You may have heard of the term "statutes of limitations" as applied to criminal law. In some cases, the law protects defendants from criminal prosecution after a certain time span has elapsed; that is, the defendant cannot be prosecuted decades after an incident of petty theft. Similarly, statutes of limitations exist for civil cases, including those alleging wrongful death. After that limitations period expires, victims are no longer able to pursue a civil suit against the target of their claim.
Each state has a different set of rules governing legal actions in wrongful death suits. In some jurisdictions, you may have only one year to file a civil suit after the fatal accident. Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers can advise their clients about the nature of Pennsylvania's statutes of limitations rules.