Every personal injury case is unique with a different set of needs. This means that personal injury claims timelines can vary with the complexity and facts of each case. However if you have recently been in a car accident, you may be wondering how the Florida personal injury claims process works. Although every case is different, we have outlined the basics for you in this article. And first, it all starts with contacting an attorney.
PReliminary Step: Contact an Attorney
Many people file a claim with the insurance company before ever picking up the phone to contact an attorney. However, it is actually a good practice to consult with an attorney before making that call to your insurance company so an experienced attorney can guide you on what you can expect to ensure you don’t fall for any insurance adjuster tactics to belittle the severity of your case.
What do I need to file an insurance claim?
As we noted in our Car Accident Checklist, you’ll want to give your insurance company as much information as possible regarding the details of your accident.
We suggest compiling the following:
- The police report
- Any photos from the scene of the accident or damages to the vehicle
- Statements from associated parties
- Witness accounts
- Any other relevant details or documentation related to the accident
While time is valuable in the world of insurance claims, we urge you to consult an attorney prior to making your insurance claim. Insurance adjusters can be tricky to work with, so having a personal injury professional accessible to assist you can make all the difference.
Your Attorney should guide you through the claims process so you fully understand how personal injury cases work.
However, after hiring your attorney generally the personal injury claims process will go as follows:
- Step 1: Your personal injury lawyer will review the facts of your case.
- Step 2: If you have not already sought medical treatment for your injuries, your lawyer should be able help you find the appropriate local doctors to care for your injuries. You will need to begin treating these injuries as soon as possible after the accident. In Florida, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident or your PIP provider can deny your claim for benefits.
- Step 3: Your lawyer will investigate your claim and review your ongoing medical records.
- Step 4: Your lawyer will make necessary demands and begin the negotiating process with the parties involved
- Step 5: A settlement offer will be made to cover existing and future expenses resulting from the accident and if accepted the case will be over. If a settlement agreement is not made, then a lawsuit will be filed.
- Step 6: The discovery phase of your personal injury case begins. Each side will investigate the other side’s legal claims and defenses. Depositions will be taken for all relevant parties and witnesses in this phase. This process can last 6 months or even a year, depending on the court’s deadlines and the complexity of the case.
- Step 7: Mediation and negotiation
- Step 8: Trial
Who can I file a Personal Injury Lawsuit against?
With Florida car accidents, a personal injury lawsuit can be and is most commonly executed in the case of negligence. If another person is negligent in their actions, causing an accident, you have the right to seek financial compensation.
When we think of a car accident, we may believe that we can only pursue legal action against other motorists. However keeping negligence in mind, there are other potential defendants to consider depending on the type of personal injury accident you experienced.
- Vehicle manufacturers
- Vehicle retailers
- Government entities
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine who to pursue legal action against for your injuries.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
As we’ve mentioned, it’s very important to make your claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Each policy and each company have guidelines that vary, so you may want to review your policy. However, as a general rule of thumb, file your claim as soon as you can to avoid any issues.
As for a timeline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the State of Florida, you’ll want to check out the Florida Statutes of Limitations.
Florida Statute of Limitations
Given the strict laws regarding personal injury lawsuits in Florida, you will have only four years from the time of the accident to file a claim. To some four years may seem like plenty of time, however, trying to get compensation from insurance companies can be a drawn-out process so it is important to begin as soon as possible.
How can Pipas Law help?
Through navigating healing, insurance adjustors, and seeking fair compensation, a car accident can be a tricky process. By having an expert in your corner, you can set yourself up to come out on the other side as best you can.
No matter what step of the process you’re at, we would truly enjoy working with you.