A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of legal action that allows surviving family members to recover essential compensation on behalf of a lost loved one. This type of lawsuit is often essential to the grieving process for many families.
At Buckingham & Vega Law Firm, we understand how important it is for our clients to regain a sense of normalcy. However, rushing to settle a wrongful death lawsuit usually will not create the desired results. A wrongful death suit that is settled too quickly often misses essential compensation, leaving families with no other options to recover those costs.
So, how long does a wrongful death lawsuit take to handle? On average, a typical case will take anywhere from one to four years from filing to completion. There is no guarantee that your case will fall into this average timeframe, though.
What Factors Into How Long a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Takes To Handle?
Every wrongful death lawsuit is unique, so it is difficult to provide an exact timeline for your specific claim without having additional information. At Buckingham & Vega Law Firm, we offer free consultations to prospective clients. This complimentary meeting gives us the opportunity to meet in a no-obligation setting to learn more about your loved one, what caused their death, and what factors might contribute to the timeline of a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Long It Takes To File
Texas state law allows for only two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This gives grieving families a relatively short period of time to build and file a lawsuit on behalf of their loved one’s estate.
How long it took you to file a wrongful death lawsuit will have an impact on the time it takes to settle your case, including if:
- You filed your wrongful death lawsuit early before relevant information was available.
- You waited to file the lawsuit until the statute of limitations was almost up, making it difficult to secure evidence.
- You originally tried to file on your own before securing an attorney’s services.
When Fault Is Complicated
In most situations, we like to think of fault as a clear-cut issue. However, determining fault can be a complicated process. Our Midland, TX attorneys often deal with insurance companies who will exploit any opportunity to shift liability or deny blame altogether.
If there is ever any question of who might have been at fault for your loved one’s death, do not leave it up to the insurance company to figure it out. We have seen far too many families lose their legal right to pursue compensation because an insurance company decided denying liability was better for their bottom line.
Do not hesitate to contact Buckingham & Vega Law Firm if you encounter any of the following issues of liability:
- Questions about who actually caused the collision in a hit-and-run accident
- Pushback from a surgeon who claims your loved one’s death was an expected outcome rather than a surgical error
- A property owner claiming that they warned your loved one of the dangerous property condition that caused their death
- Denial of liability from a negligent manufacturer that claims your loved one improperly used their product
Our attorneys thoroughly investigate every wrongful death lawsuit, and we do not stop until we determine what happened and who was at fault.
If the Insurance Company Is Lowballing Settlement Offers
Nothing may feel like a bigger slap in the face to the memory of your loved one than an unreasonably low settlement offer from the insurance company. This is a common tactic used by insurers, whose purpose is to either get you to accept far less than what you are owed or to run out the clock on your opportunity to file a lawsuit.
One of the most effective ways to push back against lowball offers from the insurance company is to have an attorney on your side who has properly valued the worth of your wrongful death lawsuit. This includes taking some of the following costs into account:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred through attempts at life-saving care
- Lost income or financial contribution
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Loss of comfort, guidance, and advice
- Loss of future inheritance
The costs associated with a wrongful death can be steep. Do not allow a big insurance company to decide that your family is owed anything less than what you and your attorney determine you are owed.
The Value of the Wrongful Death Claim
Texas law only places a cap on wrongful death lawsuits related to medical malpractice claims. A $500,000 cap ($1.5 million adjusted for inflation) only applies to non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, such as mental anguish or loss of comfort. Claimants may pursue the full cost of economic damages like lost wages and medical bills.
Wrongful death lawsuits with damages that are valued to be worth more tend to take longer than claims that are seeking less. If your family is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in compensation, expect your case to take longer.
Why You Shouldn’t Rush a Wrongful Death Settlement
When you rush a wrongful death settlement, you are playing directly into the insurance company’s hand. The insurer’s goal will always be to get you to accept as little as possible in as little time as possible. A fast settlement usually means missed opportunities for compensation.
There is value in taking the time to handle a case in a slower, more deliberate manner. While it can be frustrating to feel like justice for your loved one’s wrongful death is being drawn out, you can rest assured that the attorneys at Buckingham & Vega Law Firm are treating your case with the utmost care and respect it deserves, which often involves a longer timeframe than you might expect.
Advocating for Families Who Have Lost Loved Ones
No one should ever have to experience the untimely and unexpected loss of a family member. When a loved one’s death resulted from another person’s negligence, we are here to advocate for you and your family.
Our attorneys are tireless advocates for families dealing with the aftermath of a wrongful death. We strive to reach the best possible settlement in all cases, and when settling isn’t possible, our experienced trial attorneys are prepared to take things to court.
When we take on a wrongful death case, we understand that we are working with families who are in the middle of the grieving process. We provide kind, compassionate, and understanding representation to our clients in everything we do. Whether you’re unsure if you have a case or want to know how long a wrongful death lawsuit takes to handle, we’re here for you.
Contact our Midland, TX office today to schedule your free case evaluation.