How Long Does a Wrongful Death Settlement Take?
Settling Out of Court for a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death is a term for a lawsuit that involves the death of a family member. The victim’s spouse and certain other family members have the right to seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death is caused by carelessness or misconduct of another person. It includes a variety of cases such as intentional homicide, avoidable medical injuries, or auto accidents. This is a civil case, not criminal. But criminal charges can also be filed separately. These two charges, however, are not connected. So, the defendant may be found not guilty in a criminal case and still lose a civil lawsuit.
It is important to understand that every case is different. It would be wrong for wrongful death attorneys to estimate the duration of the case without a thorough evaluation. Sometimes claims are settled very soon after their submission with the insurance company.
Other cases can’t be not settled just with the insurance company and you have to resort to a trial. Cases where the cause of the accident or the settlement amount is under dispute take more time.
The only sure thing about this is that it will take at least a few months. So, don’t expect to have everything resolved within weeks.
What criteria determine the speed of the process
There are many factors that affect the length of a wrongful death settlement. Here are some of them:
- Investigation – Wrongful death attorneys have to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the fatal accident. Sometimes, the police have already gathered all the required evidence and the facts are clear. But if the circumstances of the accident are more complex, the investigation process might be a long one.
- Amount of damages – It can take time to establish the right amount of damages for each claimant. Some expenses, such as medical and burial costs, are easy to calculate. But it is difficult to calculate non-economic damages such as loss of consortium, for example.
- Trial – As mentioned above, many wrongful death cases settle out of court. But when there is need to file a lawsuit, the process might last for many months. First the discovery has to take place to gather evidence and then the court will hold several hearings. Only after that, the case is ready for a trial. However, some courts have busy schedule and the case may face multiple delays before the jury will finally hear and decide the case.
Why you need wrongful death attorneys
Wrongful death settlements are very complex. If you do not have legal representation, you will have to learn a lot of material in order to know how to conduct the case. But wrongful death attorneys have a lot of knowledge and experience in this matter and they will know what to do.
For example, not all family members are entitled to wrongful death compensation. An unmarried domestic partner, however, might have the right to it. It matters who you were to the deceased. For example, a spouse and minor children will generally receive higher compensation than parents of siblings.
Sometimes it is necessary to make claims to more than one insurance company. It often happens in multiple car collisions, for instance. Only qualified wrongful death attorneys can sort out the settlement amounts for each family member. It is a complicated task and you can hardly do it yourself.
That is why professional help is important if you want to protect your interests well. Call Wilshire Law Firm and receive the best legal help in California. We will get you the full and fair compensation you deserve, or you don’t pay us a cent – this is our ironclad guarantee.