Know What to Expect.

How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida: Process and Timeline

When you are hurt due to someone’s negligence, you have multiple options for obtaining compensation for your damages and injuries, such as filing a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuit process can be complex and may take a significant amount of time. However, working with a skilled personal injury lawyer can reduce your stress and expedite a settlement or verdict.

For more information about your specific case, contact attorney David I. Fuchs. He will listen to your story and give you the answers you need.

Call us today at (954) 568-3636 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.

Preparing for a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida

The personal injury lawsuit process in Florida begins with a few preparatory steps.

Get Medical Care Immediately

Right after the accident, you should get emergency medical treatment. This will prove that your injuries and establish the severity of your condition. You must go to a doctor within 14 days. If you miss this deadline, you will forfeit your ability to get compensation for medical bills through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.

Document Your Life After the Accident

Keep a journal detailing how your injuries and pain affect your life. You should also write down the names and contact information of doctors and medical providers you see.

Keep a File with All Important Documents

You should keep all essential documents in a file to give to your personal injury attorney. That includes medical bills and records, proof of lost wages, benefits used, and property damage estimates.

Track Any Benefits You Receive

You should also document all the resources that you are forced to use to cover your bills while you are unable to work. If you are forced to go on short-term or long-term disability assistance because of your injuries, you should keep track of those benefits. You should also keep records of the explanations of benefits (EOBs) received from your health insurance company if they initially cover your medical bills.

Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline

The length of time it takes to get through a personal injury lawsuit depends on many factors. According to Nolo.com, the average time it takes for a personal injury claim to resolve is 11.4 months. If you settle, it may take closer to nine months. However, if you have to take your case to trial, it may take 18 months or more.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

One of the first steps in a personal injury lawsuit is to call an attorney. Personal injury lawyers generally give free consultations, so you can find out if they are the right person for you and how they will handle your case.

File an Insurance Claim

Promptly notify the insurance companies of your accident and file a claim. Insurance companies often have a time limit within which a claim must be filed. Typically, you must contact your insurance company within 24 hours of the crash.

Determine the Value of Your Claim and Send a Demand

Your attorney can review the documents you’ve collected and help you determine how much your case is worth. The value of your case will depend on your medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages. Then, your attorney can send a demand letter to the insurance company asking for the full compensation equal to your losses.

Negotiate with the Insurance Company

The insurance company will likely refuse your initial demand. They may respond with a “lowball” settlement offer that will not cover all your damages. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement. It’s essential not to take the insurance company’s first offer.

According to Nolo.com, victims who accept an initial settlement offer from the insurance company get an average of $11,800. However, when an attorney negotiates for a more significant amount, victims get an average of $42,500.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company, your attorney can file a lawsuit with your local Clerk of Court. This tells the insurance company that you mean business.

They may even be more willing to offer an acceptable settlement at that point. Nolo.com reported that when a personal injury victim made no steps towards a lawsuit, they got $23,000 on average compared to $45,500 when a lawsuit was filed or threatened.

Engage in the Discovery Process

Once a lawsuit is filed, both parties will engage in discovery, which involves asking questions and exchanging documents. This allows you to get information from the other side that can be used to support your claims.

For example, if you were in a truck accident, you can ask the other party for recordings from any dashcams inside the truck at the time of the accident.

File Pre-Trial Motions

Before your case can go before a judge or jury, there are typically many conferences and hearings between your attorney and the defendant. In some cases, pre-trial motions to exclude certain pieces of evidence may be filed to limit what is used in the case.

Having an attorney with the experience to wade through the pre-trial motions can be especially beneficial, as motion practice is crucial in the personal injury lawsuit process.

Going to Trial

If the case cannot be resolved before the set date, it will go to trial. The insurance companies will likely have a large team of lawyers with many resources, so having an attorney of your own to protect your rights is critical.

Things to Consider with the Personal Injury Lawsuit Process and Timeline

The steps in a personal injury lawsuit can be complex and should be undertaken with the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer. Here are some things to keep in mind throughout the process:

  • There is a deadline or “statute of limitations” within which you must file a personal injury lawsuit –in Florida, this is four years from the date of the accident.
  • The legal process was developed for attorneys to excel. Sadly, most people do not know the process, and it causes great stress to undertake it alone.
  • Statistically, you will get more money if you work with an attorney.
  • Most personal injury lawsuits settle and do not go to trial.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida for Help with the Process

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else, you should not shoulder the burden alone. You deserve legal representation that can stand beside you and ensure you get the compensation you need to cover your damages.

Call attorney David I. Fuchs for a consultation to answer your questions and help you understand the personal injury lawsuit process and timeline.

Contact us at (954) 568-3636 or use our online contact form to reach out.