Your next step right now is to retain experienced competent representation. I am very sorry to hear about your cousin. The policy limits define the potential recovery. The insurance industry is part of the financial services sector of the economy, meaning that their number one job is to return a profit. In order to do so they delay, deny and defend each claim.
Here are ten reasons you and your family must retain an experienced attorney ASAP:
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You need to consult with a personal injury attorney immediately. I offer this opinion because the insurance company is not looking out for your family's best interest. It only cares about paying as little as possible. The recovery depends on many factors including the liability policy limits in place for the at fault driver, whether your cousin had under insurance coverage, whether he was a wage earner, whether your cousin had a wife and children or other persons who can pursue a wrongful death claim, as well as other factors. It is impossible to predict how long it may take to get the case settled because that depends on numerous factors as well, including whether a lawsuit has to be filed. Good luck.
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Although you can ask the insurer/lawyer what the policy limits are, they do not have to tell you. However, if you file suit, they must answer interrogatories about the amount of the limits, what policies exist on the owner, driver, business, etc.
You may settle out of court at any time, and there is no rule on how long same will take, It is simply a matter of negotiation as to amount. If you do not wish to settle, your only other option is to start suit.
It would be smart to have counsel to be sure you are able to correctly analyze liability, damages, amount of insurance, collectability, etc.
The family of your cousin needs to retain a wrongful death lawyer if he was killed due to the negligence of another person.The secret to finding a wrongful death lawyer is obtaining a good one with a low contingency fee, less than 30%, so your family is left with the lion's share of the settlement, not your lawyer. Any lawyer forcing a settlement down your throat is not the lawyer you want representing you. If your cousin was killed by a tractor-trailer for example, the settlement might be in the 5-10 million range, so you wouldn't want to settle it for 500k.
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In a wrongful death case you need to have approval of the Court in order to settle any case. Additionally, there have to be a personal representative appointed to settle the case on behalf of the Estate. You certainly need to retain a good personal injury attorney to handle this case. The amount of insurance is unknown at this time. Generally, you need to file a lawsuit to get a sworn answer from the insurance carrier as to all applicable insurance . Unless, they provide a sworn affidavit or sworn answers to interrogatories as to the policy limits, then you really don't know what they are. We have been doing exclusively Plaintiff personal injury cases in Michigan for almost 30 years. We are very experienced in wrongful death cases arising out of auto accidents. you can visit our website by clicking www.seriousautoaccident.com to get to our site. Good luck to you.
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You need your own lawyer on an hourly fee to help you sort this out. You should not hire an attorney on a contingency fee at this stage if they have already made an offer to you.
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I am sorry to hear about your cousin. You should speak to an attorney immediately. You could attempt to negotiate with the insurance company, but that is ill-advised at this time. There really is no average time for settlement. In Connecticut, insurers must issue payment within thirty (30) days of an executed release, but I cannot speak to the law in your state.
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I am sorry about your cousin. You do not have to accept any insurance offer. If it is your attorney and you do not agree, you do not have to accept it. If you do not have a personal injury attorney you need to get one NOW! I would not suggest you attempt to negotiate this case on your own.
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