The wrongful death case process in Chicago can present unique challenges due to the tremendous loss suffered by the surviving family. If you lost a loved one due to the actions or negligence of another, you deserve quality legal representation and guidance through the litigation process. Consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney to begin fighting for full and fair compensation.
When Does a Wrongful Death Case Begin?
A wrongful death case starts immediately upon the death of the person. In fact, if the person was still alive after the accident and died later, then the case began as an injury case. It starts immediately because the at-fault party’s insurance company does not wait before gathering the evidence, positioning the case, and learning as much as they can about the family and about the decedent. Because evidence can disappear and memories fade over time, wrongful death attorneys also get started on a case right away.
The process of investigating a wrongful death case varies depending on the type of case. For example, attorneys investigate dangerous product cases differently than auto accident cases. Generally speaking, the investigation starts by finding out who the witnesses are, how the accident happened, who the interested parties are, and preserving evidence.
The evidence gathered in a wrongful death case is different than the evidence collected in other personal injury cases because the decedent is not there to testify. Without this testimony, a wrongful death case requires reconstructing what happened without the primary source of evidence. A skilled wrongful death attorney may be the best way to oversee that gathering of evidence.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Case Take?
A wrongful death case would usually a minimum of six months, if it settles. However, some cases may not conclude until the end of a jury trial, which can take three to four years. Sometimes one goes through an appellate process after they win a jury trial, or they lose and must appear in front of a second jury. In these cases, it could take eight years to finally win a case. However, most wrongful death cases take from three to five years from the date of the death.
Impact of the Cause of Death
Depending on the cause of death, liability may be easier or more difficult to prove. For example, if a person was killed by falling debris or machinery at a construction site, liability may seem obvious at first glance. However, proving the cause of death may be difficult and time-consuming.
For example, for a construction accident case, one may have to hire a products liability expert to analyze all of the equipment. They may also take depositions of all the witnesses and the project management. The complexity of the liability aspect of a case can have a tremendous impact on how a case proceeds and how long it takes.
Outcomes of a Wrongful Death Case
There are basically two ways for a wrongful death case to be completed successfully. One would be by settlement, which would be an agreement between the survivors and the responsible party – or its insurance company, employer, or the corporation. A case could also go through the trial and appellate process to be determined by a jury.
For compassionate guidance and support through the Chicago wrongful death case process, consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney. With the help of a wrongful death lawyer, you could hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. Call today to set up a consultation.