How Long Do Wrongful Death Lawsuits Take?


The death of a loved one always causes grief and anguish, but when the death was preventable and only occurred due to someone else’s actions, it’s particularly traumatic. The aftermath of a loved one’s wrongful death can be bewildering to close family members left behind, particularly when the deceased loved one was a family provider or the provider of household services, such as caring for children. In these cases, a successful wrongful death lawsuit can recover compensation for damages like funeral expenses, loss of household service, and lost income for the number of working years the decedent had left to them had they survived the injury.

how long does it take to settle a wrongful death in missouri

After a loved one’s wrongful death, close family members often worry about the impact of the death on their family’s financial state as well as their emotional well-being. A wrongful death lawsuit addresses financial hardship so surviving family members can focus on saying goodbye to their loved one and moving forward.

How Long Does It Take to Recover Financial Compensation After a Wrongful Death?

The process of recovering compensation in a wrongful death case varies depending on the circumstances of the case. When an experienced personal injury lawyer investigates all aspects of the death, documents clear evidence of liability, and makes a compelling claim for compensation against the insurance company of the party at fault, the process may resolve with a settlement within a year of the death. However, it may take longer if obtaining evidence in the case is challenging, if the insurance company repeatedly undervalues the claim during negotiations for a settlement, or if they wrongfully deny the claim completely. Sometimes both sides meet for mediation to attempt a resolution with a fair settlement.

Often, insurance companies reach out to a family very quickly after a wrongful death with a fast settlement offer. Grieving victims may accept this offer to avoid facing financial hardship; however, fast settlements are almost always less than the full amount available to the family members.

Do I Have to Go to Court for a Wrongful Death Case?

Most wrongful death claims are settled without requiring a trial. This happens when an attorney negotiates a wrongful death settlement. However, if the insurance company disputes the claim, underestimates the amount of compensation, or delays offering a settlement, the case may require litigation in court. In order to proceed in court with a lawsuit, the close family member filing the claim must file the lawsuit petition within the state’s three-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. The statute of limitations in medical malpractice deaths in Missouri is two years from the date of the incident.

Depending on the unique circumstances of the case, a wrongful death lawsuit that goes to trial could take a few years; however, most cases result in a verdict within 18-24 months.

How Can I Help My Loved One’s Wrongful Death Case Proceed Faster?

The wrongful death claim process takes time due to the necessity of a thorough investigation to compile evidence of liability. Then the negotiation process also requires time, particularly when insurance companies stall and delay—a common tactic to encourage family members to accept a low settlement offer.

By taking purposeful action after a wrongful death in Missouri, the family members may help facilitate a faster, more streamlined process. It’s difficult to keep a clear head during a time of shock and grief, but preserving important evidence helps to make a more compelling case. Family members can do this by taking photos at the accident or incident scene, gathering medical records from the decedent’s last physical, getting a copy of the medical examiner’s report, and obtaining proof of lost income.

Hiring a St. Louis wrongful death attorney with important documentation already in place to begin the investigation helps to streamline the process.