Millions of people across the country suffer accidental injuries each year. Many of these accidents occur due to someone else’s negligence, and many victims choose to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek justice.
In almost every instance, the victim wants to know how long it will take them to obtain compensation. This is probably the most common question we receive at Jones Law Group, but it’s only natural that clients would want an idea of the timeframe they can expect.
The following article will give you a general idea of your timeframe. But as you’ll learn, many factors will determine your case’s length. If you want to schedule a free case review, call the Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 or contact us online.
Approximate Timeline of a Personal Injury Case in Florida
The timeline of a Florida personal injury case can vary widely based on several factors, including the case’s complexity, the extent of the injuries, and the legal procedures involved. The following is a quick look at some of the general steps involved.
When the accident occurs, documenting the accident scene as comprehensively as possible will be essential. This includes taking photographs or videos, gathering the contact information of witnesses, and preserving any physical evidence.
Taking these actions will establish a record of what happened. It will also help provide you with the best possible chance of obtaining the compensation you deserve. If you’re physically able to do so, you should get as much evidence as you can immediately before it disappears.
You Seek Medical Diagnosis and Treatment
Seeking medical attention will safeguard your health and show a crucial link between the accident and your injuries. You must see a doctor as soon as you can so you know how badly you’ve been hurt and can get the right treatment.
Florida insurance law requires car accident victims to obtain medical help within 14 days of the wreck. A complete diagnosis could take anywhere from a few days to a year, depending on the extent of your injuries.
A Lawyer Evaluates Your Case
Choosing someone who’s an expert in personal injury law will be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Once you find an attorney, they’ll meticulously assess the viability of your case.
They’ll closely examine the evidence, evaluate the extent of liability, and estimate your potential damages or financial losses from your injury. These include lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering. This process can take anywhere from two to six months in most instances.
Your Attorney Sends a Settlement Demand Letter
Once your attorney determines liability and the extent of your damages, they’ll send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company.
This letter will clearly outline your injuries, the damages you’ve incurred, and a proposed settlement amount. The demand letter will set the stage for negotiations. It usually takes four to six weeks for an attorney to assemble the letter.
A Claim is Filed for Compensation
The vast majority—about 95%—of personal injury cases settle out of court. But sometimes, an insurance company refuses to pay fair compensation to the injured party (the plaintiff). If this happens in your case, your attorney will very likely take the case to trial. Filing the initial claim typically takes two to four weeks.
Your Claim Enters Discovery
In the discovery phase, both the defendant and plaintiff exchange evidence, documents, and information relevant to the case. Your attorney, as well as the defendant’s lawyer, will likely take depositions.
A deposition is where someone answers questions under oath. If the case is complex, the discovery phase could take as long as six months. In most instances, however, it typically takes about three.
Your Claim Enters Mediation
Many personal injury cases eventually go to mediation. A neutral third party will guide both parties toward a settlement outside the court. This process often proves effective in reaching an amicable agreement, saving time and resources. Mediation usually lasts anywhere from two weeks to a month.
Your Case Goes to Trial or Is Settled
If mediation fails to yield a resolution, the trial will begin. Both sides present their evidence during this critical juncture before a judge or jury decides the case’s outcome. However, the trial could conclude at any point if both parties decide to settle.
If fault is clear, a settlement could happen in as little as a few days or a week. If not, the case could take a month or so to settle. The timeline will vary if the case goes to trial. It could last two or three days, or it could last weeks, months, or longer.
Factors That May Impact the Length of Your Lawsuit
No two personal injury lawsuits are exactly alike. Again, one case may drag on for years, while another concludes within months or even weeks. These are just a few of the factors that will determine how long your case lasts.
- Complexity: Cases involving intricate legal or medical issues tend to take longer due to the detailed investigation and expert consultations required to establish liability and accurately quantify damages. Complex cases may involve multiple parties, intricate legal arguments, or technical aspects that need a thorough examination.
- The severity of injuries: The extent of injuries can impact the length of a lawsuit. Severe injuries often require comprehensive medical evaluations, consultations with specialists, and a more accurate assessment of long-term medical costs and potential impacts on the victim’s life. For example, someone suffering a severe spinal cord injury could face about $1 million in medical costs in the first year alone. When the stakes are higher, the trial will likely last longer.
- Willingness to negotiate: If the parties involved are open to negotiation and compromise, they can resolve the case faster. A willingness to settle out of court can save time and resources compared to proceeding to trial.
- Court availability: The caseload of the court and the availability of judges and courtrooms can also significantly impact the timeline. Courts with heavy caseloads may experience delays in scheduling hearings and trials, which can extend the overall duration of your case.
- The overall legal process: The time it takes to complete each stage can affect the overall timeline of the lawsuit. Unforeseen delays or complications can also arise during these stages, further prolonging the case.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer for Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
You can enjoy several advantages by hiring a skilled attorney. These are just a few to keep in mind.
Personal injury lawyers are well-versed in the legal intricacies of personal injury cases. They understand the relevant laws, regulations, and precedents that can impact your case. Their expertise can help build a strong legal strategy tailored to your situation.
Investigation and Evidence
Lawyers have the resources and knowledge to conduct thorough investigations, gather evidence, and interview witnesses to establish liability. They know what evidence is essential to support your claim and can prevent crucial details from being overlooked.
Navigating the Legal System
The legal system can be complex and intimidating for those without legal training. A personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process, filing necessary paperwork, meeting deadlines, and ensuring compliance with legal procedures.
Insurance companies often employ questionable tactics to minimize payouts. Experienced attorneys know how to defeat those tactics. They also know how to negotiate effectively, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your medical expenses and other damages.
Seasoned lawyers understand the damages you may be entitled to, including subjective damages like pain and suffering. They can work to maximize the compensation you receive based on the specific details of your case.
Having a skilled lawyer by your side is crucial if your case goes to trial. They can present your case persuasively, cross-examine witnesses, and make compelling legal arguments to the judge and jury.
Contingency Fee Arrangement
At Jones Law Group, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay upfront legal fees. Instead, the lawyer’s fee is a percentage of your compensation, making legal representation more accessible.
Peace of Mind
Dealing with the aftermath of an injury is stressful. Having a lawyer handle the legal aspects of your case allows you to focus on your recovery and well-being.
Contact Jones Law Group ASAP to Speak with an Experienced Attorney to File Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
Please get in touch with a Jones Law Group attorney as soon as you can to learn