What Happens in a Wrongful Death Case?
When you come into our office, our Fresno wrongful death attorney will listen to your story and review the facts of the case with you. Based on your situation, the attorney may suggest one or more legal remedies, including a wrongful death lawsuit. However, before filing a wrongful death lawsuit, your attorney conducts a thorough accident investigation to identify, gather, and preserve key evidence to use in proving the other party was at fault for the accident. The evidence may also be used to prove your damages. This may also include consulting experts, such as an economist, to determine the true value of your wrongful death claim.
After your attorney has evaluated and investigated your claim, he begins negotiating with the insurance company for the other party to settle your wrongful death claim. The negotiation phase can take several months as your attorney and the insurance company representative go back and forth discussing settlement figures. If the insurance company agrees to settle the claim, your attorney walks you through the process of settling the claim. However, if the insurance company refuses to pay a fair amount, your attorney may suggest you file a wrongful death lawsuit.
After the Wrongful Death Lawsuit Is Filed
Your attorney prepares the documents to file with the court to open a wrongful death case. The documents, usually a summons and complaint, are served on the defendant. The defendant has a certain number of days to respond to the allegations. After receiving the defendant’s answer, your attorney will request documents from the other side, schedule depositions of witnesses, and submit interrogatories to the other side. This pre-trail phase of a wrongful death lawsuit is designed to provide information to both sides regarding the case. It is an opportunity for us to see what evidence the other side intends to offer as a defense to the allegations in the lawsuit.
Your attorney can continue to negotiate a settlement throughout the pre-trail phase. A lawsuit can be settled at any time prior to a jury rendering a verdict, even if the trial has already begun. In many cases, the insurance company for the other party realizes how strong your case is during this phase and agrees to settle prior to trial. If the insurance company continues to deny fault or refuses to offer a fair settlement figure, the lawsuit proceeds to trial.
The Trial Phase in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your claim is not settled, your case proceeds to trial. Each side has the opportunity to address the court and jury at the beginning of the trial. Then both sides take turns presenting evidence and witnesses to support the allegations in the wrongful death lawsuit.
After both sides present their evidence, the jury deliberates to arrive at a decision. This may or may not end your lawsuit because both parties have the right to appeal. Therefore, a trial may not be the end of your wrongful death lawsuit. Most insurance companies choose to pay the verdict amount rather than spend additional time and money in appealing the jury’s decision.
Act Quickly to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
As discussed above, the pre-lawsuit phase can take many months to complete. Therefore, do not wait to contact our office. Act quickly to protect your legal right to seek justice for your loved one. Money will never replace your family member, but it can help provide for your needs and for the needs of your family. Furthermore, it sends a message to others that the behavior that caused your loved one’s death is not acceptable.
Our attorneys are here to help you during this difficult time. Call Torem & Associates at (888) 500-5000 to speak with a Fresno wrongful death lawyer. You may also chat with a representative online or use our convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.