How Long Does it Take to Settle a Wrongful Death Claim?
Posted on February 24, 2021
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Wrongful death is a terrible tragedy that occurs due to negligence, default or intent to harm another person. If you recently lost a beloved family member in any type of incident in Dallas, such as a car accident or physical assault, a wrongful death claim could result in financial compensation to help you pay the bills. Find out how long it may take your family’s wrongful death claim to settle in Texas.
No Average Settlement Timeline Is Accurate Per Client
It is important to realize that no two wrongful death claims are exactly alike in Texas. Some resolve in a matter of just a few months, while others take multiple years to finally end in payment for surviving family members. Searching for average settlement timelines for wrongful death claims, therefore, will not give you an answer that is accurate for your particular case. Instead, each case is unique and requires careful evaluation by a wrongful death attorney for an accurate timeline.
Factors That Can Impact a Wrongful Death Settlement Timeline
The main factor that will determine whether you will resolve your wrongful death claim in a matter of months or years is whether it settles or goes to trial. The average insurance settlement takes three or four months from the time the family submits an insurance claim to the family receiving a settlement check.
If an insurance settlement is not possible or in your family’s best interest, however, your case may require a full-blown trial to resolve. A trial in Dallas can take a year or longer to complete depending on how many cases the courthouse has to hear. In a busy county with a congested courthouse, your family might not receive a court date for a long time.
In addition to whether or not you achieve an insurance settlement, several other factors could also affect your recovery timeline. Your wrongful death case may take longer to resolve if:
Fault is complicated, such as in a hit-and-run auto accident.
The insurance company is refuting fault or arguing someone else’s shared negligence.
The defendant is simultaneously facing criminal charges, such as homicide or manslaughter.
Your case is worth a significant amount of money, making an insurance company want to delay payout.
The insurance company is treating your wrongful death claim in bad faith.
Although it may be difficult, you must exercise patience during the legal process after the wrongful death of a loved one. There are ways your family can pay the bills in the meantime, such as through your own insurance company, a workers’ compensation claim or insurance subrogation. A lawyer can help your family front the costs of a lawsuit while you wait for your case to resolve. Waiting can be worthwhile if accepting a quick settlement will not provide the compensation your family deserves.
Why It Is Dangerous to Rush a Settlement
Insurance companies put their profits and bottom lines over client payouts. Reducing and rejecting insurance benefits as often as possible is how insurance companies remain profitable. It is important to keep this in mind during wrongful death settlement negotiations – especially since you cannot renegotiate a settlement amount once accepted.
The first settlement offered to your family may drastically underestimate the past and future losses connected to your loved one’s death. It is up to you to negotiate with the insurer until you are certain the offer is fair, even if this extends your timeline. While it may be tempting to rush into a fast settlement and finish your wrongful death claim, waiting could make a significant difference.
Although no amount of money can ever make up for the loss of your loved one, a fair and full settlement or judgment award could allow your family the financial stability you need during this difficult time. Consult with a wrongful death attorney in Dallas for more information.