How long does a case of wrongful death take from beginning to end?

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How long does a case of wrongful death take from beginning to end?

My cousin died during recovery of a heart attack by contracting an infection that was not treated in time.The ME put the name of the infection as his cause of death. His wife wants to talk with an attorney about the case.

Asked on May 6, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is no simple answer, since how long a case takes depends on a myriad of factors, including:

1) How open and shut it is, and also how much is being sought: when liability is clear and the amoung being sought is not excessive, it is more likely there will be a settlement, which could result in a quicker resolution; and conversely, when liability is more suspect, and/or the amount being sought is so large that the defendant and/or insurer will refuse to pay, it's more likely that the case will have to go at least through trial.

2) How actively does the plaintiff (person suing) try to push matters ahead?

3) How much factual "discovery" is  required--are there lots of witnesses and experts to depose; extenstive test results and other records to go through?

4) How crowded is your local court docket (or calendar)?

5) Does the defendant try to wear the plaintiff down by raising every possible procedural objection?

6) At the end of the case, if the plaintiff wins, does the defendant appeal?

A wrongful death case would almost always, even best case, take several months to settle; but if it goes to trial and then is appealed, it could be, start to finish, 3, 4, 5, or more years.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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