Navigating the unfamiliar waters of a wrongful death lawsuit can be an emotionally and financially difficult journey. Underneath the heaviness of grief, you may find yourself wondering how long can a wrongful death lawsuit take. The truth is that it depends on several key factors and the particularity of each case.
This article discusses the factors that influence the length of a wrongful death suit. It will provide guidance for getting started with your claim, and offer resources to help manage the complexities along the way. If you are currently dealing with a wrongful death lawsuit, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney immediately. The law firm of Jared Spingarn in Hollywood, Florida, has handled many wrongful death cases and can guide you and other surviving family members throughout the entire process.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death lawsuits highly vary depending on the nature of the incident that caused the death. Generally, these suits are filed when someone dies due to another party’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit regardless of whether criminal charges were brought against the responsible party.
Hollywood, Florida’s Statute of Limitations
Before you can begin the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you must first understand the statute of limitations in your state. In Hollywood, Florida, those bringing wrongful death claims have two years from the date of death to file their suit. After this timeline has expired, it will be impossible to pursue a claim. This is why it’s essential to start working with a wrongful death attorney soon after the incident occurs.
Be sure to get in touch with an attorney from Jared Spingarn’s law firm as soon as possible. Their team has handled multiple personal injury cases and those that resulted in wrongful deaths, and can indeed represent you in the legal proceedings.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
The most common causes of wrongful death are motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and workplace negligence/accidents.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
If another driver’s recklessness or negligence caused a fatal car crash, you might have grounds to file a wrongful death suit. This can include situations such as drunk driving, distracted driving, and disregard for traffic laws/regulations.
Medical negligence is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Suppose you believe that a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional failed to provide an adequate standard of care, resulting in the death of your loved one. In that case, you may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death suit.
If your loved one was killed due to a workplace accident caused by their employer’s negligence, you might have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This could include inadequate safety measures or protocols, improper training and equipment, or hazardous conditions.
What damages am I entitled to in a wrongful death lawsuit?
If you successfully bring a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to claim damages for the loss of your loved one. This can include the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of companionship and emotional distress
- Loss of projected future earnings
- Pain and suffering endured by the deceased person before their passing
- Medical bills incurred prior to death
Value of a Wrongful Death Settlement
The value of a wrongful death settlement depends on the specific circumstances of each case. Generally speaking, settlements can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars depending on factors such as the deceased’s age, work or employment, and capacity to earn. The responsible party’s intent is also considered in determining the value of the settlement.
The deceased’s age is one of the most important factors in determining the value of a wrongful death settlement. Generally, the surviving family members of younger individuals deserve a higher settlement amount due to the deceased’s potential future earnings and ability to contribute to society.
Work or Employment
The work or employment of the deceased can also impact settlement value. If your loved one was employed in a high-paying field, such as medicine or law, you might be able to seek higher compensation than if they were working an entry-level position.
Capacity to Earn
Your loved one’s capacity to earn is also considered when determining the value of a wrongful death settlement. If your loved one had the potential to make more money in their lifetime, you could seek higher compensation for their lost wages and earnings.
The Intent of the Responsible Party
In ascertaining the compensation of a wrongful death settlement, it is also necessary to consider the intention behind actions taken by those responsible. Establishing that they acted intentionally and maliciously may give you grounds to seek more extensive indemnity for your losses.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Hollywood, Florida?
In Hollywood, Florida, personal representatives of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. This could be any immediate family member, such as parents, spouses, or children. A personal representative can also be a distant relative or friend appointed by the court.
The role of a personal representative is to act on behalf of the deceased and their family in filing a wrongful death suit. This includes gathering evidence, preparing a case for trial, negotiating with insurance companies or opposing legal teams, and representing you in court if necessary.
Wrongful Death Claims with an Insurance Company
Negotiating a wrongful death claim settlement with an insurance company requires careful consideration of available coverage and potential compensation amounts. While the negotiation process may be difficult, it can prove to be highly beneficial if you can acquire reasonable repayment for your losses. However, many insurance companies are focused more on their own profits than the policyholder’s needs and may attempt to reject or undervalue your claim.
What is bad faith insurance?
Bad faith insurance is when an insurance company acts unreasonably in handling a claim or fails to negotiate with the claimant in good faith. This can include rejecting legitimate claims, delaying payments, and providing inadequate compensation for damages.
Rejecting Legitimate Claims
Insurance companies may reject legitimate wrongful death claims by claiming that there isn’t enough evidence to support the claim, or that the policy wasn’t valid in the first place.
Insurance companies may also attempt to delay payments by making excuses such as requesting further investigation or additional paperwork. This is done to frustrate and confuse claimants so they will accept a lower offer.
Deliberately Providing Inadequate Compensation
Insurance companies may also try to offer a settlement amount much lower than the claim’s true value. This is done to save money for the company, even though it will result in far less compensation for the claimant.
How to protect yourself from bad-faith insurance?
Each wrongful death case is different, but in most cases, you will need to deal with the insurance company, putting you at risk of bad faith insurance. Take the following steps to protect yourself if this happens:
1. Gather evidence.
Collect as much evidence as possible to support your claims, such as medical records and witness statements. Make sure to document all communication with the insurance company and keep records of any payments you receive.
2. Do not accept the initial offer.
Insurance companies may try to get you to accept a lower offer than you deserve. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for higher compensation. Although the negotiation process can take some time, having patience is essential to the successful resolution of your case.
3. Seek legal advice from Jared Spingarn in Hollywood, Florida.
It is always best to consult an experienced wrongful death attorney who can help you understand your rights and protect them during negotiations with the insurance company. Schedule a free consultation with Jared to discuss your wrongful death case.
4. File a grievance.
If you believe the insurance company has acted in bad faith, you can file a grievance with The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation or even take legal action against them. Your attorney can also handle this process for you.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Filing a wrongful death suit can be a complicated and emotional process. To give you an overview, here is a step-by-step guide to filing a wrongful death suit:
Step 1: Determine who can file the claim.
The first step in filing a wrongful death suit is determining who has the legal right to bring the claim forward. In Hollywood, Florida, it is the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.
Step 2: Establish liability.
It is important to establish who is liable for the wrongful death of your loved one. This may require extensive investigation, such as collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses.
Step 3: Calculate damages.
The court will consider various factors to calculate the amount of compensation you are eligible for, such as funeral and medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
Step 4: File a complaint.
Once you have established liability and calculated damages, you can file a formal complaint with the court. This will initiate the legal process and allow your attorney to begin negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company.
Step 5: Negotiate a settlement.
Your attorney will begin negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company to reach a fair and just settlement agreement. If no agreement can be reached, your case may proceed to trial.
How long will a wrongful death lawsuit take?
On average, wrongful death cases settle in a period ranging from 10-12 months. Of course, this timeline can be extended due to several factors that may impact the case. Sometimes, it could take years – even longer if you have to go through litigation – before your claim is settled. Common elements or circumstances which will shape how long the process takes include the following:
- The complexity of the circumstances surrounding the death
- The availability and strength of available evidence and witnesses
- The number of parties involved in the suit
- Delays or obstruction by the defendant’s insurance company
- Whether or not the case goes to trial
It is important to remember that wrongful death cases often take a substantial amount of time, so it’s important to be patient and remain optimistic. Your attorney will do all they can to reach a favorable outcome in your case as quickly as possible.
Criminal Cases and Wrongful Death Claims
Sometimes, the individual who caused your loved one’s death may face criminal charges. If this is the case, you may still be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against that individual. The criminal case will not affect your wrongful death suit, and its outcome will not necessarily impact your civil claim. But a conviction in a criminal case can strengthen your civil claim and make it easier to prove liability. It is important to note that even if the responsible party is found not guilty in a criminal case, you may still be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Process of Receiving Wrongful Death Settlements
Once a settlement is reached, the process of receiving your wrongful death settlement begins. This process can take some time as the insurance company will need to review and approve all paperwork before your claim can be processed. Additionally, you may need to wait for court approval before any funds are distributed. Once approved, however, most settlements are typically paid out within a few weeks.
Once you are awarded a settlement, you should contact your attorney to ensure that the funds are dispersed correctly and in the amount agreed upon by both parties. Your attorney will also help ensure any debts or expenses resulting from the death of your loved one are paid off in full.
Now that you know how long a wrongful death lawsuit can take, you can begin filing a claim. Remember that the length of your case will depend on various factors, so it’s essential to be patient and remain optimistic throughout the entire legal process. By getting help from the experienced wrongful death attorneys from Jared Spingarn’s law firm, you can be sure that all aspects of your case are handled professionally and that you have the best chance of receiving a favorable outcome and maximum compensation for your losses.
>> If someone you know got involved in an accident that resulted in a wrongful death in Florida, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jared Spingarn, Accident Attorney, at 1-954-781-2316 for a Free Case Review or drop a message on their Contact Us page.