How Long Does It Take to Settle Wrongful Death?


Wrongful death cases can be complicated and thus they can be time-consuming. There are many steps that your wrongful death attorney must take to resolve your case, including:

Setting up an estate. If your loved one died without a will, usually a spouse or other family member may file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. If there are no surviving family members, the court may appoint a personal representative called an “administrator.” If your loved one died with a will, the person appointed in the will as the “executor” may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Gathering essential documents. Your wrongful death lawyers in Philadelphia need to collect the evidence that will help your case succeed. Such evidence includes medical records, autopsy report, death certificate, toxicology lab results, witness statements, and physical objects related to the death.

Retaining the best experts. Your wrongful death case will likely require expert review and analysis. Your wrongful death attorney has access to the best experts in the country and they will ensure that the most qualified experts review your case and write an ironclad report to bolster your claim in court.

Evaluating the value of the case. Your wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia evaluates the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for Pennsylvania wrongful death damages.

Filing a timely lawsuit. Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute, you have two years after the official death date to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This restriction is typically referred to as the wrongful death statute or the statute of limitations. Your wrongful death attorney will file the lawsuit within this timeframe.

Conducting discovery. Discovery is an information-gathering process. It includes collecting and reviewing all medical records, doctors’ notes, hospital summaries, discharge instructions, etc. from the defendants. It also involves interviewing witnesses in what are called “depositions.” Both parties – that is, your lawyer and the lawyers on the other side – engage in this process, trying to collect as much information as possible to truly understand what happened that led to the wrongful death at issue.

Going to trial. Many wrongful death cases settle before the case is tried in a court of law. But not all. Thus, a trial may add anywhere from one to five weeks to the timeline of your wrongful death case.

All of this takes time. At a minimum, your wrongful death case will be resolved after several months. But in most cases, it will take several years before the case resolves.

And while that may sound disheartening, rest assured that the above process is handled by your wrongful death attorney to ensure that you collect the highest amount possible for the wrongful death of your loved one.

To talk with an experienced wrongful death attorney, contact the lawyers at VSCP LAW (

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