Personal Injury Lawsuit Process in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that compensation for losses and damages must be recovered from your personal insurer, irrespective of who was at fault for an accident. This contrasts with the tort system followed in at-fault states, in which responsibility for an accident must first be determined before you can sue the at-fault party for damages. This applies to vehicle accidents, medical malpractice cases, and more.
Personal Injury Protection in Fort Lauderdale
For some accidents, personal injury protection (PIP) can help cover injury-related expenses after an accident, regardless of who caused it. However, PIP has its limitations and does not cover property damage or catastrophic losses. If you suffered severe injuries that PIP does not cover, you may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation.
To file a lawsuit and receive help with the personal injury lawsuit process in Fort Lauderdale, please contact the personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale at (954) 633-8270. We can help you understand your case, the steps you need to take, and the kinds of evidence needed to file a claim.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Steps in Fort Lauderdale
A personal injury lawsuit is based on some form of personal injury or personal losses. You may suffer injuries at work, in a vehicle accident, on someone’s property, at a hospital, or while using a product because of the actions—or inaction—of someone else, such as a doctor, an employer, or a caregiver. As soon as an accident occurs, you must:
- Seek medical attention.
- Notify your insurance company about the accident.
- Keep track of your expenses and losses.
- Submit a letter to the relevant insurance company demanding compensation for your losses and injuries. If the insurance company agrees with your assessment of the accident and your expenses, it may settle with you.
- If it does not, you must file a complaint with the relevant Florida court. The court will then conduct a thorough investigation of the case. This is called the discovery phase and can take between six months and one year. The insurance company may wish to settle with you during this period.
- If not, once the discovery phase is complete, you must argue your case in a trial, and a judge or jury will decide the outcome. Your case might get appealed and other motions may occur, but an eventual determination is usually reached within 12 to 24 months of filing your initial claim.
For cases based on negligence, you have four years to file a demand letter. For medical malpractice cases, the timeline is two years. Be sure to collect receipts and proof of your losses and injuries right from Day 1. Call the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato at (954) 633-8270 to learn more.
To Win Personal Injury Lawsuit You Need To Prove:
The steps above are quite straightforward, but meeting filing deadlines and collecting evidence can be difficult for anyone unfamiliar with the law. Beyond collecting evidence, to win a personal injury lawsuit you will need to prove:
- The party you are suing owed you a duty of care, defined as reasonable actions or behaviors that would protect you or prevent harm.
- The at-fault party breached this duty in some way, either by negligence, distraction, inexperience, carelessness, recklessness, or wanton disregard for your wellbeing.
- This breach in the duty of care resulted in a harmful event or an accident of some sort.
- You suffered various losses, injuries, or damages because of that harmful event or accident.
A breach in the duty of care can happen in different ways. For example, anyone driving on the road automatically owes other drivers a duty of care by driving safely. Likewise, doctors are expected to know how to perform their duties and treat specific illnesses. A failure to meet basic industry-specific standards that are generally accepted by the public may constitute a breach in the duty of care.
Contact Us for Assistance
An insurance company may deny your claim based on a failure to provide evidence or meet filing deadlines, or they may claim that your injuries are not covered by your policy. There is no reason you should suffer such an outcome if your case is valid. For assistance with the personal injury lawsuit process in Fort Lauderdale, please contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato at (954) 633-8270 today.
FAQs Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
When you’re facing painful injuries and someone else could be responsible, you could seek compensation through a personal injury case. Whether you were involved in a car accident, slip and fall, or another type of accident, a personal injury case could be brought following many different injury scenarios caused by a negligent party. An attorney can help you navigate the personal injury lawsuit process and seek the best possible results.
What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Each case is different, and each lawsuit may involve a unique process. However, many Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuits will consist of the following steps:
- Complaint letter: This details the injury and requests compensation.
- Answer: The defendant responds to the complaint.
- Discovery: Each party requests information about the case.
- Pre-trial negotiations: This can include settlement, mediation, and arbitration.
- The trial itself: A judge and jury may decide whether the defendant owes the plaintiff damages. Not all cases go to trial, however.
- Collection of the damages: If the defendant is found legally responsible, they or their insurance carrier will pay compensation.
- Appeal: If either the plaintiff or the defendant disagrees with the trial’s outcome, they may be able to appeal.
How Successful Are Personal Injury Lawsuits?
A personal injury lawsuit’s success depends on the injury’s severity and the strength of the evidence. For example, suppose a property owner failed to demarcate a slip and fall hazard like a wet area on the floor. In that case, a personal injury case could be strong—especially if serious injuries resulted.
However, if the injured party did something to contribute to their injuries, the other party could try to challenge the case. Additionally, the liable party could claim that the plaintiff didn’t promptly seek medical attention. This is where a lawyer can help the plaintiff defend their case and seek fair compensation.
How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement?
If you are seeking compensation for an injury that’s severely impacted your quality of life, it’s understandable that you might be hoping for a settlement to come as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the time it takes to reach a settlement versus the time it takes to reach one that covers your expenses are two different matters.
Many insurance companies try to settle quickly to avoid paying the full amount. If you choose to seek full compensation, the process can take longer. The extent of your injuries and whether or not you have legal representation can also affect the time span of a lawsuit.
What Are the Odds of Winning a Lawsuit?
Since everyone’s personal injury case is unique, it’s challenging to make a blanket statement about the likelihood of winning any particular lawsuit. That said, some factors that can strengthen the potential of a case. You set a strong foundation for your case if:
- You sought out prompt medical treatment.
- You (or your lawyer) are on top of all paperwork related to your case.
- You avoid making statements that could be seen as a statement of guilt.
- If filing for a car accident, you made a police report as required by Florida Statutes § 316.066.
Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers can coach you on actions that will help maximize the success of your lawsuit.
How Do You Win in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Personal injury lawsuits are won based on clear demonstrations of the defendant’s negligence and the severity of the injuries that you have suffered. For this reason, it’s essential to gather all evidence that could show negligence and, if necessary, bring in medical experts who can testify on your behalf regarding the cause of your injury.
Working with an attorney can help guide you through what can otherwise be a confusing and stressful process. The pain and disability caused by your injuries can also make it difficult to keep track of paperwork and other tasks.