You do not want to wait long for justice, closure, and compensation after losing a loved one, so you might be wondering how long it will take for your wrongful death claim to settle. Unfortunately, this question is as difficult to answer as it is common among grieving families. There is no sure way to predict the timeline for a wrongful death claim, especially not before it has been filed or in its early stages.
The truth is that there are many factors that can change how much time will be required to settle a wrongful death claim. Some of these factors can speed the process up while many others can slow it down.
Important and varying factors for wrongful death claims include:
- Liability: In a wrongful death claim, which is technically a type of personal injury claim that is being filed by the claimant’s family, liability describes how much a person is at fault for their own accident and fatal injuries. The higher someone’s liability, the lower amount of compensation their case can secure. In some states, any amount of liability can completely cancel out a claimant’s right to file a wrongful death claim. For this reason, liability often slows down a wrongful death case because insurance companies will usually try to contest liability as much as possible to end up paying as little as possible.
- Damages: Wrongful death claims can include some fairly complex damages, like how much income the deceased likely would have earned if they had a chance to live a full life. The loss of companionship suffered by the deceased’s close family members can also be translated into monetary damages, despite the abstract nature of that concept. Accurately calculating all damages is crucial, so a wrongful death attorney might want to use more time than you expect to complete that step. On the other side of your case, the responding insurance company will likely want to contest those damage calculations to try to shrink them in any way they can manage. This back-and-forth to determine a fair amount of damages can take some time.
- Litigation: Heading into litigation can also slow down a wrongful death case quite a bit. A claim can go into the courtroom for litigation without completely prohibiting a settlement later. If your case is hotly contested, then you should not be surprised if you have to go to court at least once before the insurance company backs down and takes settlement negotiations more seriously. Setting a court date can be frustrating, though, and sometimes months go by before you see your day in court.
Is There a Way to Speed Up a Wrongful Death Claim?
There is no guaranteed way to make a wrongful death claim settle or conclude sooner than later because you can never know exactly what the opposition is going to do. Although, there is a simple way to help reduce the chances of unnecessary roadblocks and delays: hire an attorney.
An experienced and local wrongful death attorney will know all sides of a wrongful death claim, as well as what insurance companies usually do to try to deny them. If you had tried to file and manage your claim alone, then you might have stumbled into some legal pitfalls that slow everything down, like filing a claim at the wrong court or failing to respond to an insurance company on time. With your lawyer leading the way, you can feel more confident that your case is developing correctly and as quickly as possible.
Families in Sandusky count on Murray & Murray to deliver reliable and compassionate legal services for wrongful death claimants. Our attorneys know you are going through enough already, which is why we are careful to progress your case in a way that gets results and allows you to grieve. If you want assistance with your wrongful death claim, then please contact us online whenever you are ready.