A Quick Guide To Wrongful Death Settlements

Photo of author

By Jacob Maslow

Losing a loved one due to carelessness or negligence is heartbreaking. You can go to court for a wrongful death lawsuit when such a scenario happens. Nothing can replace the suffering of losing a loved one, but filing a wrongful death lawsuit can aid in recovering damages through a wrongful death settlement. 

The laws on who can take legal action and how long to file a wrongful death lawsuit will depend on the state. While most cases involving wrongful death can happen due to negligence, one can also file a lawsuit if a loved one sustains fatal injury due to an intentional act.  

The process can be complex. So if you’re wondering how long does a wrongful death lawsuit take, it depends on the case and associated factors. Due to the intricacies, the right move is to employ the services of an experienced wrongful death lawyer to ensure a good head start.  

What Is A Wrongful Death Settlement?

Working with a lawyer is best if you file a wrongful death lawsuit. Doing so ensures proper investigation of all case circumstances to develop a basis for a claim. The investigation also involves assessing the damages and deciding on a fair amount of compensation.   

Each case varies in every wrongful death settlement and has distinct recoverable damages. Generally, a settlement will depend on several factors, such as your loved one’s healthcare expenses and job. Other factors include the circumstances surrounding the passing of your loved one and your out-of-pocket expenses. 

Determining the settlement amount can be a complex process involving meticulous investigation and negotiation. If you lack the guidance of a wrongful death lawyer, you might settle to accept a lowball offer from the other party. An experienced lawyer can efficiently manage a wrongful death claim process, so you have a good chance of getting a fair and comprehensive settlement. 

Eligible Person To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit 

In most cases, the spouse can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Although the state is responsible for determining who can file a claim, most typically allow family members or the executor of the person’s state. When the person doesn’t have a will or a spouse, the state has a process for determining the suitable person. 

Cases To File A Wrongful Death Case  

Vehicular accidents have been the leading cause of death over the years. Although car accidents serve as the basis for the majority of wrongful death claims, a person can file for a claim in other circumstances, such as: 

  • Dog bites  
  • Slips and falls  
  • On-the-job accidents  
  • Medical malpractice or abuse in medical facilities  
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace  

This said, legal options are available for those who’ve lost a loved one due to the negligence of others.

Wrongful Death Claim Process  

If you file a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s best to work with a lawyer. Doing so ensures proper investigation of all case circumstances to develop a basis for a claim. The investigation also involves assessing the damages and deciding on a fair amount of compensation.  

In most cases, the lawyer will initially think about the income of the deceased individual at the time of death and average work-life expectancies. Some states allow lawyers to consider non-financial damages in a wrongful death case.  

Suing a person for wrongful death requires proving liability. Generally, it involves demonstrating that the other party meets the legal criteria for negligence.  

Sometimes, the lawyer may initiate the settlement process by issuing a demand letter. It’s a formal document that requests payment to resolve a dispute. The document’s recipient, usually an insurance company, might disagree with the terms. Due to this, a negotiation starts. At this point, both parties will work to reach a fair settlement amount. If they disagree on the settlement after several negotiations, the plaintiff may file a lawsuit so that the case will move on to a trial.  

Considerations To Promote A Good Outcome In A Wrongful Death Case  

There are several considerations to remember if you go through with a wrongful death lawsuit. Below are some points to improve the chances of the outcome: 

  • Avoid sharing information about your case on social media. 
  • All documents related to your case, such as receipts, estimates, invoices, and billing statements, should be stored properly.  
  • Employ the legal services of an experienced wrongful death lawyer. 

As you can see, it’s crucial to think twice before accepting a settlement from the liable party. In most cases, the initial offer by the insurer might not account for the claimant’s losses. Once the other party offers a settlement, it should be scrutinized by your lawyer.  

Final Thoughts  

A wrongful death process can be complex and lengthy. Handling the process alone might not result in a good outcome, especially regarding the settlement. Working with an experienced wrongful death lawyer gives you a good chance of getting a fair and favorable wrongful death settlement.


Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos