If you are currently going through the difficult process of grieving a loved one who passed away as a result of negligence, you may feel overwhelmed during the resulting wrongful death lawsuit. As you consider your financial future, it can be difficult to plan for the rest of your life or even take care of unexpected expenses right now in the absence of your loved one. Understanding how long it takes to settle wrongful death claims can give you important information about how to plan for your future.
Wrongful Death Claim Duration Depends On:
No two wrongful death lawsuits are the same, therefore, your unique situation will vary from other cases. However, it is possible to get a general understanding of whether your case may resolve quickly or whether you will have to wait for some time to receive any monetary compensation from the suit. A wrongful death claim depends on a number of factors; consider how some of these may influence your own situation in order to gauge how long it will take to settle wrongful death claims.
The Complexity Of The Case
How complex the wrongful death case is will play a large role in determining how quickly the suit can be resolved. Have you acquired sufficient evidence, or are you waiting on further evidence? Awaiting medical reports or a determination of what happened during an accident must be reviewed before a decision can be made. This is critical evidence but may create a delay.
Similarly, it is important to consider how strong the link is between the victim’s death, the party who is liable for it and the cause of the death. If the link between these is straightforward, such as a liable party who admitted to negligent behavior, your wrongful death claim may be processed more quickly. Examinations of a complex series of parties and causations take longer in general.
If multiple parties are liable for the decedent’s death either in part or in full, this can slow the processing of the case. It will take time to contact the representatives of multiple parties and compile evidence against each of them. Cases that involve lower monetary compensation, typically less than approximately $300,000, may be resolved faster than those with higher limits.
If your loved one lived for some time after the negligent or wrongful action, supporting a wrongful death claim can become more challenging and take longer. Extensive evidence will be needed to demonstrate that the injury caused by the liable party was the cause of the death, since the death is separated from the time of injury or exposure.
If You Are Willing To Go To Trial
As you consider how to approach a wrongful death case, you may already have an idea of whether or not you are willing to go to trial. Cases are typically settled more quickly when the parties are willing to agree to a settlement outside of court. Taking a settlement does not necessarily mean that you are agreeing to a low amount of compensation; a skilled attorney will help to ensure that your settlement amount is fair.
However, if you do not agree to the settlement amount or if you or the other party are unwilling to settle regardless, the case must proceed to court. This can dramatically increase the time needed to resolve the claim, because the court process requires a number of time-consuming actions such as discovery. How long hearings last, the number of pleadings, the number of witnesses involved and how much evidence is submitted can all lengthen the amount of time that a court case for wrongful death will take. Similarly, even after the trial has completed, an appeal can be filed that further extends the process.
The general notion is to avoid court if you are concerned with resolving the wrongful death suit quickly. However, this may not be the correct choice for everyone.
Consider Hiring Knowledgeable Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you are considering your options for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, it is important to work with skilled attorneys who can offer their experience and ensure that you receive a fair settlement. A wrongful death attorney will guide you through the complexities of the process and assist you in compiling evidence and serving as a liaison between your family and the liable party.
The Brown Firm would be happy to assist you in your wrongful death lawsuit. Reach out by phone at 703.828.0900 or schedule a consultation online with an experienced attorney who will sit down with you to review your unique situation. We will help you to develop a strategy to approach your case so that you see the most positive outcome possible. While it is impossible to know exactly how long a settlement may take, we will outline what you may expect.