If you’ve suffered the untimely death of a loved one as a result of another party’s negligent or wrongful actions, you may be looking at a wrongful death lawsuit to compensate you for the damages you have suffered. Wrongful death claims are meant to compensate families for the losses they incurred as a result of their loved one’s death. However, they often take a significant amount of time, knowledge, and effort to resolve. So how long does it take to settle wrongful death claims?
Resolving a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Because wrongful death claims are so complicated, it is impossible to predict how long they can take. While some wrongful death lawsuits are resolved and settled in a matter of months, others can take years to negotiate or litigate, particularly where settlement is not possible and the parties need to go to court.
Every case is different, and unique facts constitute the basis of each claim. Both during settlement negotiations and at trial, there are many unknown factors that can influence the outcome of and duration of a case.
What Factors Can Impact the Length of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are many things that can affect the length of a wrongful death lawsuit—some of them deal with the complexity of the unique facts or circumstances involved, some deal with the specific rules and procedures of the state, and still others deal with factors that are difficult to anticipate or predict.
For example, these are some of the factors that can impact how long your lawsuit might take:
- The time and effort required to fully investigate the facts
- The events involved, and the specific laws that might apply, such as whether a finding is required by a malpractice tribunal
- The evidence available to prove liability and damages, such as evidence of the medical professional’s negligence during a birth, surgery, or other medical procedure
- Whether and to what extent liability for the events are shared by multiple parties, such as by the hospital as well as a doctor or other medical professional
- Whether and to what extent the doctor, hospital, and their malpractice insurance carriers are willing to accept liability and make a reasonable settlement offer
- The damages suffered by the family, and the likelihood of being able to prove those damages
What Does the Process of Settling or Litigating a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Entail?
Wrongful death claims are some of the most complex in personal injury law. In order to recover the damages you’ve suffered as a result of your loved one’s untimely death, you must prove both liability and damages.
That means you’ll need to prove that the other party is liable for your loved one’s untimely death, having directly caused it or the events leading up to it. You will also need to prove your damages, potentially including medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of earnings, and the loss of services and companionship that your loved one would have provided.
Typically, a wrongful death case begins by filing a claim in the appropriate court. Your attorney will investigate the facts of the accident, interview witnesses, and preserve important evidence to help you make your case. They will assess your damages and begin negotiations with the other party and their insurance company, fighting for a fair and reasonable settlement offer. Should a settlement not result, they will prepare your case, based on the evidence, to present on your behalf in court.
Because wrongful death claims are so complex and difficult, it is imperative to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. They can help you not only communicate and negotiate with the other party and their insurance company, but also file, research, and prepare your case on your behalf should you need to go to court. Insurance companies can be tough to negotiate with, and their aim is to minimize payout—an experienced wrongful death attorney can be invaluable in the settlement negotiation process.
How Can JJS Help with Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The personal injury lawyers at JJS have more than 40 years of experience recovering compensation for clients who lost a loved one because of another’s negligent, careless or intentional actions. We have recovered significant verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, so that they can rebuild their lives after the death of a loved one. JJS is committed to making sure your rights are protected as you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you have lost a loved one because of another party’s negligent actions, do not hesitate to contact the wrongful death attorneys at JJS to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis and are only paid when you recover a successful verdict or settlement.