Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be a daunting process. There are papers to file, witnesses to gather, and court laws to consider, all while you are likely still grieving the loss of your loved one. These cases can be complex and take a great deal of time to resolve; however, understanding the steps can help you create a projected timeline for the resolution of your lawsuit.
Consult an Attorney
Before you can gauge how long your wrongful death lawsuit might take, it would be wise to speak to an attorney to ask a few questions regarding its details. For example, you might ask questions related to the preparation of the case, such as:
- How long it will take for him or her to speak to witnesses
- When he or she can serve those you believe are responsible for your loved one’s death
- How soon you can file the lawsuit
While your lawyer may not be able to provide you with a specific time frame, you might get a better idea of how long you could be in court.
Discover the Statute of Limitations
While some personal injury lawsuits allow you to file from the time you discovered your injuries, this cannot apply to those who were killed in a negligent manner. Most states place a statute of limitations on wrongful death cases, so you may want to ask your attorney which laws apply in your jurisdiction. Generally, most states allow up to three years from the date of the death for you to file a claim.
File a Complaint and Summons
If you want to expedite your wrongful death claim, you can ask your lawyer to file your notice of complaint and summons to the defendant as soon as he or she has approved your case. Once the defendants have been notified of your intent to sue, they typically have 60 days to answer the complaint, in writing, and if this fails to happen, the court may find in your favor by default.
Consider a Settlement
You could shorten the length of your lawsuit with an out-of-court settlement. During this process, you and your lawyer negotiate for you to accept a sum from the defendant to avoid a lengthy court case. You may opt for mediation or arbitration, both of which include the presence of a neutral third party who assists you with reaching an agreement. Your attorney can usually be present during these proceedings.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be an arduous process, but there is help available for creating a projected timeline for your case. Speak to a wrongful death lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer in Woodland Hills, CA, today over the phone or online today for more information.
Thanks to the law offices of Barry P. Goldberg for their insight into creating an estimate of the timeline for a wrongful death lawsuit.