One of the most frequently asked questions for wrongful death attorneys in Mobile is how long a wrongful death case takes to reach a resolution. Unfortunately, there is not a standard answer to this question. On average, most cases take anywhere from two to four years to reach a resolution, whether that be a settlement or an outcome from a court trial. However, there are many factors that may shorten or lengthen the amount of time it takes for the wrongful death case you file to reach a resolution. Here are some of the most common factors that can affect how long a wrongful death lawsuit may take to complete.
Whether the Parties Can Reach a Settlement or the Case Has to Go to Trial
One of the factors that has a major affect on how long it may take your wrongful death case to reach a resolution is whether the parties can reach a settlement or whether the case has to go to trial. If the other party admits fault right away and is willing to settle for a fair amount, the case may be over relatively quickly. However, if the other party is disputing fault and/or the other party or their insurance company is not willing to offer a fair settlement amount, the case will have to go to trial. Trial cases take longer to settle than cases where a settlement can be reached by both parties.
How Long the Discovery Process Takes
Another factor that plays a role in how a wrongful death case will take to reach resolution is how long the discovery process for a particular case takes. During the discovery process, both sides are obtaining evidence. They may be taking depositions from witnesses, subpoenaing camera footage, or waiting for a police report to be released. In some cases, discovery is fairly fast. The footage from cameras may be turned over and there may be no witnesses who have come forward. In other cases, discovery can take a while. There may be multiple witnesses, and those witnesses may not want to talk. Court orders may be needed to compel people to talk or produce evidence. This can slow the discovery process down, which can ultimately slow down a resolution.
If There is a Criminal Case Pending
When it comes to wrongful death cases, a defendant can be tried both criminally and civilly if laws have been violated. For example, if someone shot and killed your loved one or drove drunk and killed them, they can be tried both criminally and civilly. Typically, wrongful death lawyers wait for the criminal case to wrap up before proceeding with a civil case. This is because they can use the verdict of the case and the evidence presented in the case to bolster the civil case. However, criminal cases can take time to conclude, which means the civil trial may take a while to reach a resolution.
How Long It Takes Local Courts to Schedule Cases
The final factor that affects how long it will take a wrongful death case to reach a resolution is how far out local courts are scheduling cases. Once both sides have completed the discovery process, the case can proceed to trial. Some courts schedule cases a couple months out, while others may be scheduling cases almost a year out. If your local court house is bogged down by cases, it may take time before your case can proceed to trial, and ultimately reach a resolution.
When you are meeting with wrongful death attorneys in Mobile, it is very common to ask questions, such as how long your wrongful death lawsuit will take. Unfortunately, there is simply no way to predict how long it will take. It is very common for cases to take several years before they settle, but some cases are settled very quickly if both parties are able to reach a resolution. Wrongful death attorneys in Mobile know that losing your loved one is already hard enough, so they will do their best to help your case reach a fair conclusion in a timely manner.