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How Long Does It Take To Settle Wrongful Death Claims?

If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you may have heard of the term wrongful death. Wrongful death is a legal term used to refer to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the person who has passed away against the negligent party. But, wrongful death is a complex legal theory that has several different requirements that one must have to meet before they could make the claim.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit holds the negligent party accountable for their loved one’s death. If death results from someone’s reckless or negligent actions, a claim is filed against the responsible party for compensation. For more information on filing a wrongful death claim, we recommend that you speak to our personal injury attorneys today.

What is a settlement?

A settlement is an offer given by another party to settle the lawsuit instead of taking the lawsuit to trial. Usually, the majority of personal injury cases are settled prior to going to trial since going to trial could be very costly, and could be very unpredictable depending on the jury. Oftentimes, after an accident, an insurance company may offer a settlement amount to the injured party. However, insurance companies have a strategy of offering their settlement amount too soon, which could be a very low offer and not take into account any future medical care. Our best recommendation to our clients is to refrain from taking any initial insurance company offers. Instead, you should get evaluated by a medical professional to see what type of future treatments you may need. This quick settlement process could take a couple of weeks. But, there is the risk that you may need to recover more in compensation to cover the other damages that may come forward after the accident. For example, you may need to think about funeral or burial expenses when filing a wrongful death claim.

What type of compensation does a wrongful death lawsuit include?

A wrongful death lawsuit takes into account the compensation that family members must be afforded due to the loss of their loved one. Below are some examples of compensation that you could recover from a wrongful death claim:

  •  funeral expenses
  •  emotional distress
  •  loss of consortium
  •  loss of companionship
  •  lost wages
  •  loss of future earning capacity
  •  medical expenses

Why would it take so long for a wrongful death case to settle?

  • Investigation: wrongful death cases involve a fatality, so gathering evidence could be very difficult, costly, and time-consuming. For example, getting a death certificate could take a couple of weeks to a month depending on the circumstances. Sometimes, police officers may even open up their independent investigation into the cause of the death. This could then involve various departments that one might have to go through to get standard documents. 
  • In some cases, when a wrongful death claim is filed months or years after the accident has occurred, it may be difficult to get a hold of evidence. For example, if a death resulted from a car accident, and the wrongful death claim was filed years after the car accident, it could get very difficult to track down the car, and instead parties may just have to work off of photos taken immediately after the accident.
  •  Parties could be difficult: sometimes, the other party could drag their feet and delay the process as much as possible to prevent going to court or mediation.  This is also a tactic used by insurance companies. Insurance companies may try to delay investigations or taking  forward steps to tire out the other party.

What type of records are needed in a wrongful death case?

The records needed depend on the circumstances of the accident and what caused the death in the first place. Examples of some records include:

  •  DMV records
  •  insurance records
  •  cell phone records
  •  toxicology reports
  •  hospital records
  •  accident reports
  •  death certificates
  •  surveillance footage
  •  photos of the accident location
Doctor holding head after wrongful death incident

What should you look for in a wrongful death attorney in California?

  • Experience: make sure you have an attorney who has experience dealing with wrongful death claims before. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients in wrongful death cases. We also have a successful track record in making sure that negligent parties are held responsible.
  •  Communication: your attorney should have strong communication with you throughout the entire wrongful death claim. Given that wrongful death sometimes takes several months to years to investigate, you must have an attorney that constantly keeps you in the loop.
  •  Compassion: your wrongful death attorney should constantly check in with you to make sure that your legal process is effortless. An empathetic attorney will help ease any tension or stress that comes with filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

What will our wrongful death attorneys do?

  • Interview witnesses: interviewing witnesses could be a key part of your wrongful death claim, especially because the accident victim has passed away and could no longer speak for themselves or explain how the accident happened.
  •  Consult experts: we will consult with various medical and accident experts to reconstruct the accident and determine what the cost for injuries may be. 
  • Negotiate your settlement: we will negotiate aggressively against insurance companies and other third parties to make sure that you get the best possible compensation amount. We will take into account all the damages that you are owed, to make sure that you get justice for your loved one.

Who receives the wrongful death settlement compensation?

In a wrongful death claim, there are specific relationships of family members who qualify to file the claim. For example, a spouse, child, domestic partner, or grandchild could file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their family member. They then are allowed to recover compensation on behalf of their family member. This means that they will receive the settlement amount that our attorneys will negotiate. For more information on who qualifies for filing a wrongful death claim, give us a call today for a complimentary case discussion.

Wrongful Death Attorneys In California

Our wrongful death attorneys will be able to advise you on what steps you should take to make sure that you get maximum compensation for your family members. It is important to note that different types of negligence may require different types of requirements when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Schedule a complimentary case evaluation with our attorneys for a more detailed explanation of your matter, and for legal advice by our top-rated wrongful death lawyers. Several different factors may come into play when it comes to settling a wrongful death case. To make sure that the process is speedy, give us a call today to get started on your case.

*** Disclaimer: This page, created by Heidari Law Group, is intended for educational purposes only and provides a broad overview of legal principles. It should not be considered specific legal advice. Your use of this site and review of this material does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Heidari Law or any of its members. Laws are subject to change, and therefore some information presented here may not reflect current legal standards. All logos and images on this site are the property of their respective owners and are used only for illustrative purposes; their presence does not indicate endorsement or affiliation. Please respect the copyright restrictions of these images and logos. If you have concerns about copyright infringement or require proper attribution, contact us immediately. We are committed to honoring intellectual property rights and will respond promptly to any issues.

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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