What is the Statute of Limitations When the Negligence Causes Death?

In some cases, a person is injured in an accident and then dies from his injuries some time latter.  When this happens, when does the 2-years start to run – on the date of the injury or on the date of the death?  The answer is both!  For the family members who are asserting wrongful death claim, their statute of limitations begins not when their loved one was injured, but at the death.  However, if the deceased suffered pain and suffering before death and incurred medical bills because of the injury, then the estate also has a claim, and the statute of limitations for that case starts to run from the date of the injury, not the date of death.  (Click here for the leading case on this issue.  Russell v. Ingersoll-Rand Co., 841 S.W.2d 343, 348 (Tex.1992).

Please also note that there is an exception when dealing with medical negligence cases.  The statute of limitations begins to run when the injury occurs regardless of when the death occurs.  Thus, a wrongful death plaintiff suing on a medical negligence theory does not necessarily have two full years from the time of death to bring a lawsuit. Rather, the statute of limitations expires at the same time it would have for the decedent – two years after the alleged negligence occurred.

 Overview of Texas Statute of Limitations