It can be easy to almost reflexively think of wrongful death claims in terms of litigation: how to establish all of the elements of the cause of action, what the statute of limitations is, whether a survival action is also a possibility, and so on. But too much focus on the litigation-related aspects can lose sight of the important consideration that many wrongful death lawsuits in Connecticut will be settled between the plaintiff and defendant before reaching the point of a jury verdict.
As an example, take the settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit against a Stamford physician who was involved in a surgery that the allegedly resulted in the eventual death of a newborn infant. The wrongful death claim was about to go to trial when the parties reached a settlement for payment by the doctor of an unknown amount of money.
The pace of civil litigation is such that ample time will usually be available for the attorneys for both sides to undertake detailed fact investigations and a thorough application of those facts to the governing law of the state. This frequently leads plaintiffs and defendants to engage in negotiations, the outcome of which will depend at least in part on how the parties themselves come to see the relative strengths and weaknesses of their cases.
In a wrongful death or any other personal injury-based lawsuit, the diligence of the attorney in the pretrial stage of the claim can have a significant impact on questions like how favorable settlement terms will be or whether litigation can be avoided. If you need legal counsel in such a situation, consider his or her approach to case research and negotiation as well as litigation when making your selection.
Source: CT Post, “Doctor settles wrongful-death lawsuit,” Daniel Tepfer, Nov. 17, 2015