Lakewood Wrongful Death Case Process
When a family member has reason to believe that their loved one died through the negligence of another, they may initiate a civil claim. Whether a loved one passed away as a result of medical malpractice, an automobile accident, a workplace accident, or another form of carelessness, our team is here to help. Contacting an experienced attorney should be your first step in starting the Lakewood wrongful death case process, in part because failing to act quickly could result in you being barred from pursuing compensation.
Investigating a Lakewood Wrongful Death Case
Once retained, a diligent lawyer will have the decedent’s surviving loved ones sign releases to obtain the victim’s medical records, accident records in the case of a motor vehicle accident, and other records to make a determination as to whether negligence was involved. The evidence that a legal representative looks for will help them better understand the decedent’s position before their untimely passing.
If it is found that negligence was involved, an attorney will likely pursue the matter further by questioning appropriate witnesses through depositions and other discovery processes. At that point, negotiations will be undertaken with the representatives of the negligent party, which may include an insurance company, to discuss the settlement of the matter. If a settlement cannot be reached, the parties will proceed to trial.
How Long Does the Wrongful Death Case Process Typically Take?
While some cases may settle quickly, even in a matter of months, other wrongful death cases can take anywhere from one to four years to resolve. Even if a case does not go to trial, it may take an extended period to perform a thorough investigation of the wrongful death. In addition to the investigation, several factors can impact how long the wrongful death claims process will take to resolve.
First, damages and losses attributed to the deceased and their dependents can alter the length of a case. For example, the wrongful death of a 19-year-old person who is no longer in school and unemployed may be very different from the wrongful death of a married professional in their middle age who is a spouse and parent of four dependent children.
Furthermore, each of those survivors may have distinct individual claims for the loss of their spouse or parent. Thus, the number of survivors filing on the decedent’s behalf will be a critical consideration. Other factors that could influence the length of the Lakewood wrongful death case process include:
- Whether the surviving loved ones make a good presentation to the jury
- Whether the jury feels empathy for the survivors
- The jury’s perception of how valuable the decedent’s life was, including their contributions to the community
- The amount of insurance coverage available to resolve the claim
- The identity of the wrongdoer and the type of witness they will make
- The jurisdiction, venue of the case, and the particular judge and jury
Finally and most importantly, the skill and reputation of the lawyer whom the surviving family chooses to work with will play a significant role in the length and outcome of the local wrongful death claims process. Perhaps the most important decision that a surviving spouse or family member can make is the choice to work with an experienced attorney.
How Does the Cause of Death Impact the Case Process?
How egregious the act of the defendant was will contribute to the value of a wrongful death case. For example, if the defendant caused a motor vehicle accident due to their intoxication and already had a number of other legal actions against them for drunk driving, those factors would add to the value of the case.
Similarly, if the case involved medical malpractice, and the doctor has had previous malpractice cases, that would influence how egregious the negligence was. These factors impact the surviving family’s damage award and can make the wrongful death case process more worthwhile. It is advisable to let a Lakewood attorney look into these factors to maximize the potential compensation a family can recover from the wrongful death case process.
When is a Wrongful Death Case Considered Complete?
A wrongful death case is completed either when the matter is settled for an amount which is acceptable to the survivors, or the matter is ultimately resolved in a legal action and the surviving family members receive the award.
Ask an Attorney about the Lakewood Wrongful Death Case Process
Engaging in the Lakewood wrongful death case process may seem daunting after the loss of a loved one. Fortunately, you do not have to face this process alone. Our attorneys are available to help you move forward from this difficult time by getting you the compensation your family deserves after such a tragic event. Call our firm today for compassionate legal guidance in your case.