It is not always necessary to file a lawsuit to receive a settlement for a wrongful death claim. Your wrongful death attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company of the negligent party. Any resolution of the legal claims related to your loved one must be submitted to the Judge in Surrogate Court for approval because that Judge is in the best position to determine how any proceeds will be distributed. Therefore, even if a lawsuit was not commenced, the settlement will still require approval by a Judge.