You lost someone you love in an accident because of someone else’s negligence. After filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you’re likely wondering how long it will take to reach a settlement. The truth is that the time it takes to settle a wrongful death lawsuit varies widely since each case is different.
A wrongful death lawsuit could take a few weeks to several years to resolve depending on the complexity of the case. An attorney from our firm will prepare you for the length of time it will take to settle your lawsuit.
- What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
- What Does it Mean to Settle a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
- When Will My Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settle?
- What is a Settlement Agreement?
- How Long Will it Take to Settle if My Case Goes to Court?
- Learn More About Settling a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Today
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action (typically taken by immediate family members of the decedent) to recover compensation for damages, such as funeral expenses, from an individual or entity whose negligence was the cause of the loss.
Compensation from a settlement usually goes to the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the decedent.
Do Wrongful Death Lawsuits Usually Settle Instead of Going to Court?
You might think that wrongful death lawsuits result in a courtroom showdown, but that is typically not the reality. In fact, most wrongful death lawsuits settle out of court. Insurance companies are driven by profit and want to pay out as little as possible on a claim.
The insurance company is more likely to negotiate a settlement amount outside of court rather than risk the jury returning a verdict in your favor that will cost them more, especially when you have a wrongful death lawyer with experience fighting for survivors on your side and evidence to back up your claim.
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What Does it Mean to Settle a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
At any time during the process, you can agree to accept a settlement offer from the negligent party and their insurance provider or your lawyer will continue to work to negotiate a settlement that is more favorable.
Settling a lawsuit means you agree to accept a specific compensation amount and won’t seek additional compensation in the future. It also means you avoid going to court and will receive compensation sooner rather than later.
When Will My Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settle?
Wrongful death lawsuits vary on how long they to settle or resolve. This is definitely something you’ll want to discuss with your lawyer. Depending on the complexity and value of your case, you should prepare to wait up to several years. However, if the other side offers a settlement that is agreeable to you, accepting will result in a quicker resolution.
We strongly urge you to review any settlement offer with your wrongful death lawyer before accepting. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to make a lowball settlement offer, hoping that you’ll take the money and that your lawsuit will go away.
A lawyer from our firm will calculate the value of your wrongful death case by acknowledging each economic and non-economic damage that applies to you, including the pain and suffering of the decedent before their death, medical bills, future earning capacity, and funeral costs. We rely on this calculation to determine whether a settlement offer from the other side is fair or not and provide you with the counsel you need to decide. The final decision is always yours to make.
What is a Settlement Agreement?
A settlement agreement is a contract in which you and the other side agree on an amount of compensation for your losses. Your lawyer will negotiate with the liable party and their insurance provider on your behalf to reach an appropriate settlement.
Naturally, it will take time to iron out all the details of a settlement agreement. You will want to consider carefully how much compensation to designate for which types of damages, as some damages count as income and are taxable, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Reaching an agreement requires patience on both sides, so this process can take weeks, months, or even years to complete depending on whether there are any complex disputes to resolve. Your lawyer will review the terms of the settlement agreement with you, so you truly understand them before you sign. Once you sign a settlement agreement, you won’t be able to seek additional compensation in the future.
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How Long Will it Take to Settle if My Case Goes to Court?
The legal process takes time, so if you want a jury to decide how much compensation you receive via a verdict, you should prepare to wait months or years. This is another reason why most wrongful death lawsuits settle out of court. Survivors might not want to wait years for compensation if there is an appropriate settlement offer on the table.
You have bills to pay and a family to take care of. Waiting years for compensation might not be an option. You also want to move forward and begin rebuilding your life. However, you also want accountability and justice, so if you have the determination to see your lawsuit through to the end to achieve those goals, how long it takes is irrelevant.
Learn More About Settling a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Today
If you lost someone you love, please accept our deepest heartfelt sympathies. We consider it a privilege to represent surviving family members and provide legal guidance during this difficult time. We will fight on your behalf while you and your family simply take the time to grieve and say goodbye to your loved one.
Our law firm has over 30 years of experience negotiating wrongful death settlements for survivors like you. At Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., we will advocate for you at the negotiating table and in court if necessary to recover the compensation you need and the justice your departed loved one deserves.
To learn more, or to talk to a wrongful death attorney about your case, call for a free consultation today.