA at Berger & Lagnese, LLC for a Free Consultation


A Wrongful Death Action must be brought no later than two years after the date of death. Also, if at the time of death, the underlying negligence action would have been time-barred as to the decedent, then the wrongful death cause of action is time-barred as to her relatives. If you would like to talk to us about your  case, you may call us at (412) 275-4122 or contact us online. At Berger & Lagnese, LLC we specialize in injury cases and work on cases in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Uniontown, Beaver, Erie, Washington, and all of Western Pennsylvania. Our lawyers and doctor will find out how you were hurt and answer your questions. There is no cost to you.