Being injured in an accident is disorienting enough. Having to wade through a personal injury lawsuit on your own can feel like a mammoth task if you don’t know how the process works and if you don’t enlist in professional help.
To help demystify the process, we’ll look at the general timeline of a personal injury case, from time of accident to trial and damages reward.
To start, you may have a viable personal injury claim if you’ve been injured as a result of a fall, car crash, pool incident, medical malpractice, burn incident, or defective product, among many other possibilities. To prove that, you have to show that an individual or entity was responsible for your well-being and that they failed their duty to you, resulting in your injury. This concept is known as negligence (§768.81) and it is the core of almost all personal injury cases in Florida and beyond.
The timeline for a personal injury claim typically goes as follows:
See a Doctor
In any injury case, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible following the incident. Certainly this is a top priority if you are injured, and it is also integral to a successful personal injury case. The documentation you receive from this visit will serve as a basis for your case and will aid your request for damages down the line.
Seek Out a Lawyer
If you are serious about filing a claim, you should contact a legal professional to find out what your options are in the matter. In almost every scenario, you’ll want to work with someone who has a deep knowledge and significant experience in personal injury cases in your city or state. It’s wise to contact a few lawyers, contact friends for referrals and choose the lawyer that you feel fits your needs best, considering budget and personality.
Lawyer Takes on Your Case
Once you’ve chosen a lawyer, he or she will investigate your claim and review your case from top to bottom. Your lawyer will want to know every aspect and detail of your case.
Case is Settled or Moves Forward
Often times, smaller injury cases will end in a monetary settlement before a lawsuit is even filed. In some instances, this is in the best interests of the client, given the time and money expense that comes with lawsuits and trials.
You’ll want to work with your lawyer to negotiate the highest possible settlement amount before agreeing to not file a suit.
Lawsuit is Filed
If negotiations are a non-starter, your lawyer will then file a lawsuit if your case is viable. In general, it takes between one or two years before a lawsuit will move to trial. In Florida, you have four years from the time you were injured to file a lawsuit before you hit the statute of limitations.
Discovery, Mediation and Negotiation
Early on, both sides will go through what is called the discovery process. This entails each side investigating the other’s claims about the case. Often times both sides will request for and swap evidence, such as medical documents. This portion of the lawsuit process can take up to six months or a year.
Following that, the lawyers often move to mediation. In this instance, a court-appointed mediator will work with the lawyers and parties involved to find an agreeable outcome for the lawsuit.
Mediation often works in personal injury cases and the lawsuits are settled before a trial begins. Sometimes, a trial is necessary for the case to play out. These trials can take anywhere from a day to a week to several weeks, depending on the complexity of the case.
Do You Need Assistance?
If you are planning to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, contact the attorneys at Fasig & Brooks today. We can provide you with a free consultation on your personal injury case.