Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Vehicle Accidents
September 29, 2020

Why Is the Time Limit Different for Wrongful Death Claims Involving Vehicle Accidents?

All civil claims are subject to time limits known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations determines how long you have to pursue legal action to recover damages in your case.

In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for most wrongful death claims is 3 years from the date that your loved one passed away. This means that you and your family have 3 years to initiate legal proceedings against the party or parties at fault for the death of your relative. In some circumstances, this 3-year period may actually begin before your loved one passed away, depending on the cause of death and the time between the injury and the death.

However, Wisconsin law contains an exception for deaths that occur due to motor vehicle accidents. In these cases, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is only 2 years from the date of death.

If you have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, please call Studinski Law, LLC at (715) 343-2850 today for a free case evaluation. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling claims for clients throughout Wisconsin involving vehicle accidents and wrongful death.

Why Do Families Have Less Time to File Suit After a Fatal Vehicle Accident?

The statute of limitations on wrongful death claims stemming from motor vehicle accidents was changed in 2016. The revised statute reads: “An action brought to recover damages for death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another and arising from an accident involving a motor vehicle shall be commenced within 2 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred.”

The statute applies to fatal vehicle accidents that occur on or after February 4, 2016. If your loved one was killed in a crash on or after this date, you have (or had) 2 years to file a claim against the at-fault driver. If you attempt to file after 2 years, your claim will almost certainly be dismissed.

Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to Accidents Involving All Types of Vehicles?

Yes. The statute of limitations specifically applies to “an accident involving a motor vehicle,” which includes claims such as:

The statute of limitations also applies in cases of pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents where the bicyclist or pedestrian is struck and killed by a motor vehicle.

What Does the Statute of Limitations Mean for My Motor Vehicle Accident Claim?

One of the most confusing aspects of Wisconsin law concerning motor vehicle accident claims is the difference in the amount of time to file a claim for wrongful death compared to claims involving injury. As with other personal injury claims in Wisconsin, you have 3 years to file a claim if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident. However, if your relative succumbs to injuries sustained in the accident, you now only have 2 years to pursue compensation.

Losing a family member is hard enough. Having less time to exercise your legal rights as a result of their death just adds insult to injury.

If your loved one died in an accident that was not their fault, the at-fault driver and any other liable parties should be held accountable. Your best course of action is to contact an attorney to discuss your legal options.

How Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help

After a death in the family, you and your loved ones need time to grieve for your loss. The team at Studinski Law, LLC will take the burden off your shoulders so you can focus on the healing process.

Our goal is to maximize compensation for the losses you and your family have suffered. To do this, we will get to know you and your loved ones personally so we have a complete understanding of how the death of your relative has impacted you emotionally, mentally, and financially.

To secure maximum compensation in your case, our lawyers thoroughly investigate the accident and your damages. Some motor vehicle accident claims, such as those involving semi trucks and other commercial vehicles, involve complex regulations and insurance requirements. Our lawyers are fearless in tackling these issues on your behalf, and we wholeheartedly advocate for your interests through every step of your claim – up to and including going to trial.

At Studinski Law, LLC, we don’t settle for less. We pride ourselves on achieving the best possible results for our clients.

Contact Studinski Law, LLC Today

Claims involving motor vehicle accidents and wrongful death can be complicated. Find out how Studinski Law, LLC can help you overcome the challenges in your case during a free consultation. If you hire us, our team will provide you with a detailed plan of approach that outlines our strategy for resolving your claim in a timely manner.

Please call (715) 343-2850 today. Our lawyers serve clients in Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, Plover, Marshfield, and throughout Wisconsin.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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