A wrongful death occurs whenever someone is killed as a result of another party’s wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract. In Florida, the surviving family members of a wrongful death victim are entitled to compensation for their losses. But a wrongful death case won’t be resolved overnight.
How are wrongful death cases resolved? How long will it take for your family to recover compensation? Can a Tampa personal injury attorney speed up the process? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.
How Are Wrongful Death Cases Resolved?
A wrongful death case can either be resolved with a settlement or court verdict. Most wrongful death cases are settled outside of the courtroom through private negotiations between attorneys from both sides. If the two sides can agree on a fair settlement, the case will be resolved without going to court.
But if an agreement cannot be reached outside of the courtroom, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed in court. The case will go to trial, where a jury will decide whether or not the surviving family members are entitled to compensation from the defendant, and if so, how much.
How Long Will It Take to Resolve A Wrongful Death Case?
Every wrongful death case is unique, so the time that it takes to reach a resolution will vary on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, it is possible to reach a settlement in a matter of months, but in other cases, it can take well over a year to resolve a wrongful death case.
There are a number of factors that can affect how long it will take to resolve your wrongful death case, including:
- Settlement vs. Verdict
- Complexity of the Case
- Value of the Case
You may be able to quickly resolve your wrongful death case if both sides agree on who was at-fault for the victim’s death. But if there is a dispute over liability, this could lead to significant delays.
Both sides will need to launch an investigation into the victim’s death to gather the evidence they need to support their claim. Your attorney may need to interview witnesses, hire expert witnesses, analyze complex medical records, obtain surveillance footage, and work with accident reconstruction engineers to recreate the fatal accident. All of this takes time, so it could affect how long it will take your family to recover compensation.
Settlement vs. Verdict
Taking a wrongful death case to trial can take years, whereas a settlement may be reached in a matter of months. If the at-fault party’s insurance company is open to negotiating, you may be able to quickly resolve your case by reaching a settlement outside of the courtroom. But if the defendant is not willing to make a fair offer, you may need to take your case to court, which could lead to lengthy delays.
It may be tempting to accept a settlement so you can recover compensation as soon as possible, but it’s important to understand that accepting a settlement is not always in your best interest. Make sure you talk to your attorney about your options before making this important decision.
Complexity of the Case
Every wrongful death case is complicated, but some wrongful death cases are far more complex than others. For example, wrongful death cases involving truck accidents are typically more complicated than wrongful death cases involving car accidents. This is because in a truck accident case, many different parties could be held potentially liable for the victim’s death, so multiple insurance companies may need to be involved in the case.
Wrongful death claims involving medical malpractice are also known for their complexity. Your attorney may need to hire medical experts to investigate the case, analyze the evidence, and provide testimony. It can take a long time to complete these tasks, so this could delay the resolution of your case.
Value of the Case
No two wrongful deaths are the same, but in general, the higher the value of a case, the longer it will take to resolve. This is because the at-fault party’s insurance company will not be willing to accept liability or write you a sizable check until they have completed a thorough investigation into the claim.
The insurance company’s goal is to settle your wrongful death case for as little as possible. To achieve this goal, they will look for any opportunity to lower the value of your wrongful death claim. For this reason, a number of disputes may arise in high value cases as the insurance company tries to find a way to lower the value of your claim.
For example, surviving family members are entitled to compensation for the loss of financial support and household services provided by the decedent. The at-fault party’s insurance company may argue that the surviving family members are asking for far too much compensation for these losses. They may try to argue that the value placed on the loss of household services is much too high in order to lower the total value of your claim.
A skilled attorney will know how to quickly resolve these disputes and overcome any challenges that may arise during the claims process.
Seek Legal Representation From A Wrongful Death Attorney Right Away
If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one, no amount of money can take the pain away. But filing a wrongful death claim can help your family recover the compensation you need to make it through this challenging time.
Let the wrongful death attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett help your family fight for the compensation you deserve. With over 125 years of combined experience, our team of attorneys has the legal resources and knowledge that it takes to win complex wrongful death cases. Call our law office now to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.