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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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