What is Involved in a Utah Wrongful Death Settlement?

If a loved one of yours has been killed in an accident or died due to medical complications, and you have been offered to settle out of court, what should you do?  What does a “settlement” even mean?  It is important to know the answers to these questions when you are facing big financial decisions after the death or injury of a loved one.

Especially when someone you know and love has died, it can be especially difficult to figure out how to move on.  It can be even more difficult if there is money and paperwork being offered to you that you do not understand.  It is important to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer who handles wrongful death cases to make sure that you are getting what you deserve and that you are not being cheated by big corporations or hospitals.  Darwin Overson is a personal injury attorney in Utah who has been handling wrongful death and personal injury cases for more than thirty years, and he will explain the basics of wrongful death settlement.

What is a Settlement?

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When a lawsuit occurs, and there is money in dispute, it can often be hard to come to an agreement.  Whether the suit is for damage to property, injury, or death, it can often be difficult for one side to admit blame and back down.  Because of this, many cases are fought for years until they are put in front of a judge and jury.  Then, the jury decides the facts and neither side admits it was wrong – but the issue is decided.

Sometimes, to avoid this long and expensive process of going to trial in court, parties will offer to settle a case instead.  Settlement can occur before a lawsuit is ever filed, or can occur after the lawsuit is filed.  Either way, both prevent drawing-out the process, avoid the expensive costs of trial, and save witnesses from the struggle of testifying and reliving bad memories.

The law, and certainly the court system, prefer settlements because they save the court (and the parties) time, money, and human resources.  Ultimately, because it is cheaper and easier for everyone involved, the vast majority of cases are actually settled rather than decided at trial.  But, many are not settled until each side hires attorneys and goes through discovery of the other side’s evidence.

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer?

In general, whether you should accept a settlement offer can vary greatly.  In the case of a slight injury or property damage, accepting a settlement is likely a good option.  In those kinds of cases, the cost of hiring a lawyer, paying filing fees, and going to court will likely outweigh any money you would win from a trial, so accepting a settlement makes sense.  Even if you can hire a lawyer who will not get paid unless you win, a share in such a small prize might not be worth the time.

In a more serious case of personal injury or property damage, and especially in cases of wrongful death, you should seriously consider any settlement offers before accepting them.

To put it plainly, if you do not have experience with personal injury lawsuits or wrongful death, you have almost no way of knowing what your case is actually worth.  Especially when you have medical bills or funeral arrangements to pay for, the thought of accepting a settlement may be attractive.  But, it is important to take the time to consider any settlement offer.  Your best move would be to consult with an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney who can help advise you on what to do.

Work With a Salt Lake City Wrongful Death Lawyer to Find Out How Much Your Case is Worth

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Especially for a wrongful death case, it can be nearly impossible to tell how much a case is worth without consulting with an attorney and experts.  There are likely resources online that give estimates for how much an injury is worth, but it is far more difficult to estimate what a death is worth.

There are so many factors in a person’s life that make evaluating the financial impact of their death very difficult.  People die in various places at various ages, levels of financial security, levels of potential future earnings, and health.  Because of this, it is difficult to estimate how much a case is worth without a consultation.

Additionally, there are other factors that help or hinder a case that may decide whether settlement is a good idea or not.  The availability of witnesses and evidence may make a case more or less provable in a court of law.  If a case cannot be proved in court, then there is little point in taking it to court, and settlement might be a better option.  Additionally, even small factors like how sympathetic the plaintiff is might affect the case.

If your loved one has been killed in an accident or died because of medical complications or misdiagnosis, make sure to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer before taking any settlements.  Darwin Overson is an experienced wrongful death attorney in the Salt Lake City area who practices throughout the state of Utah.  For a free consultation, call P: (801) 895-3143.


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