Personal injury claims can be filed for any injury caused by someone else’s recklessness, wrongdoing or lack of regard. They can arise from car accidents, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, slip and fall accidents and medical malpractice incidents. These cases exist to allow injured victims to be reimbursed for medical expenses, lost income and emotional suffering. However, the process is not always easy. Following is a brief introduction to the personal injury claim process.
How long do you have to file a claim, and what makes you eligible?
Someone’s negligence must have caused your injury. Perhaps someone was at fault for your car accident or an employee may not have taken precautions when mopping a slippery grocery store floor. Or maybe a doctor made misdiagnosed an illness. If you think you have a valid claim, Florida law gives you four years from the date of your injury to file a claim.
Your health and recovery is your top priority
The most important thing you can do after an accident is to get medical attention. Your health is more important than any lawsuit. Also, waiting to receive medical help may affect your claim.
Notify the insurance companies
Once you receive medical attention, notify your insurance company and the other party’s of the incident. Be aware that insurance companies are in the business for money and are not interested in your best outcome. They often try to minimize your claim and compensation amount.
Negotiations and settlements
All parties must try to negotiate a settlement. This involves talking to the other party’s insurance company and lawyer. Don’t give official statements or sign documents relating to settlements unless you’re sure it is a fair sum.
While most cases are settled before trial, sometimes the parties cannot agree and the case goes to trial. During discovery, the parties disclose and review documents and information relating to the incident, including medical records, police reports and accident photos. Both sides may be required to answer questions. The case can be settled through mediation at any point before trial.
If all else fails, a jury can decide fault and compensation
If your case goes to trial, a jury looks at the evidence and makes a decision regarding fault and compensation. Having legal counsel can put you at an advantage, because an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer knows the ropes and can make sure you present your best case.