What to Expect in a Florida Car Accident Lawsuit: A Step-By-Step Guide
A car accident can be a traumatic event.
Other than the stress of the accident, you’ll also have to deal with police reports and insurance companies. If you’ve been injured, doctor visits and recovery treatments could take up much of your time. The after-effects can take their toll on not only your body but also your mental well-being.
Knowing what to expect after a Florida car accident can help ease your mind, especially if you’ve never been involved in a car crash. You may be asking yourself, “Do I need a lawyer?” The answer is yes. Contacting a car accident lawyer in Miami at Freidlin Brown Law will help to guide you through the sometimes confusing process of filing a successful lawsuit.
Filing the Lawsuit
The smartest way to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident in Florida is to do so with the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. After your legal counsel has gathered up enough evidence that they feel proves that you were injured due to the other driver’s neglect, they will file the case with the courts.
Your lawyer will also serve the defendant with a copy. They’ll have 90 days to respond. It will contain details of the accident, the injuries you sustained, and what damages you are seeking. This opens the doors for both sets of lawyers to begin the negotiation process.
During the discovery phase, both sets of legal counsel will share the evidence they’ve collected. This could include depositions with those who witnessed the accident and with expert witnesses who can provide testimony about your medical prognosis.
If both sides cannot come to an agreeable settlement amount, they may bring in a neutral third-party mediator who can help to resolve the case without the need for a time-consuming and costly trial. Fortunately, most personal injury lawsuits don’t go to trial, and settlements are negotiated during the discovery phase.
If a settlement hasn’t been reached during the discovery phase, the case will then go to trial. The plaintiff has the option of requesting a judge only or a regular jury trial. The case will be heard in the courts and the plaintiff’s and defendant’s lawyers will argue the case. This will include all evidence gathered along with expert witnesses.
Personal injury trials are often risky. No matter how strong your case may be, sometimes the outcome isn’t successful or you’ll receive much less compensation than you’re asking for. They can often be lengthy, and your attorney may take a larger percentage of any monies awarded to you to cover the time and cost of going to trial.
Even if your case is successful and you’ve been awarded a large compensation for your damages, the defendant has the right to appeal the decision. This means that although you’ve won the case and have the right to receive compensation for your damages, you won’t receive any payout until the appeals process has been completed. Your lawyer may charge more if the defendant appeals the court’s decision.
The fastest way to receive compensation for your car accident lawsuit is if the defendant agrees to settle out of court. Both parties will sign a settlement agreement which will state the terms of the settlement and the amount of money to be paid for your damages.
When and if you’ll receive a settlement in a personal injury lawsuit that goes to trial could be years after you’ve filed. These trials could take a long time, and if the defendant appeals the decision, it could be years before you see a penny.
Take the Settlement or Go to Trial?
This question is the best argument for why you need to hire a lawyer for a car accident lawsuit. The defendant’s lawyers will most likely offer you a quick settlement to lower the insurance company’s risk and time spent on lawyers. However, what may seem like a significant amount of money to you could quite possibly be too low of a number. An experienced personal injury attorney will know when to negotiate for a higher amount and when to take the money.
Florida Car Accident Lawsuits Explained
Fortunately, the majority of personal injury cases brought on due to damages sustained from a Florida car accident are settled out of court. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning that there are no out-of-pocket expenses incurred to hire a lawyer. They’re paid by taking a percentage of whatever settlement you receive. However, when you choose a personal injury attorney, make sure to ask them cost-related questions as well.
The process after hiring a lawyer is to gather evidence, file the lawsuit, then negotiate with the defendant’s legal team to come to an agreeable settlement.