There are many factors that go into the decision to agree to a wrongful death settlement. For example, you have to look at the opposing individual(s) and their insurance company in order to evaluate whether or not they could be able to potentially give you the value you may be seeking. Often times you may be dealing with big companies with big insurance policies. Other times you might be dealing with smaller parties. There may also be the option to settle out of the court. You should weigh the costs and benefits of settling out of courts versus in court.
It is also wise to consult a knowledgeable attorney before deciding to settle. A West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer may be able to give you valuable insights on settlements.
Where to Settle a Wrongful Death Case
The location of a settlement agreement depends on the size of the parties and the size of the insurance policy. Often times, these cases are between big companies, which could mean that the case could be taken all the way to trial. However, there are other times where the case can be settled right before the picking of a jury or even during the jury selection. Cases can also be settled out of court in order to avoid court fees.
Costs and Benefits of Settling a Wrongful Death Case Out of Court
There are certain benefits to settling claims out of court, whether it is a wrongful death claim or any other type of claim. For instance, an individual can avoid the unpredictability of the jury. Often times an attorney can fully investigate a claim and be confident enough to go to trial, but juries may decide for the opposing party. By settling out of court, an individual could eliminate any risk associated with the unknown.
Other benefits would include lowering the cost of money an individual could spend by going to trial. An individual may incur much higher costs, which at the end, may come out of the settlement or the verdict. The lower the cost, the less may come out of a settlement.
Costs and Benefits of Settling a Wrongful Death Case in Court
By going to court an individual is litigating a claim. The defense understands the risk and the carriers know that the defense may be willing to take a verdict on the case. A court battle could also prove to be traumatic for the defendant and the carrier. Often, if the case is settled in court, the settlement could be worth more in comparison to settling out of court.
However, an individual must be able to convince a jury, and often times, the settlement could be worth less money if the court fees were included.
Statute of Limitations for Survival Actions
A survival action is different from a wrongful death claim. A survival action is one in which a person is bringing a claim from the date of the injury through the date of the person’s death. They are not making a claim for the damages associated with the death. Usually, the death is not related to the injury for which they are making a claim. For example, in a survival action, you may see something along the lines of an auto accident and somebody suffers from the date of that accident through the time they had a heart attack that was not related to the accident that led to their death. In other words, the cause of death is not related to the injury.
Therefore, the statute of limitations relating to a survival action is actually the statute of limitations that would have been attributed or ascribed to the underlying injury claim. So, if it were an auto accident and someone was suing under a bodily injury claim, the statute would be four years. If it was a UM claim, it would be five years. If the underlying incident was a medical negligence claim, it would be two years. In a survival action, the statute of limitations is whatever it would have been for the underlying injury claim.