Wrongful Death: Settling Out of Court

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Not all wrongful death cases actually reach the trial level because wrongful death attorneys are able to negotiate a settlement with the other party involved before heading to court. Wrongful death can occur as a result of medical malpractice, automobile accidents, workplace accidents, product liability, drug side effects and much more. The damages that can be compensated in a wrongful death lawsuit include pain and suffering, medical and funeral costs, lost wages, lost benefits, loss of consortium and loss of inheritance. The majority of wrongful death cases are settled out of court because the defendant wants to avoid the media and publicity of his or her crime and the plaintiff wants to avoid the emotional stress that a trial of this magnitude brings.

There is important information on wrongful death lawsuit items to look at and consider when deciding whether or not to settle a wrongful death lawsuit out of court.

Those considerations include:

  • The amount the lawsuit is worth
  • The length of the trial
  • How long it will take to go to trial
  • Possible delays in getting to trial and/or length of trial
  • The honest assessment of the chances of winning at trial
  • Whether there are similar cases achieving positive or negative results
  • If there could be unfavorable publicity for either side if there is a trial
  • Potential disclosure of trade secrets or other confidential business information
  • Weaknesses in evidence collected by the plaintiff’s attorney
  • Weaknesses in other side's evidence
  • The possibility of having to pay the other side's attorney's fees if the trial results in a loss
If you or a loved one may have been involved in a Fatal Accident, consult with a Wrongful Death Attorney in your area today for a free case review in exploring legal remedies.

Other considerations to think about when deciding whether or not to settle a wrongful death lawsuit out of court include:

  • The ability to obtain a favorable judgment
  • The ability to enforce a favorable judgment
  • The other side's ability to pay the judgment if it is obtained before the trial and the ability to pay after an expensive trial
  • Whether there is the chance of arriving at a partial settlement
  • The other party’s desire to settle out of court too
  • The minimum that the plaintiff would accept to settle out of court
  • The possibility of settling out of court for something other than money such as a piece of property or services offered

There are two main options to settling out of court that do not include litigation.

Those two options include:

1.) Mediation - When the two parties will meet and discuss the case at hand with a mediator. The mediator will listen to both side of the case and provide advice to the parties as to how they should settle their case in terms of who pays money to which party.

2.) Arbitration - Includes the two parties and an arbiter. The arbiter will listen to both sides of the story when meeting with the plaintiff and the defendant. After the meeting or series of meetings are complete the arbiter will then make a ruling based on the information presented. The ruling will either be in favor of the plaintiff winning the case or the defendant winning the case. A nonbinding arbitration occurs when neither party likes the ruling handed down by the arbiter and the ruling isn’t binding. The two parties will then need to figure out how to settle their case.

Both mediation and arbitration are costly alternatives to litigation but do not cost as much as court fees and legal fees do and they do not take up as much time as a trial would either. Arbitration can cost anywhere from $500-$1,000 per meeting and mediation can cost anywhere from $50-$300 per hour.

 

If you or a loved one may have been involved in a Fatal Accident, consult with a Wrongful Death Attorney in your area today for a free case review in exploring legal remedies.
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