In 2021, there were 224,935 unintentional injury deaths in the United States. In cases where the death of a loved one was due to the negligence of another party, it may be necessary to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, however, it’s important to understand that the process takes time. While you may be eager to move on, various factors can affect the length of a wrongful death lawsuit.
So how long does a wrongful death lawsuit take? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, a surviving family member will seek compensation on a loved one’s behalf.
A wrongful death will have occurred due to negligence, reckless actions, or carelessness. It will have been the result of an accident and this could include many different types of events.
Wrongful death could be due to a car accident, boat accident, bicycle accident, or similar accidents. However, it could also be due to work accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, toxic food issues, and more.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
For many families, taking legal action for wrongful death is part of the grieving process and is essential to feeling some sense of closure. When a wrongful death claim drags on, it can make it even more difficult for them.
While all cases vary in length, a wrongful death lawsuit will generally take at least one year. It may last as many as four years before being settled.
While one to four years is the average for a wrongful death lawsuit, in some cases, it may drag on even longer. This will depend on the details of the case and other important factors.
How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here’s what you should know.
Identify the At-Fault Parties
The first step is to know who the at-fault parties are. This may require some investigation, and in some cases, it can be complicated to determine who is truly at fault for the wrongful death.
Once you know who the at-fault party is, you’ll then know who you’ll be using and will be able to pursue a case against them.
Once you are ready to sue the at-fault party, you’ll then need to complete documentation to do so. This will include making court filings, sending legal notices to the parties you are suing, and much more.
Talking to a wrongful death attorney and getting help with this process will be very useful. They’ll be able to help guide you and ensure that you’re doing everything appropriately and following the correct steps.
If you’re looking for a wrongful death attorney in Texas, the Alpha Accident Lawyers law firm can help. Be sure to check it out now to learn more.
Meet the Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind that there’s a statute of limitations in Texas for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The Texas wrongful death statute of limitations is 2 years.
This means that you’ll need to start pursuing the case within 2 years of your loved one’s death in order to have a chance at getting compensation.
Factors That Affect the Length of a Case
All wrongful death cases are different, so the length of the case will vary based on many different factors. Here are some of the factors that can affect the length of a wrongful death case.
Settling a Case
One of the factors that can affect the length of your wrongful death case is whether the case goes to mediation and is settled outside of court.
In mediation, both sides will come together and try to come to an agreement to resolve the case. If your case is settled at mediation, then the length of the wrongful death case will be shorter overall.
Going to Court
Many times a case will settle at mediation, but sometimes, the case will go to trial. Preparing for the trial adequately and putting your best foot forward can potentially make the at-fault party’s insurance company feel more interested in mediation.
If the case does go to trial, it will likely drag on longer and the length of the case will be extended.
One of the things that can affect how long your case is includes how much evidence you have regarding the fault of the defendant.
You need to prove that the party breached a duty of care and caused your loved one’s death. Evidence of wrongful death could include medical records, surveillance videos, documentation of the accidents or events, witness testimonials, police reports, and more.
If a lot of information and documentation has been gathered then a case is more likely to settle and the case will likely end more quickly.
How the Other Party Reacts
A major factor that can affect the length of a wrongful death lawsuit is how cooperative the other party or the other party’s insurance company is.
The other party may try to prolong the case or may refuse to give a reasonable amount for a wrongful death settlement. At-fault parties vary in how they approach a lawsuit, and some will be more difficult to deal with than others.
If the at-fault party is challenging to deal with, then the lawsuit will take a longer amount of time.
Details of the Case
While some wrongful death cases are very straightforward, others require deep investigations and are more intricate. A medical malpractice lawsuit, for example, will likely take longer than most other types of accidents, given the complexity involved in the process of suing a hospital.
There are other things that increase the complexity of a case as well. If there were multiple at-fault parties, if the loved one contributed to the accident, or if multiple people were injured or deceased, the case could become more complicated.
As a result, the length of time that the lawsuit goes on will likely be extended.
Understanding the Length of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
So, how long does a wrongful death lawsuit take, and what factors affect its length?
If your case is settled in mediation, the timeline will be significantly shorter than if your lawsuit goes to court. The complexity of the case, the cooperativeness of the other party, and the amount of evidence you have will also affect the length of the lawsuit as well.
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