You can file a lawsuit in the Florida courts for the wrongful death of a loved one if you fit into one of the categories of people with a legal right to pursue these cases. The Florida Wrongful Death Act provides the rules you must follow when filing one of these actions.
Eight Steps for Filing a Wrongful Death Case in Florida
Each case is a little different, but the general progression is as follows:
Determine If You Can File
The first step is to be aware of what constitutes wrongful death and then determine if you are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit under the Florida statutes. You have the right to sue if you are the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased person. Other people who are related to the decedent by blood or adoption could file a lawsuit if they depended, in whole or in part, on the decedent for support or services. If you have the standing to sue, and the deceased person could have sued for his injuries if he had survived, you should proceed to the next step.
Choose Where to File
Figure out the correct courthouse where you should file the case. Your lawyer will ask you the questions needed to make this determination.
Collect Defendant Information
Find out the names and addresses of all the potential defendants. The sheriff will need their addresses to serve them with the pleadings and summons. Your lawyer can locate service addresses for corporations and arrange for all the defendants to get service of the summons and pleadings.
Draft and File Initial Pleadings
Draft the initial pleadings and file them in the correct courthouse before the deadline passes. If the deadline (also called the “statute of limitations”) has already expired, you will be out of luck, and the defendant can get the judge to throw out the case.
Participate in the Discovery Phase
Engage in the discovery phase of the lawsuit. During the pre-trial part of the process, you and the defendants try to get information about each other to present to the judge in the trial. In this phase, there will be depositions, interrogatories, and the exchange of documents.
If there is a settlement, your wrongful death lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and review the documents to make sure everything is in order. If the case does not settle, it will go to trial, which we will handle for you.
At trial, each side will present its evidence to the judge through witnesses who testify live in the courtroom. Both sides will also try to get the judge to admit into evidence things like:
- Accident reconstruction videos or models
Other items could be included as your evidence depending on the facts of your case. We will either follow through on getting you the money you win at trial or file an appeal if we are not happy with the court’s decision.
Follow State Law
You must follow Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure and evidence throughout the entire process. Making an error can weaken your case or give the judge reason to dismiss the lawsuit, even though your loved one’s death should not have happened. The experienced personal injury trial lawyers and our team of professionals at the Montero Law Center will take care of all these technicalities so that you do not have to worry about them.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney for Help with Your Lawsuit
Insurance companies defend wrongful death cases vigorously. They will look for any loophole or a mistake on your part to throw out the case or to keep out crucial evidence. It is vital to have a trial lawyer with many successful wrongful death settlements and verdicts on your side.
To get answers to your questions about a potential wrongful death lawsuit, please call the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500. The consultation is free. We never charge legal fees until you get compensation.