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A Sarasota County or Manatee County wrongful death claim starts with the death of a person that is caused by the fault of another person or from some type of strict liability, such as the liability for defective products. Wrongful death lawsuits can be simple or complex, so it is often difficult to forecast how long it will take to resolve such a lawsuit.
If you feel you might have a wrongful death claim, immediately contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer – this should be your first step. Harris Law Group will evaluate the death claim and may decide to take the case if we feel there is a valid claim. Fill out this short form for a free case review with the wrongful death attorneys of Harris Law Group.
Your Sarasota County or Manatee County wrongful death lawyer may attempt to settle the claim by demanding money damages from the at-fault party or parties. If the case does not settle, the next step is to file a court document known as a “complaint” with the court to begin a wrongful death lawsuit. The person filing a wrongful death lawsuit is referred to as the “plaintiff.” The person sued is called the “defendant.” The complaint lists the facts showing why the plaintiff is suing the defendant, the law that supports the plaintiff’s claims and what the plaintiff is demanding by way of money damages.
A third party called a “process server” delivers the complaint to the defendant (or all defendants if there is more than one). The defendant is given twenty (20) days to reply to the complaint. This reply is called an “answer.” The answer sets forth the defendant’s defenses to the plaintiff’s claims and may even request the court to dismiss the case.
– Tom Harris
Wrongful death lawsuits can be very difficult to navigate, but thankfully you can rest assured that Harris Law Group will be there with you every step of the way. We will be by your side as we walk you through the entirety of the process, from beginning to end.
The plaintiff and defendant have an opportunity, right after the case if filed, to obtain information from each other about the wrongful death claim. This stage of the lawsuit is called “discovery.” Discovery consists of written questions called “interrogatories,” a deposition (or formal interview) under oath taken by a court reporter, and/or requests for documents and things.
Prior to trial, attorneys for either side may make legal arguments about the case to the court, called “motions.” These arguments may concern details about the complaint or answer, disputes over obtaining evidence, or an argument called “summary judgement” that one party is entitled as a matter of law to win the case without a trial.
As a case gets closer to trial, the judge will make a ruling, called an “order” in writing that requires both sides and their attorneys meet with a mediator for a Sarasota or Bradenton wrongful death settlement conference where the mediator tries to help the parties reach a settlement. This is usually good for both sides in that it avoids many of the costs of litigation including a long and costly court battle.
If a case cannot be settled, it will be set for trial before a judge or jury. During the trial, parties present evidence, including witnesses, and make legal and evidentiary arguments. At the end of the trial, the judge or jury will enter a verdict for the plaintiff or defendant. If the verdict is for the plaintiff, the judge or jury will also decide on an award of money damages.
The parties can appeal (have the case looked at again by a higher court) if there was a significant legal mistake in the trial.
To receive a FREE evaluation of your Sarasota or Bradenton injury or wrongful death claim, call Harris Law Group now or fill out the consultation form below.
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Tom Harris, Florida Injury Attorney, has over 39 years of experience, including 17 years of defending insurance companies before reinventing his law practice to represent injured people as a personal injury attorney.
Kyle Harris is a Florida licensed attorney who joined the family practice after starting his career as a licensed attorney in California