Worries about the timing of a wrongful death claim are a common concern among affected family members. Whether their loved one was the primary earner in the home and there is an immediate need for financial compensation, or there is simply an urgent demand to bring the negligent party to justice over the death of their loved one, time can be of the essence. Unfortunately, there is no standard measure of how long a wrongful death suit will take, as there are different factors that affect how a wrongful death claim moves forward.
Ideally, information needs to be readily available for a wrongful death case to proceed forward as fast as possible. This information needs to be readily available on both the part of the defendant as well as the beneficiaries.
In terms of the defendant, any delays in providing statements and dispositions or evidence review can slow the process. For beneficiaries, poor communication with their attorney team about settlement demands can also cause a delay. The process can typically kick into high gear once all information is available for both sides.
Age of Beneficiaries
The age of the beneficiaries of the settlement is an overlooked factor that can prolong the settlement of these cases. Generally, with a beneficiary over the age of 18, there is little to worry about in terms of issuing a settlement.
However, for minor beneficiaries, the case cannot be settled until there is a plan in place for how the minor's portion of the settlement will be dispersed, managed, and awarded. For example, if the funds will remain in a trust, the trust must be established and go through the courts for guardianship before the case can be settled.
Lastly, the value of the wrongful death settlement is another very important factor. As a general rule, the smaller the settlement, the faster the process, and the larger the settlement, the longer it will take to settle.
A leading reason for this factor is that the higher the value of the settlement, often, the more evidence that must be submitted and reviewed, on both the part of the defendant's attorney team and your attorney.
The above are just some of the factors that can affect the speed of the process. However, as you embark on this type of claim, you must have patience. Your wrongful death attorney will do everything in their power to ensure that you are treated fairly under the terms of the law.