How long does a wrongful death claim take until we get the money?
This really depends on the complexity of the case. For instance, if there are low limits, ($300,000.00 or less), no liability issues and no minor beneficiaries, then things are probably going to happen fairly quickly, without even the necessity of filing the claim in Court. In many instances, if the beneficiaries can agree on the distribution, there will not need to be a hearing and everything can be agreed upon on paper. It is a matter of gathering the information, (death certificate, letter of administration, medical bills and records, prior medical records, earnings information) presenting it to the insurance company, and getting the money.
If we are dealing with a commercial policy (meaning larger limits in excess of $1 Million), or in any event there are liability issues, and/or there are minor beneficiaries, things are going to take longer. We will likely need to file the claim, and seek Court approval for any compromise. There may be depositions under oath, and other formal discovery.
In such cases, our office will usually conduct video interviews of beneficiaries and people who were close to the deceased, later to be edited. These are then oftentimes combined with excerpts from video depositions of the defendants, videos of the scene of the accident, as well as videos and photos of the deceased provided by the family in order to create something with a tremendous emotional impact to present at a mediation of the claim. Mediation is a procedure whereby the parties attempt to settle before heading to an expensive trial.