When someone files a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf or on behalf of the deceased’s estate, they are seeking monetary compensation for financial losses and emotional suffering. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our attorneys and staff are dedicated to fighting for the legal rights of family members. Once the litigation has ended, either through a court award or settlement, the family will want to know when they will receive payment. If there are no problems, it usually takes about six weeks from the end of your trial or the date settlement is accepted. Below, our Baltimore wrongful death attorney looks at the process in more detail.
How Long Will a Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
The time it will take you to receive your settlement is also impacted by the length of your wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death litigation is often complicated, including several pleadings, responses, discovery, pre-trial motions, and settlement conferences. All of this takes place before the case goes to trial. it is impossible to say precisely how long a case could last. However, it is not unusual for a wrongful death lawsuit to take two to four years. At any time during this process, you and the defendant could reach a settlement agreement. Our Maryland wrongful death attorney will always advise you with your best interests in mind.
The Maryland Wrongful Death Settlement Process
Wrongful death claims in Maryland typically end in one of three ways – the plaintiff losses the case, the plaintiff wins the case and the court awards a certain amount of damages, or the plaintiff and the insurance company agree on a settlement amount. For the purpose of this article, our Maryland wrongful death attorney will only be considering the court award and a settlement agreement.
In cases where a settlement offer is agreed upon before a court or jury makes a final determination, the liable party is accepting responsibility for the death of your loved one. When this happens, there are no further issues to argue over. However, your payment will still have to go through a settlement process.
If the court awarded you a judgment in your wrongful death lawsuit, two things could occur. First, the defendant could accept the result and start moving forward with processing your payment. However, a defendant could appeal the court’s decision. If this happens, you could be waiting an additional year or two before receiving any settlement. This assumes the defendant is not successful in appealing the court’s original decision.
Whether the parties agree to a settlement or the court awards damages, attorneys representing both parties will inform the court that their clients agree to the settlement. Once this happens, the court will issue an Order of Settlement. Both parties are then required to submit certain documents to the court.
Paying Out a Maryland Wrongful Death Settlement
Once both parties agree to a settlement or accept the court’s decision, the family member will want to be paid. Often, some expenses have been incurred and there are bills waiting to be paid. After the emotional stress involved with the wrongful death litigation, a family is just looking to move forward.
Signing the Release
As stated above, both parties must file certain documents with the court. the defense attorney will prepare a document known as the “release” that will outline the settlement agreement’s terms. Depending on the facts of your case and the terms of the settlement, this document could be a couple of short paragraphs to several pages long. Unfortunately, some defense attorneys will purposefully make a release overly complicated to delay payment. Our Bethesda wrongful death attorney will thoroughly review the document to ensure that there are no objectional terms and that it adheres to the agreement that was made or award that was ordered.
In cases where the parties cannot agree to the terms in the release, the court will have to be involved. This will increase the time it takes to receive your settlement payment. Our office will do everything possible to move the proves forward.
Once all the terms are agreed upon, you will have to sign the release. Even though our office has carefully reviewed the document, you should still read it, so you understand all the conditions. If you have any questions, our dedicated Maryland wrongful death lawyers will address your concerns.
Cutting the Check
Once the release is signed and delivered, the insurance company has a legal obligation to make the payment. In most cases, the check from the insurance provider will be made out to you and our firm. the check will also be mailed directly to our office. This usually takes about three weeks from the time the insurance company receives the signed release. However, there are situations where clerical errors or other small issues could delay the process a few days or weeks. If there is a problem, our Maryland personal injury lawyers will contact the insurance company.
Distribution of the Settlement Proceeds
Other factors could delay your payment. Other parties, such as creditors, could have placed a lien against your settlement. Once our office receives the check, it will be placed into an escrow or trust account.
If there are any outstanding liens, they will have to be paid first. Some typical liens in a wrongful death claim include medical bills or funeral costs. In addition to payments to lien holders, our office will be paid our fees according to the representation and fee agreement you signed at the beginning of the case. After all other interested parties have been paid, a check will be sent to you or the deceased’s estate.
If You Have Questions About a Wrongful Death Lawsuit, Contact Our Maryland Attorney for a Free Consultation
After an emotionally draining wrongful death lawsuit, an exhausted family member just wants to move forward. Part of that includes being paid the settlement. Our Ellicott City wrongful death attorney will work closely with you to ensure the process moves forward quickly. If you have questions regarding your wrongful death settlement, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a consultation.