How Long Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?

May 5, 2022
How Long Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?

All wrongful death cases are different. Therefore, there is no common timeline for all wrongful death cases. Your case may settle very fast, maybe even in a few months. Other times, the case may take a longer time, stretching to years. However, the particular details of the case will help determine how long a wrongful death lawsuit can take.

The death of a loved one is no doubt grief-inducing. You may want to seek justice as soon as you can to help you get closure. A wrongful death lawyer can start working on your case promptly and help you navigate the process of recovering damages by filing a lawsuit.

Is There a Time Limit to Bring Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Despite what you may think, you do not have infinite time to file a wrongful death lawsuit after your loved one's passing. The statute of limitations sees to that. The statute of limitations is a law that varies by state and provides a timeline within which you must bring the civil suit against the defendant.

Under Florida Statutes § 95.11, the law gives you two years to bring an action for wrongful death. If two years pass, and you have not filed a suit, you lose the ability to file a case. This is because the court will likely dismiss your case.

Thus, to make sure this is not the case for you, you should start the legal process soon after your loved one's departure. This will ensure you safeguard your case. A wrongful death attorney can help you and your family start proceedings as soon as possible.

Must You Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

For wrongful death cases, the plaintiff will likely have to prove that the defendant acted negligently. There are certain factors involved in proving negligence. As the plaintiff, you will have to show that the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care.

A duty of care is a legal obligation to act reasonably to avoid causing foreseeable harm to other people. For example, if your loved one died from a car accident, you will have to prove that the driver owed them a duty of care. In a car accident case, this duty of care is the driver's responsibility to follow the rules of the road.

What's more, you will also need to demonstrate that the at-fault party did not adhere to their duty of care. For example, the other driver may have breached their duty of care by speeding.

Finally, you will have to prove that your loved one's death was a direct result of the breach of duty of care. A wrongful death lawyer can help you gather facts and evidence to aid in proving your case. Furthermore, how long it takes to gather evidence will impact how long your lawsuit will ultimately take.

What Losses Can You Be Compensated for in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death occurs because of someone else's reckless actions. Road accidents and medical malpractice are unfortunately two common causes of wrongful death. The deceased may have gotten severe injuries from the incident and gotten medical care before passing on. Therefore, damages will most likely include the cost of medical expenses. Damages can also include funeral costs. 

In some instances, you can also receive compensation for the pain and suffering that the passing of your loved one caused. If the deceased was the family's breadwinner, it may place you in financial peril. Thus, a settlement would also include the lost earnings.

A lawyer can help understand what compensation you may be entitled to. They can also help you build a strong case that portrays how much you and your family suffered because of your loved one's passing.

Why Should You Exercise Patience?

Some individuals may try to settle with the insurance company out of court. Unfortunately, insurers do not always look out for your best interests. Thus, they may offer you a quick settlement. Oftentimes, the first offer can be rushed and lower than what you deserve. This means that it may not cover all the expenses that you incurred as a result of the victim's death.

After examining the first offer, you may reject it and negotiate a higher amount. If you still cannot reach an agreement, you can try to get a better settlement in court. 

Get Help From the Dolman Law Group in Your Wrongful Death Case

When you are grieving the loss of a family member, following up with a case may just drain you. At Dolman Law Group, we can take that responsibility off your shoulders and handle the case for you. Reach out to us today to review your case.