The time it takes to resolve a wrongful death case depends on the nature and extent of damages, how long it takes to discover all of those damages and then quantify them to the satisfaction of the insurance company to make a reasonable offer of settlement. In the course of litigating a wrongful death case, there really isn’t any different timeline than any other civil lawsuit, and in Kansas, a wrongful death case, from the date of filing to the date it’s tried successfully before the court, is usually within one to two years.
In the process of settling a wrongful death case, it’s usually a shorter timeframe than a civil cause of action only because there isn’t anything else that’s likely to happen. Because the victim of the negligent act is deceased, everything is pretty much set, and nothing else is really going to change as far as damages. It’s just a matter of gathering all the documentation together to make the appropriate damages claim against the appropriate insurance carrier.
There are a number of types of damages that are important to outline to the insurance adjuster. If you don’t understand how damages are assessed in Kansas in a wrongful death case and don’t include all of the possible elements of damages, such as Wentling damages, which are a special type of economic loss, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table in the negotiation process. It is nowhere near as simple to evaluate damages for wrongful death cases as it typically is for assessing damages in an ordinary personal injury case.
In a wrongful death case, we are talking about the loss of human life, which is a permanent, unchangeable, irreparable and significant loss to any family. If you don’t know how to value that properly and what evidence you need to value that properly, you need an attorney. In most cases, people don’t really understand what the damages are for a wrongful death case, so they need an attorney to assist them in that assessment.
What sets us apart is that we have the patience to “mine” the details of a wrongful death case and go the depth and distance it takes to get every single dime that a person is entitled to as an heir to the victim of a wrongful death. We will go the distance to hire the appropriate economics expert and any other expert that needs to be hired to place the value of the claim in such a fashion that the wrongful death victims or heirs will make a complete and total recovery.
One of the things that we have here in Kansas is a limitation on wrongful death, $250,000 for non-economic damages, and in many wrongful death cases outside of Kansas, the cases are worth far more than that in non-economic damages, but they are limited in Kansas by the statute. This means you need an attorney who is knowledgeable about the economic losses that are calculated under Kansas law when it pertains to wrongful death, and our firm spends a lot of time and effort on many wrongful death cases to make the types of recovery necessary for folks to get a complete recovery for their wrongful death case.