Personal Injury Lawsuit Process in Florida
It can be scary for those who have never gone through the personal injury claims process. There are many moving parts and messing up one of these steps can jeopardize your case. Below, we discuss what you can expect from the personal injury claims process and how a personal injury lawyer can help you every step of the way.
The Injury Process Starts with Filing a Claim
Your first step in the injury claims process is to file a claim. Depending on how your injury occurred, you might file with your insurer or the other party’s auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or business insurance.
When You File with Your Insurer vs. When You File with the Party’s Insurer
The type of accident determines how you handle your case.
Let us use a car accident as an example: Florida is a no-fault state, which means you typically start off with your own insurer. You file an injury claim against your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and hope to get the compensation you need and deserve. In some cases, your insurer will attempt to give you less than you deserve. If so, you may need to continue on through the next steps in the process.
If your injury costs eclipse the limits of your coverage—and the other party caused or contributed to your accident—you can file a claim with that driver’s insurance coverage.
What You Can Expect After You File a Claim
The first thing that will likely happen after you file a claim is that you will receive a call from an insurance adjuster wanting to discuss your injury. They will likely ask you for a recorded statement. Agreeing to this statement can jeopardize your case.
We always recommend our clients deny the request for this statement and instead call us. We can either handle the statement on your behalf or sit in on the call with you to ensure you do not say anything that might ruin your case.
Our Team Will Investigate Your Accident
While the other party is attempting to determine how your injury occurred, our team will conduct its own investigation. We will gather all necessary evidence to prove your case. Evidence might include:
- The accident or incident report
- Eyewitness testimony
- Photos of the accident or your injuries
- Expert witness testimony
- Medical records
- Surveillance video of the accident
- Previous complaints against the defendant
Expect a Negotiation
The insurance company does not want to pay your claim. They will do anything they can to pay you less than you deserve. One of the many things they do is offer a very low settlement in the hopes that you will accept anything you can get.
Many accident victims do not know they can negotiate this offer. Our team can handle this for you.
You Can Take Your Case to Trial
If the insurer refuses to give you the settlement you deserve, you can take your case to trial. There are several steps you can expect if you take your case to trial.
Filing of the Lawsuit
Your first step is filing a lawsuit. In many cases, this is enough to get the other party to offer you a fair settlement. If not, the case continues.
Once you file your lawsuit, discovery begins. Discovery is the process of gathering evidence. The plaintiff’s side (the injured party) can obtain evidence from the defendant’s side and vice versa. This part of the process can take months. This is why it is so vital to start immediately.
In the discovery process, you may find yourself answering an interrogatory or giving a deposition. An interrogatory is a written list of questions that you answer. A deposition is a recorded interview you give.
Making Your Case in Court
Once both sides have the evidence they need, they build their respective cases and bring them to court. Both sides then make their case, attempting to persuade the jury to take their side. If the jury believes you deserve compensation, it will issue a verdict ordering the defendant to pay you. If it believes you do not, it will issue a verdict for the defendant.
Filing an Appeal
A verdict against you does not mean it is the end of the road for you. If the jury decides in the defendant’s favor, you can file an appeal. When you file an appeal, you must determine the correct court in which you must file. Once you determine the correct court, you must build a case that establishes the original court erred when it made its decision on your lawsuit.
Be Aware of Deadlines
Each state has its own deadlines for filing a lawsuit. If you fail to file within this time, you may be unable to recover any amount of compensation. Be sure to get started early to ensure you protect your right to compensation.
For example, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in Florida is four years from the date of the accident. Our team will ensure your case is filed in time to get the compensation you deserve.
The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato Is Here to Help
Navigating the personal injury process alone can be scary. Fortunately, you do not need to do so. Our personal injury attorneys will stand in your corner, fighting for you. We will stand up against the insurance company and fight for your right to compensation throughout every stage of the process.