How Long Does It Take To Settle Wrongful Death Claims: We Breakdown the Timeframe
When families lose a loved one in an accident or due to someone’s negligence, they often ask: “How long does it take to settle wrongful death claims?” It is not an unreasonable question to ask, but it also cannot be answered in simple terms. Every case is unique, which means you can expect the wrongful death claims process to take anywhere from months to years to settle. However, if you require a more in-depth answer to your question, the following information may help.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in California
There is no set time frame for how long a case can take to conclude, but there is one for when you must make your wrongful death claim. In California, the Statute of Limitations dictates that a person must file their lawsuit within two years from the date of their loved one’s death. If you have been delaying the process due to fear of a lengthy trial, consult a wrongful death attorney for help. Many cases do not end up at trial, and yours might be one of them.
Factors That Can Affect a Wrongful Death Claim Timeline
Many wrongful death claims can be resolved in a matter of months, especially if there is no question about who is to blame and what happened. However, you may expect a timeline of between one to three years, or even longer, if any of these factors contribute to your case.
Insurance companies acting in bad faith
- A high compensation request causes an insurance company to delay
- The insurance company refutes fault
- There is shared negligence
- Proving fault is complicated
- There are criminal charges pending
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Wrongful Death Claim?
Given that most wrongful death cases settle out of court, there is a general expectation for a claimant’s case to be settled within just a few months. Once a wrongful death demand letter is sent to the defendant’s insurance company for a response, it can be a waiting game.
Once they respond, negotiations can begin to reach a settlement figure, which may take a few weeks to a few months. If you are unable to reach an agreement, your case may be sent to trial. If that happens, it may be upwards of one year before your case reaches a conclusion.
Why You Should Not Rush a Settlement
It can be hard to grieve for your loved one when you are embroiled in what seems like a lengthy wrongful death case. While it can be tempting to settle as soon as the opportunity arises, there are many reasons why that may not be in your best interest.
First and foremost, the settlement amount may not be enough to cover your damages. When you consider medical bills, funeral costs, and a loss of income, those costs can stack up. Rushing a settlement can also mean you make a rash decision you cannot take back. Once you agree to a settlement amount, you cannot renegotiate.
After losing a loved one due to someone’s negligence, you know all too well that time is precious. However, no matter how long your wrongful death claim takes, know that it can all be worth it in the end. Request a free consultation from a reputable wrongful death attorney today to find out what your best lawsuit options could be.