Were you recently hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault? The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are over 39 million medical exams for unintentional injuries in the US. You could easily be one of these 39 million injured patients.
In Florida, there is a legal structure where you can receive compensation for your injuries. If you can prove the other person’s irresponsible behavior or negligence is responsible for your accident, then this guide is for you.
Learn more here about the Florida personal injury lawsuit process and how you can ask for help to cover your damages. Do your homework today and our system of justice will award you for your loss.
Personal Injury Definition
Personal injury is defined as any damage to a human’s physical or mental well being. Examples of personal injury can range from stress and trauma to burns and broken bones. Personal injury includes any illness or disease or that weakens the normal performance of someone’s mental or physical health.
There are many common types of personal injuries, including:
- Dog attacks
- Medical malpractice
- Public or private property liability
- Motor vehicle collisions and
- Work sight injuries.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Process: Step by Step
Navigating the personal injury case process may not be foremost on your mind following your accident. You will most likely be experiencing other feelings like pain or shock.
It’s important, however, that you follow these action steps to reinforce your case.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, your best course of action is to pull over to a safe area immediately to assess the scene. Be sure to check and see if you or anyone else involved in the collision have any injuries. Call 911 to request help and then exchange information with others involved in the accident.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
It’s vital you call and get medical treatment as soon as you can. Sometimes, injuries won’t be immediately visible nor apparent. Swelling and scar tissue can form many days after the accident occurred. These symptoms are called delayed onset injuries.
Talk to your physician to make sure that any injuries are diagnosed and treated right away. Documenting this medical exam can help prove the accident caused your injuries.
Collect Your Evidence
Evidence plays a central role. Write down the details of your accident as you remember them. This will help you recollect the facts during your lawsuit process. Take pictures of the accident scene as well as your injuries.
Report the Accident to Law Enforcement
Communicate with law enforcement so they can file a report. Police create their own report you can use to support your case.
Hire a Lawyer
In Florida, personal injury attorneys are the experts thast can guide these cases through the legal system so the victims can focus on recovering their good health.
When researching possible candidates, victims should find those professionals who have extensive litigation experience. There’s a chance the case will move towards a trial if a victim can’t negotiate a settlement. They’ll want a professional with years of successful experience in the courtroom.
Follow the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations specifies the amount of time a victim has after their injury to file a lawsuit in the court system. If a victim doesn’t file their claim before these deadlines, they can’t receive reimbursement to cover their damages.
The Florida Statute of Limitations for a personal injury case is four years after the injury occurred. There will be times when a victim isn’t aware they are injured until later. When they do discover these delayed onset injuries, they have one year from the date they discovered their injury to file a lawsuit.
Demands for Compensation
Personal injury attorneys will prepare demands for compensation on your behalf. The demand letters summarize the injuries, include the amount of compensation the victim expects to receive and information on how the other party or parties are liable for their client’s damages.
Complaint and Answer Phase
A personal injury claim (or “complaint”) alerts the local courts that a victim intends to collect payment from the responsible party. Complaints are filed in the court system where the responsible party lives or where the injury took place.
These complaints are built on the accident facts gathered (i.e., medical records, accident reports, site pictures, etc.) The victim’s lawyer will also draft any legal arguments on why the other should reimburse the victim for their damages.
When victims file a legal claim, the responsible party must respond to the evidence and arguments presented to the court. If they don’t respond, the court automatically rules in the victim’s favor. If the responsible party disagrees with the presented arguments, the claim then moves along to the discovery phase.
Discovery is the trial process where both sides of a case exchange their evidence. Each side shares their expectations so all parties involved can choose their next course of action.
During this phase, lawyers perform a process called a deposition. Conducting a deposition is another way lawyers collect all the evidence of the case before the claim proceeds any further.
The responsible party can submit a motion either before or after the discovery phase to request the court to act in their favor. This request might include a request to dismiss some or all of the victim’s claims in the lawsuit.
If these motions are filed, the victim’s lawyer must respond in writing within 28 days if they oppose the dismissal motion. Sometimes a judge will hold a hearing so they can hear both arguments in response to the motion to dismiss the case.
Approximately 95 percent of personal injury cases are settled outside of the court system. If both sides want to reach a private settlement, the lawsuit is dropped and the parties move on to mediation to negotiate outcomes.
Attorneys for both sides can draft a settlement that outlines expectations for both parties. These expectations can include payment terms, due dates and any installment amount.
Personal Injury Trial Phase
If the victim and the responsible party don’t settle the case, the claim moves into the trial phase where a judge or jury makes the final decision on whether victims should receive compensation and how much.
If you’re a victim and think you have a strong personal injury claim on your hands, then you should act today. Collect your own pictures and testimony to outline what exactly took place during your accident.
Schedule appointments with many different personal injury lawyers to find the professional that’s right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their litigation experience.
Check out our website for more insights on the personal injury lawsuit process. You can speak with us for free. Call 904 LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.