Losing a loved one suddenly to someone else’s negligence can turn your world upside down. Not only must you arrange for that person’s funeral and pay the costs, but the grief and confusion you feel will likely be overwhelming. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit may help you recover financially and help you feel some sense of justice for the loss, but before you proceed, there are several questions you may want to ask your attorney about wrongful death court proceedings.
- Am I Eligible To File This Case?
Before you move ahead with your wrongful death lawsuit, you may want to ask your attorney if you are eligible to file. Not everyone can bring forth this type of lawsuit; however, if your loved one was a spouse, child, parent, or grandparent, you will most likely be able to file. Some jurisdictions may also apply their own rules, so it can be wise to have your lawyer review them as well.
- Will I Have To Appear In Court?
Many wrongful death cases go to trial due to their complexity, but this is usually not the case for 100 percent of the lawsuits filed. You may be able to settle your claim through arbitration, where a third party will listen to your grievances, as well as the defendant’s side, and then make recommendations based on what he or she has heard. You will likely be allowed to have your lawyer present during these proceedings, as is the right of the defendant as well.
- Should I Accept a Settlement?
If you want to avoid appearing in court, you can allow your lawyer to represent you and negotiate a cash settlement for your wrongful death claim. While this can prevent a drawn-out court case during a time of grief, you may want to remember that some businesses that allow an insurance company representative to handle a settlement may try to coax you into accepting an amount that might be much lower than you could win in a court battle.
- How Long Does a Wrongful Death Case Take?
No two cases are alike, as each has its own circumstances, witnesses, and details that make it unique. Depending on how complex your lawsuit is, it could take anywhere from nine to 18 months to win a claim. Your attorney can provide you with information about the projected time frame of your individual case.
Losing a loved one to someone else’s negligent act can be devastating, but filing a wrongful death lawsuit may help you recover from the financial blows it can cause. Contact an attorney, like a wrongful death lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL, for an initial consultation and further assistance.
Thank you to the expert lawyers at Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for their insight into wrongful death cases and the law.