How Long Does a Typical Wrongful Death Case Take

When you’ve already suffered the loss of a loved one, starting a wrongful death claim may seem a bit intimidating. You may be wondering how long the process will last and whether it will bring you more anguish.

So let’s look at how long most wrongful death cases take and what you can expect if you move forward with a claim. It might be far less time-consuming and stressful than you’d expect – especially if you hire a talented wrongful death lawyer.

The team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help you handle the legal details and take a load off your shoulders during this difficult time in your life.

Every Wrongful Death Case is Unique

First, it’s important to know that there is no “typical” wrongful death case. Your case will be as unique as the circumstances that led to your loved one’s demise, which can be quite complex depending on the situation.

Generally speaking, certain factors work together to form the basis of your case:

  • Your relationship to the deceased
  • What types of damages are involved
  • What occurred at the time of the accident/incident
  • Whether your loved one died immediately or suffered for some time and required medical care
  • What kinds of evidence and documentation you have to support your claim

The timeline for your claim may be longer if your loved one didn’t die instantly. For example, if they were in a severe car accident and spent weeks or months in the hospital, a wrongful death case couldn’t proceed until the date of their death.

You’ll Need Proof of Economic and Emotional Damages

Cases that claim only economic damages, like a loss of financial support from a deceased spouse’s job, tend to move faster because these damages are easier to prove. It’s fairly straightforward to find pay stubs and other evidence of financial loss.

However, we encourage you to keep in mind that your emotional damages also matter in a wrongful death case. Don’t let anyone try to discount your suffering or minimize this aspect of your wrongful death claim.

Emotional damages can be hard to prove without evidence, so work with your attorney to gather meaningful documentation that builds your case. An experienced attorney will understand the types of proof the courts want to see in these cases, like records that show your psychological treatment and grief counseling.

You may also have a claim for loss of consortium if the deceased person was your spouse. This is the loss of spousal physical intimacy you’ve suffered and it’s an important topic to discuss with your lawyer when bringing a wrongful death claim.

So as you can see, the timeframe of your claim depends on multiple factors. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’ve had California wrongful death cases take anywhere from a few months to a few years.

Of course, we’re always motivated to help you resolve things as quickly as possible. Contact us now to discuss how long your wrongful death case could take.

We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of personal injury claims. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation

Video Transcript

How long does a typical wrongful death case take? That really varies. I can’t tell you that I’ve had a typical wrongful death case. There’s so many different types of wrongful death cases with different damages, different timelines. For instance, I’ve had wrongful death cases where the death occurred at the same time as the accident. So the person was pronounced dead on the scene, and obviously that’s when the evidence starts coming in, that’s when you can start working on making a claim. So that goes a little more quickly than let’s say a case where I’ve had an accident take place and the decedent didn’t die until almost a year later because she was in the hospital and trying to recover from this. That obviously is going to take a year longer than the other case where the person dies at the scene of the accident.  So from that start point though, a wrongful death claim and case can be a few months long or could be a few years. So it really depends on how close the relationship was with the decedent and the person making the claim, how clean the evidence is. If there was emotional claims, whether those are documented, which is really difficult. So those cases tend to take longer than the ones where you’re making economic damages for loss of earnings and support. Those tend to go a little more quickly because they’re more straightforward. But there’s really no telling how long a wrongful death case will take because it’s not typical. But you would want to consult with a wrongful death attorney and kind of get a ballpark of when they think that the case would resolve.

Accident Client

If you’re someone who is considering an attorney for a personal accident, I highly recommend Sally Morin and her professional staff of attorneys. If you would like to know more details, feel free to contact me via Yelp and I would be happy to share more details. While I use Yelp quite often, I rarely post reviews… unless I’m truly blown away by great service (or angry with horrible service). If there were a sixth star, I would certainly give it to Rebecca and Sally!

We're here to help with your Personal Injury claim

Check out our Personal Injury FAQ Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including pedestrian and car accidents that involve speeding. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of San Jose and all of California. Contact us today for a
free online case evaluation.


It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible