How Long Does It Take To Settle Wrongful Death Claims?
Posted in Wrongful death on May 26, 2021
If you have lost somebody you love due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, your family may very well be entitled to various types of compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. However, these cases can be challenging, and there are many complications that can arise at every step along the way when pursuing justice and compensation from the at-fault party. Here, we want to discuss how long it takes to settle a wrongful death claim in Tennessee. We will tell you upfront that there is no “single” time frame in place for these situations.
Settlements Will Bring a Quicker Resolution – But Think Twice
Wrongful death lawsuits that are resolved through settlements as opposed to going through the trial process will not take nearly as long. An initial settlement offer could come as quickly as a few weeks after a claim has been filed. However, just because a wrongful death lawsuit settlement may bring a quicker resolution, does that mean that this is the best option for family members or the estate of the deceased.
We understand that family members are often left in precarious financial situations after the loss of a loved one. This is particularly true if the person who lost their life was the primary income earner for the family. However, it is not uncommon for insurance carriers or at-fault parties to offer unreasonably low settlement amounts in an effort to make the case go away. It can be tempting to accept these initial offers if you are in a financial tough spot. However, please understand that insurance carriers are going to do anything they can to limit the amount of money they pay the family members of the decedent.
An initial settlement offer should be the starting point for a more lengthy negotiation. It is not uncommon for wrongful death settlement negotiations to last for months.
The Trial Process can Take Some Time
This is where we need to point out that the Tennessee wrongful death statute of limitations is one year from the date of the deceased’s death. This is important to keep in mind. This is a very short time frame, and if family members or the estate of the deceased failed to file a wrongful death lawsuit within this one-year timeframe, they will lose the ability to recover the compensation they deserve.
After a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed, though, the process can take some time. It is not uncommon for wrongful death lawsuits to last for years. Again, we understand that family members may be experiencing financial trouble as a result of the loss of life. Hearing that these cases can take years to resolve can make matters worse. However, if you and your attorney have decided to turn down settlement offers because they are inadequate, there is a good chance that you will be able to recover more compensation through a personal injury jury verdict.
Always Work With an Experienced Attorney
It is crucial for family members who have lost a loved one due to the actions of another individual or entity to work with an attorney as soon as possible. Wrongful death cases are far too challenging for individuals to handle on their own. A skilled Tennessee wrongful death lawyer can use their resources and legal expertise to handle every aspect of these claims on behalf of their clients. This includes making sure that all claims are filed on time and appropriately, handling all communication and negotiations with other parties, and fully preparing the case for trial if necessary.
How Much Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth?
If you have lost a loved one due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another individual or entity, then we know that you and your family members are grieving. Tennessee law allows for various individuals to file wrongful death lawsuits in an effort to recover closure and compensation for what happened. Here, we want to look at how much a wrongful death lawsuit may be worth. We will also examine the specific types of compensation that may be available to family members or the estate of the deceased.
What is a Wrongful Death Settlement or Verdict Award?
A wrongful death settlement in Tennessee is the money paid by an at-fault party to resolve injury claims that resulted in a fatality. In general, wrongful death settlements are paid to family members or the estate of the deceased in Tennessee. A settlement will typically end the civil lawsuit revolving around the death.
However, if a wrongful death settlement cannot be agreed upon by all parties involved, the case will move forward to a trial. A jury will have to determine whether or not the defendant caused the deceased’s death and how much compensation, if any, is owed to the family members or the estate of the deceased.
The Average Wrongful Death Settlement
It is very difficult to put a dollar amount on a wrongful death claim without looking at the particular facts related to each case. Every wrongful death claim will have inherent differences that an attorney will need to evaluate to help them determine the appropriate amount to request in the case. A wrongful death lawyer in Tennessee will never be able to guarantee a specific dollar amount to family members or the estate of the deceased. However, an attorney can assess several factors in order to help determine what fair compensation would look like. These factors can include:
- The age of the deceased
- The deceased’s future earning potential
- The deceased’s medical bills and other expenses related to the injury that caused their death
- The available insurance policy coverages and limits
- The level of pain and suffering the deceased endured after their injury and before their death
- The level of pain and suffering the deceased family members have endured and will continue to endure
Insurance carriers and wrongful death juries have to consider that wrongful death claim compensation amounts are intended to provide for the deceased’s loved ones for as long as the deceased would have been able to provide for them had they lived a full life. Because the personal income of the deceased will play such a large role in determining this amount, settlements can range from thousands of dollars to well over a million dollars.
An Attorney Needs to be Involved
If you have lost somebody that you love due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual or entity, you need to work with a skilled Nashville wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can examine all of the facts related to the case, and they can work with economic experts when determining how much compensation should be requested on behalf of the family members or the estate of the deceased.