If you or someone close to you has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for your harm through a personal injury claim. Dealing with an injury can be difficult enough without having to think about the legal process. Clients often want to know how long the process will take, and the answer to that is simply that it depends on the situation. Perhaps understanding the stages of a personal injury claim can provide some clarity.
Personal injury is an area of law that covers situations in which a person suffers harm due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct.
The first stage of any claim involves investigating the facts of the case and determining whether or not there is a possible claim. The investigation portion may consist of visiting the scene of the accident, figuring out when the accident occurred, taking note of the weather conditions, speaking to witnesses, and obtaining medical records, bills, and other documents pertinent to the accident (such as a police report).
The second stage typically involves negotiating with the at-fault party. Specifically, your attorney will contact the at-fault party or their insurance company to discuss the possibility of a settlement. In order to do this effectively, it is important to provide the insurance company with documents highlighting your injuries as well as other damages. Your lawyer can then send a demand letter. If the at-fault party puts a settlement offer forth, you can accept or reject it. This process may entail some back and forth.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will likely move on to the litigation stage. This involves your lawyer filing a lawsuit, naming all potentially liable parties, in the appropriate Florida District Court. The defendant then has an opportunity to file an answer or a motion to dismiss. The answer is a document that contains the defendant’s responses to each of your claims.
Once the defendant files an answer, the discovery process begins. Discovery is a fact-finding stage that typically involves both sides sending written interrogatories, requests for relevant documents, and requests for admissions. In addition, depositions may take place during this phase.
It is important to note that just because litigation is started and a claim is filed does not mean the case will certainly go to trial. Instead, some cases are settled just before trial, and a lawsuit being filed is simply a step in the negotiations. Of course, it is not necessary to even file a lawsuit if a fair settlement can be reached in a timely manner. However, if the case is still not settled after the lawsuit is filed, the trial will proceed, and a jury will decide the case.
If you have been injured by the carelessness or negligence of another party, it is critical to seek the help of a seasoned Miami personal injury attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we have years of experience helping South Florida clients pursue the compensation they deserve for their harm. For more information, call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or reach out to us online today.
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Subrogation in Florida Personal Injury Cases, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, June 22, 2016
Property Owner May Owe Duty of Care for Landscaped Areas in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, June 22, 2016
Roundabout Accidents in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, June 22, 2016