How Long Does A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?

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Losing a loved one is extremely painful, and made even more difficult when the death was caused by an avoidable incident. When this happens, it is typically considered a wrongful death.

Families of a lost loved one can get some closure by going after the guilty party in a court of law. This will get them compensation for their financial losses and pain and suffering. But going through the process can be quite stressful and time-consuming. Plaintiffs will want the ordeal to be over as soon as possible.

So how long does a wrongful death lawsuit take? It varies, depending on several factors.

While our lawyers at Eltringham Law Group may not be able to speed up your case, we will manage it professionally from start to finish, and we will fight to ensure that you will get the compensation you deserve.

This article will cover the steps in a wrongful death lawsuit, so you know how to determine the time to settle a wrongful death claim.

What are the Steps in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Here are the steps involved in a wrongful death lawsuit:

Determine if you have a case

To determine if you have a case, you will need to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim and that the duty of care was breached. You must also prove that the victim’s death was directly caused by the defendant’s negligent actions and that damages were incurred due to the loss of the loved one.

Your lawyer will be able to tell you if you have a strong case before proceeding.

Open a probate estate

A probate estate ensures that any financial recovery is dispersed to the proper beneficiaries of a wrongful death. If there is a will in place, the process will be a lot simpler. If not, relatives may argue over who will get what.

Establish what damages you are seeking

Next you must establish what damages you are seeking. These may include:

  • Loss of income that the deceased was contributing to the family
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses incurred to save the decedent’s life
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

Filing a Lawsuit & Discovery phase

Typically, a lawsuit will be filed in a wrongful death case where there is sufficient insurance coverage. The next step is called discovery. This often lengthy process involves the gathering of pieces evidence to establish a wrongful death claim. Gathering the evidence from the various parties can take a while, but a wrongful death attorney will know what information to round up on your behalf. This may include:

  • Witness testimonies
  • Expert testimonies
  • Medical reports
  • Police reports
  • Photos taken at the scene of the crime

Seeking and negotiating a settlement

Parties will often try to settle before they file a lawsuit and go to court. This can be a time and money-saving solution for everyone involved. If a settlement can’t be reached, it can draw out the case considerably once a lawsuit is filed.

Going to trial for a wrongful death

If the parties are unable to reach a settlement before or during the litigation process, the case will have to go to trial to be heard by a jury. This will involve waiting for a court date and going through all the legal proceedings.


If you are unhappy with the final decision, you may file an appeal. This will make the case take even longer.

What are the Factors That Affect How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?

In summary, the length of a lawsuit can be drawn out by:

  • The deceased not having a will
  • Waiting for pieces of evidence in the discovery process
  • Extensive negotiations during the settlement
  • Having to go to court because a settlement can’t be reached

Call Eltringham Law Group for Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When answering how long a wrongful death lawsuit takes, there is no concrete timetable. There is however a typical process, and at Eltringham Law Group Personal Injury & Car Accident Attorneys, we promise to do everything we can to make the process as swift and stress-free.

Contact us for the assistance you require filing a wrongful death claim. We guarantee attentive service towards your best interests.

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