Losing a loved one to illness or old age is painful and heartbreaking. However, the loss is even more terrible when your family member dies due to the careless or intentional actions of another person. When they pass away from a mistake that could have been prevented or a malicious act in California, you must take legal action to hold the wrongdoer accountable with the help of a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer.
One of the first questions you may have is, “How long does it take to settle wrongful death claims?” The last thing you want to add to your grief is a drawn-out legal battle with the person who caused your loved one’s death. The answer is not simple since many factors can affect the timeline of your case.
Wrongful Death Claims in California
The California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 allows family members to bring a wrongful death claim when a person dies due to the wrongful act, negligence, or default of another person.
These lawsuits can be initiated by the deceased’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, children, or grandchildren if the children are not alive. They may also be brought by the estate of the victim through the personal representative. Regardless of who initiates the lawsuit, the claim must meet certain elements to qualify as wrongful death.
These elements are:
- Proof of the death of a person: As expected, the plaintiff must show evidence that the person in question is actually dead. This typically includes providing a death certificate and other relevant documentation.
- The presence of negligence or the intent to cause harm: You and your attorney will need to demonstrate that the defendant engaged in careless, reckless, or malicious actions (or inactions) that led to the victim’s death, either partly or as the entire cause.
- Evidence of causation: Your attorney must show evidence directly linking the defendant’s actions to the death of the victim.
- Proof of damages: You will need to show receipts and other relevant evidence that you and other survivors now bear the burden of quantifiable damages as a direct result of the death. This can include all medical expenses involved in treating the loved one prior to their passing, as well as funeral expenses, burial costs, and the loss of income and potential earnings your family will experience. You may also seek compensation for your grief, pain, and suffering.
Wrongful death lawsuits fall under state jurisdiction that dictates how negligence is proven and what damages can be awarded. It is critical that you have the services of an accomplished and trustworthy wrongful death attorney to ensure you present the strongest case possible. Every case is unique, and the decision hinges on which side offers the most convincing argument.
We will work tirelessly to help you recover the compensation you need to move forward with your life
Wrongful Death Insurance Claims
When your loved one’s death happens as a result of a premises liability, product liability, or personal injury incident, you likely have grounds to file a claim against the responsible party’s insurance. For example, you may file against a homeowners’ policy, a business’s property insurance, or a motorist’s automotive insurance. This is often less time-consuming than pursuing a trial.
Insurance companies are interested in reducing what they pay you to protect their profits. Even in wrongful death claims, they are ready to mislead you and claim innocence on behalf of their policyholder rather than settle for the compensation you need. However, with robust evidence and an aggressive attorney, you can frequently come to a satisfactory agreement.
So, how long does it take to settle a wrongful death insurance claim? Depending on the negotiation, it can take as little as a few weeks to several months.
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Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When the insurance company tries to make lowball offers, delays in responding to your claim, and generally refuses to meet your demands, your attorney can also prepare your case for court. Although it takes more time and money, a wrongful death lawsuit frequently allows the surviving family members to recover a greater amount of compensation for the loss of their loved one.
There are many situations when your attorney may advise you to move to a lawsuit when insurance negotiations break down. For example, you may need to file a wrongful death suit when:
- The insurance company denies your claim without a valid reason.
- The insurance provider refuses to give a fair offer.
- The defendant denies their responsibility for your loved one’s death.
- The amount of your damages is greater than the coverage limits for the insurance policy.
Some families will choose to accept the best offer the insurer makes rather than face the expense, time, and effort required for a trial. When your case goes to court, it will automatically take longer due to discovery, motions, and other procedures. Wrongful death lawsuits can stretch from just a few months to years before a final verdict is reached. When your lawyer discusses moving to a lawsuit with you, they will give you their best estimate of how long it will take.
Speak with a Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If your loved one has died and someone else is at fault, you need answers, support, and compassion to decide what to do next. A wrongful death case is complex enough, but if there are other factors, such as a criminal trial or multiple defendants, it will be more than you can manage while you also face your grief.
Turn to the team at Venerable Injury Law to secure professional legal guidance and understand your options. We are prepared to listen to your story during a free initial consultation. We then give you our best advice to obtain the compensation you deserve. We also offer a contingency fee structure, meaning you do not pay us unless we secure a settlement or jury award for you.
Take action now and schedule a meeting with us using our online form today.
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