How Long Does it Take to Resolve a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Motorcycle Accidents

Your spouse died in a truck accident on his way to work at the Chrysler Belvidere Assembly and Stamping Plant, when a truck driver, under the influence of methamphetamine, sideswiped his vehicle. He was the sole breadwinner of your family of four. You are struggling to put food on the table—unable to pay for the funeral costs and medical bills that have started rolling in.

Although there is no amount of money that can compensate you for what your family lost, you need help and have decided to pursue a wrongful death claim.

How Long Will it Take?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question—a wrongful death case can take from several months to several years. Following is a brief overview of the process:

  • Investigation – Your attorney will investigate your case thoroughly, gathering every bit of available information about the accident, including police reports, photos of the scene, witness statements, and medical records. In addition, he will request the additional information required to calculate the value of your claim. Finally, he will determine which parties are liable for your spouse’s death and obtain the available insurance policy limits.
  • Pre-Suit Negotiation – Your attorney may decide that it is worthwhile to negotiate with the insurance company before filing a lawsuit. As a result, the insurance company may present an offer, which you can accept, refuse, or counter.
  • Filing a Lawsuit – Your attorney may skip pre-suit negotiation—since insurance companies often do not negotiate in good faith—and file a lawsuit right away. Once you have filed a lawsuit, your attorney may negotiate with the insurance company, hoping to reach a favorable settlement and avoid the lengthy trial process.
  • Discovery – During this phase of the process, both sides have an opportunity to ask questions in order to prepare for trial. This can be a lengthy process as both sides request medical records, income information, documents relevant to the case, and witness statements.
  • Mediation – Many times, wrongful death cases are settled in mediation—before the case goes to trial.
  • Trial – If all efforts to settle the case fail, it will go to trial. There, your attorney will present your case to a jury, which will deliberate and come back with a verdict.

All of these steps take time, but our attorneys do everything possible to keep the process moving along. However, our main goal is to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.

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