In the state of Florida, some personal injury cases take a couple of months, while many can take a few years to settle. Each personal injury claim is different, but the average personal injury case takes one to two years to complete.
If you or someone you love was injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is important that you speak with a personal injury attorney right away. These cases can take longer than expected and could get rather complicated. However, an experienced attorney will be able to help you see the bigger picture and receive the best possible outcome with regards to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, damages, and more.
Here is a quick guide to help you understand what the personal injury timeline looks like in the state of Florida. Remember, the standard statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Florida is four years from the date of the accident. While some exceptions do apply, they are rare. In some situations, the statute of limitations may be even shorter.
Timeline for Personal Injury Claims
Once it is clear that your injuries resulted from someone else’s negligence, it is important that you begin documenting evidence, circumstances, and costs associated with your injuries. Some attorneys advise you to wait to file your personal injury claim once you are recovered, but each case is different. The sooner you can speak with an attorney about your case, the better your personal injury claim is likely to go.
Filing Your Claim
When you are ready to file a personal injury claim, your personal injury attorney will take over–they will handle notifying the responsible party of your intent to file and begin taking down initial information for your case in order to complete the paperwork and file your claim.
The discovery phase of a personal injury case is the most tedious. Attorneys for both the defendant (the accused) and the plaintiff (the injured) will be combing through all the evidence carefully. Your attorney may have you work with additional expert witnesses in order to strengthen your case.
Keeping track of all the details of your injuries and the circumstances surrounding your accident will help your attorney build the most compelling case for your claim. This process of discovery can take up to a year or longer.
Going to Trial
Often, personal injury claims do not go to trial. As the discovery process begins to reveal the nature of the accident and the negligence of the defendant, negotiations and mediation often lead to settlements. However, if neither is successful at resolving the issue, the case goes to trial.
The most effective personal injury attorneys are not afraid to take your case to trial, even though they are also committed to helping you resolve your case as quickly as possible. It is important that you remain patient with the process because becoming impatient could lead you to take a settlement that falls far below what you deserve and what is a possible settlement amount.
Settlement and Damages
It is in the best interest of the defendant to prevent a trial, if at all possible. The discovery process can be revealing about the nature of the accident and the defendant’s negligence. Additionally, defending oneself in court is expensive, especially if there is a strong chance that the plaintiff (the injured) will succeed. As such, most defendants in a personal injury case attempt to come to a settlement to prevent a trial.
With all of these steps, some may be worried that their case could take years to resolve. While this can be true for some cases, we, as experienced board certified attorneys, get these cases moving and resolved faster.
As a general rule, the more severe and complicated the accident, the longer a personal injury case will take. For example, broken bones are less severe than wrongful death cases and are settled quicker.
Not every accident or injury merits a personal injury lawsuit. However, if there exists a “duty of care” that someone avoided (either accidentally or on purpose), any injuries resulting from that negligence may result in awarded damages to those injured in a personal injury claim.
For more information about how a South Florida attorney can help you with your personal injury case, contact Balkan and Patterson at 561-750-9191 or visit our website.