How Long Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take

How long can a wrongful death lawsuit take?

These cases can take years from inception to completion. Furthermore, it will be extremely emotional. The following is a summary of the steps involved in a wrongful death case:

  • 1. A personal representative is named
  • 2. All of the information has been gathered concerning the survivors and the cause of death
  • 3. A claim is made for damages
  • 4. A monetary settlement demand is made against the defendant
    • a. These types of cases often do not settle due to the complexities surrounding them, and usually a lawsuit must be filed
  • 5. In the event the claim does not settle, a formal legal claim, or complaint, is drafted and served on the defendant and the county clerk triggering the start of a lawsuit
  • 6. A process called discovery takes place
    • a. each side requests certain statements, documents and admissions from the opposing side
  • 7. Witnesses are identified and asked questions under oath to:
    • a. establish the facts of the case, including the cause of death
    • b. circumstances surrounding that cause
    • c. determine the extent of damages which may be due to the survivors and the estate
  • 8. Before a trial date is set, the parties will hold a mediation conference to see if the matter can be resolved without the necessity of a trial
  • 9. Failure to come to an agreement during the mediation will prompt a trial date and reliance on a jury to determine if the defendant is responsible for the death of the decedent
    • a. The jury will also determine what the appropriate amount of damages should be
  • 10. If a verdict is rendered in favor of the estate of the decedent, damages will be awarded to the decedent’s estate and survivors
  • 11. If the verdict is rendered in the favor of the defendant, no award will be made against the defendant and the case will be dismissed
  • 12. Either side has the ability to appeal a decision if the disagree with the outcome of the case

The process is long and takes resolve and the expertise of legal counsel to ensure the case moves forward and all information is presented.

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At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our experienced car accident lawyers have the strong legal backgrounds and extensive legal knowledge that you need to have the best chance of a successful auto accident claim. Whether you are negotiating a settlement outside of court or proving your claim to a jury, you can trust us to use our legal skills to help you get the best outcome possible.