There is no easy way to accurately predict how long a wrongful death case might take in Florida. Sometimes, a skilled wrongful death lawyer can reach a negotiated settlement relatively quickly. However, in other cases, it could be years before a trial finally takes place.
At Kogan & DiSalvo, we can advise you on the factors specific to your case that could increase or decrease the time it takes to resolve it. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party, contact us for a free consultation. We are a full-service law firm that takes cases on a contingency basis, and leverage decades of experience representing personal injury victims throughout Southeast Florida.
How long can a wrongful death case take to settle?
There is no time limit on the amount of time a wrongful death lawsuit could take in Florida. This is because the facts of each case are very different. For example, in many instances, there is little doubt about who is at fault for a wrongful death. When liability is not in dispute, these cases often boil down to the appropriate amount of compensation. These cases can settle in a matter of months.
In contrast, others take much longer. Litigation could be the only option if both sides cannot initially agree on a settlement. As a result, a case could last for years in the courts before ultimately settling in the moments before the trial begins.
What is the process of settling a wrongful death lawsuit?
There is no set format for a wrongful death lawsuit. Settlements can happen at any point. However, most wrongful death lawsuits follow a similar path.
The first step is a demand letter. It is drafted by your attorney and sent to the at-fault party, their legal counsel, or their insurance company. The purpose is to outline the strength of your case and demand a specific amount to settle it. While these letters often do not lead directly to a settlement, they are an important first step in negotiating.
When a settlement does not occur early on, it is common for the plaintiff to pursue legal action. Filing a lawsuit is one of the most effective ways to push the defendant into making a serious settlement offer. These cases can settle early on in the lawsuit, but that is not always the case.
Settlements are also typical during discovery. During this phase of litigation, both sides provide each other with the evidence they intend to use at trial. This process often makes clear which side has the stronger case. That can lead to serious discussions regarding a settlement.
The last—and sometimes best—chance to settle a wrongful death lawsuit is before trial. The prospect of a jury verdict could push a defendant who has been hesitant to settle to reconsider their position. It is not uncommon for a wrongful death lawsuit to settle moments before a trial starts.
What if the case goes to trial?
Settlement is still an option even after the trial has begun. In some cases, a defendant might increase their settlement offer after realizing the case is not going well. The parties may reach an agreement while evidence is being presented by the attorneys. The case may be settled at any point up until a final decision has been rendered.
What factors are involved in determining how long a case will take?
In addition, many factors can also come into play, making it difficult to pinpoint how long a case might take. Some of these could potentially slow a case to a crawl. Others could result in a quick settlement. Our firm can evaluate your case and advise you on how these factors might impact your recovery. Some of those factors include:
- Insurance. One of the common issues that can slow down a wrongful death settlement is insurance. When the at-fault party is covered by liability insurance, they may not be forced to pay for the settlement out of their own pocket. In contrast, insurance companies have far more resources to resolve these cases than private individuals.
- Liability. Whether or not the defendant agrees they were at fault can tremendously impact the chances of a settlement. If the other side accepts responsibility, a settlement is more likely. If the other party refuses to take any responsibility for the untimely death of your loved one, they might not agree to settle at all.
- Damages. The extent of the compensation you seek can also significantly impact the outcome of your settlement. In general, larger cases are more difficult to settle than smaller ones. There is also the matter of insurance policy limits. Most policies cap the amount of damages the insurance company is responsible for. If your case is worth more than the limits on the policy, it could be challenging to settle.
- Delay. The unfortunate reality is that some cases face avoidable delays. The defense has a reason to drag their feet. The longer a case takes, the more likely something could occur that makes the plaintiff’s case more difficult to prove. If your attorney does not aggressively move your case toward trial, you could face unnecessary delays.
These are only some of the factors that can impact how long it takes to settle a wrongful death lawsuit. At Kogan & DiSalvo, we work hard to reduce delays and increase the likelihood of a fair settlement offer.
Talk to a wrongful death attorney about your case
It is essential to understand that wrongful death litigation can take time. However, it is also important to note that your attorney has the power to avoid unnecessary delays and keep your case moving forward. By aggressively pursuing a fair outcome, your legal counsel will work hard to secure the settlement you deserve.
Our team at Kogan & DiSalvo understands what is at stake in a wrongful death case. We are here to provide you with compassionate legal counsel during this difficult time. Not only can we advise you on how long your case might take, but we could also help you understand your potential damages. Reach out for a free consultation with our firm as soon as possible.