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How Long Does a Wrongful Death Case Take?


    If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, you may be interested in filing a wrongful death case. Naturally, you’re going to wonder how long it will take before you can get the verdict or settlement you deserve, so your family can find closure. You probably want to get the legal process over with as soon as possible.


    Unfortunately, there’s no easy timeline when it comes to estimating how long your wrongful death case might take. The only hard time limit is that the case typically has to be filed within two years of the death of the victim (although there can be exceptions to that rule). Let’s go over the process of a wrongful death case, so you know what to expect in the coming months.


    If you’ve lost a loved one through someone else’s negligence and are thinking about filing a wrongful death case, talk to a trusted Atlanta wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. The right attorney will give you the best possibility of receiving a favorable verdict or settlement.


    What’s the Process of a Wrongful Death Case?


    A wrongful death case usually begins with a Letter of Representation sent from your lawyer to the negligent person/entity and a request for insurance information. Next, the attorney will typically interview scene witnesses and send open record requests to first responder agencies for documentation such as 911 call transcripts, wreck reports, EMS reports, etc.  Unfortunately, the process of investigation and preparing a case can often take months before a lawsuit is even filed. If you speak to an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer quickly after the death, you can get your case started with plenty of time to spare. It does not pays to procrastinate in these cases.


    The actual wrongful death case could take anything from a few months to a few years. The less certain the liability and the more complex the entities involved in the case, the more time it can take for the case to come to a settlement or a verdict.


    If the case is not settled, it will go to court so the jury can render a verdict and award damages to the victim. Of couse, if a case settles, there is no need to go to court.


    What about Cases that Settle?


    In a settlement, the two parties come to an agreement out of court. This often happens when trial presents enough risk for both parties such that the everyone is incentivized to agree on an amount / make a deal. In many cases, insurance companies will begin by offering a low settlement in the hopes that you will accept less than what your case is worth, either because you don’t know its value or because you need the money badly enough that you have to accept their low offer.


    Ideally, court presents a better opportunity to maximize the value of the case. But sometimes, depending on the risk involved, it makes economic sense to force a favorable settlement instead of taking the case to trial.


    Generally, a case that reaches a settlement will come to an end faster than a case that goes to court. Remember, the court case happens only if the two sides are unable to come to an agreement that both parties will accept.


    When Should You Talk to an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer?


    If you are thinking about filing a wrongful death case in Atlanta or the surrounding areas, it’s a good idea to talk to an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer as soon as you can. Again, you generally must file your wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death of the deceased, so the sooner you get the legal process going, the better.


    Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation, so even if you’re not sure you want to file a wrongful death case, you can have your options evaluated by a professional. Remember: the statute of limitations is two years. Get on the phone today and avoid disappointment later.