A personal injury claim is a complex process, but it often comes with a significant gain. Before you decide to file a claim, you should learn more about the process and what to expect.
1. Schedule a Consultation With An Attorney
Your first step should be to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Although you might be tempted to wait for things to settle down, that’s a mistake. You need to act quickly.
In Florida, most personal injury claims must be filed within four years of the date of the accident. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you file after the statute of limitations, the court is likely to dismiss your case.
When you meet with an attorney, they will ask for the details of your case. More specifically, they will ask questions to determine the following:
- Was there negligence
- Did you experience an injury because of the negligence
- The severity of your injuries
- How expensive your injuries have been
2. Investigate the Case
If your attorney takes on your case, they will start investigating the accident. They look at police reports, photographs of the scene, and witness testimonies.
To determine the financial cost of your accident, they’ll add up your medical bills and missed wages. For future expense calculations, they may speak to medical experts.
The evidence your attorney collects will be used to support your court case. Additionally, it could affect the way in which they seek compensation.
3. Writing a Demand Letter
You could argue that this is the most important step in your personal injury claim. Without a demand letter, you significantly decrease your chance at receiving fair compensation.
The demand letter asks the liable party for a certain amount of money. Typically, the settlement demand will include money for your medical bills, lost wages, loss of pleasure, and pain and suffering. It should include the cost of your past and future medical bills.
There’s an art to drafting the perfect demand letter. If you ask for too little, you won’t get enough money to cover your expenses. But ask for too much money and the other party will not even consider the settlement.
Your attorney can calculate the right amount for your settlement. Sometimes, the other party will meet your demands. However, the other party could also opt to fight it. Their refusal to pay marks the start of the litigation process.
4. File a Lawsuit and Start Discovery
The next step is to file the personal injury claim. If you can’t get a settlement, you need to push the case forward.
After filing, you and your lawyer enter the discovery phase. Both sides of the lawsuit collect evidence from one another. The evidence obtained by your legal representation can be crucial to your case.
This is where most personal injury lawsuits come to an end. Often, both parties will meet in mediation. They work towards a settlement that works for them.
The mediation process can be tricky, but it often pays off. After a few rounds of negotiations, you could get the offer you need to start recovering.
If your case is one of the rare ones that does not resolve with negotiations, you go to trial. This is where your injury lawyer in Florida can stand up for you in court. They fight for the judge and jury to award you compensation.