Beginning the process of filing a wrongful death claim is an important step in the lives of many grieving families. Pursuing justice on behalf of a loved one can hold wrongdoers accountable, prevent future harm, ensure the financial stability of surviving family members, and help loved ones achieve a sense of peace and closure after injustice.
But before taking this step, you may be asking: How long does a wrongful death lawsuit take?
There is no one, single timeline that all wrongful death cases follow. Most wrongful death cases take somewhere between two and four years. Some cases, however, settle within a year or even within several months. Some take much longer, especially those that are not able to settle out of court.
A wrongful death case is a highly complex legal procedure that can’t be rushed to a conclusion. A good attorney will give your case the time it needs and deserves to reach the best possible outcome for your family.
Why Should You Not Settle a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Quickly?
It’s tempting to settle a wrongful death case quickly. We fully understand why many families are concerned about how long their wrongful death lawsuit will take.
It’s common for individuals to face extreme financial insecurity after the loss of a family member. If the deceased was the primary breadwinner for the entire household, it can be unsettling to look toward a future without knowing how you will pay for life’s essentials like rent or mortgage, utility bills, car payments, groceries, or the cost of children’s education.
For many people, settling quickly means certainty. It means paying off pressing bills and keeping the family out of debt. It means not having to think about it anymore.
But while a quick settlement may be an immediate fix, it is not a long-term solution.
Insurance companies are well aware of the predicament many families find themselves in after the wrongful death of a loved one. In fact, early settlement is one of the most common tactics insurers use to save money and sweep cases under the rug. An early settlement award looks appealing, but it is never a fair outcome for the family.
The first number the insurance company offers may be hundreds of thousands of dollars lower than what is rightfully deserved. But because many plaintiffs are still in the grieving process, are facing impending bills, and may not know the full extent of their rights, many people—understandably—take up the pen and sign a settlement agreement early in the process.
As a law firm experienced in wrongful death lawsuits, we at Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC want to encourage you to remember that a wrongful death case takes time. You shouldn’t enter the process expecting to reach a fair settlement overnight.
When we commit to representing our clients, we commit to dedicating as much time and effort as is needed to get full and fair compensation. The last thing we want is for our clients to realize a year down the road that they’ve been cheated out of a settlement that could have set them up for true economic stability.
Not all lawyers devote as much time to wrongful death lawsuit cases as we do. For both insurance companies and law firms, a quick settlement is an easy one. But we believe that your family deserves better. And the results we get for our clients prove that we live up to our promises.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Mississippi?
Under Mississippi law, there are a number of parties who can benefit from a wrongful death claim, although only one wrongful death lawsuit may be filed for the individual’s death.
Those who may bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Mississippi are:
- A personal representative (or “executor”) of the decedent’s estate
- A spouse
- Parents (including adoptive parents)
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death in Mississippi?
The legal term “wrongful death” has a very specific definition under civil (tort) law. Not every accidental death is considered to be a wrongful death.
Per Mississippi Code Section 11-7-13, a wrongful death must meet the following requirements:
- Is caused by a negligent act or omission, an intentional act, medical malpractice, or a defective product
- If the deceased had survived, they would have been entitled to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit
Many different types of actions can lead to a wrongful death. Some of the most common examples of accidents and incidents that can cause the wrongful death of an individual include:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective medical devices and dangerous drug interactions
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Work injuries
- Defective products
- Dangerous premises
- Violent crimes
How Long Do You Have To File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Mississippi?
State law sets a time limit, or “statute of limitations,” on the amount of time you have to take legal action after the wrongful death of a loved one.
In Mississippi, the statute of limitations for most wrongful death lawsuits is three years from the date of the decedent’s death. When the death was caused by an intentional act (such as a violent crime), surviving family members have only one year from the date of death to bring forward a claim.
There may be other exceptions that apply to your case, so it is best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss the timeframe of your wrongful death lawsuit. Building a strong case takes a significant amount of time, and the sooner you can begin the process with a trusted legal advocate, the better.
Get Professional Legal Help With Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit
At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we have over 150 years of combined experience handling Mississippi wrongful death lawsuits. We understand the sensitive nature of these types of legal cases, and we treat each client who walks through our door with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Don’t wait to learn about your legal options after the wrongful death of someone you love. We provide free case evaluations to equip families with the knowledge and resources to make the right decisions for them.
Contact our office to claim your free consultation. There is no charge or obligation to discuss your case with a qualified attorney from Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC.