If you are injured because of another person’s negligence – whether someone was driving recklessly, or a supermarket left a slippery condition in an aisle, or someone failed to control their dog – there is a whole process that begins for you to get compensation for your injury. The process can seem confusing, but you will soon find that it follows a predictable path.
The process involves hiring an attorney, gaining an understanding of the laws that pertain to your case, filing a complaint, gathering evidence in your case, entertaining settlement offers and going to trial if the case does not settle.
In this article, we will discuss that step-by-step process for a personal injury claim. If, after reading this blog, you have additional questions about your own situation, then we welcome you to contact the personal injury lawyers in Stuart, FL – Crary Buchanan. At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Our personal injury lawyers in Stuart are passionate about giving you the highest quality representation. Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate planning to consult online with our online contact form.
Step 1 – Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Think of a personal injury attorney as the guide to your personal injury case. He or she can make sure that you take the best, most efficient path towards getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries. While you could try to represent yourself in court, people who hire an attorney receive, on average, larger settlement amounts than those who go it alone.
Accordingly, your first step in the process should be to search for and hire an attorney to represent you. Running a Google search in your area is a good way to get started. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation, so take advantage of that opportunity, meet with a few attorneys and see with whom you click.
Do not forget to discuss the issue of attorneys’ fees during your meeting. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning that you do not need to pay anything unless you get money for your injuries, at which time the attorney’s fee is a percentage of the money you are awarded. Luckily, most attorneys charge the same percentage, so you do not need to worry much about having to pay more than what most attorneys receive.
Step 2 – The Statute of Limitations
Florida law requires personal injury victims to file a lawsuit within a certain time, or they lose the ability to sue for their injuries at all. That means that you cannot sit on your rights. Rather, you need to initiate a claim within a reasonable amount of time. Florida’s statutes of limitations include generally four years for a personal injury claim, three years for a personal injury claim against a government entity, and two years for a wrongful death action.
Step 3 – The Lawyer Letter
Before immediately filing something in court, you and your attorney will want to give the party financially responsible for the injury (usually an insurance company) the chance to make the situation right without a lawsuit. That means that your attorney will send a “demand letter.”
This is simply a letter to the defendant that formally requests payment for the damages you have suffered as a result of an accident. If the insurance company (or the person who was negligent) refuses to pay for your injuries, or even negotiate then you will need to file a lawsuit.
Step 4 – Filing a Complaint in Court
A complaint is the document that gives notice to the court that you have a personal injury claim against another person, or insurance company (or both) who are called “defendants,” and you are seeking compensation for your injuries. The complaint lists the parties involved, the facts of your case, and the legal claims you are alleging, such as negligence. Once the complaint is filed you typically have about 30 days within which to serve that complaint on the defendant(s).
Step 5 – Discovery
During the discovery phase, usually the longest part of any lawsuit, you and your attorney are focused on gathering or “discovering” information about the case. Here your attorney will speak to witnesses, question the parties involved, and obtain documents like medical records, police reports, and insurance reports.
Step 6 – Possible Settlement
Throughout the process, there will likely be negotiations with regard to settling the case without going to trial. Virtually all personal injury cases settle before making it to trial. So, you want to be sure that you have a realistic picture of the strength of your case, and the amount of compensation that you will accept.
Step 7 – Trial
Finally, if a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial, in which the court will hear evidence from both sides and the jury will render a verdict. A trial is typically time consuming and very expensive for the litigants. That is why most cases settle before trial.
Let the Personal Injury Lawyers in Stuart Help with Your Personal Injury Case
Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury and wrongful death in the nation. Many factors can contribute to a traffic accident, but as noted the primary reason is negligence. Drivers are negligent in a variety of ways. A driver who falls asleep may be considered negligent. When a careless driver causes an accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
It doesn’t matter what type of injury you sustained. You have the right to seek compensation if another driver caused you injury – even if you were partially responsible for the accident. Automobile and truck accident injuries can lead to a variety of expenses, and a personal injury claim can compensate you for these costs. Yet, you need the right legal advocate on your side to get full and fair compensation for your damages. If you or someone you love suffered and injury, speak with a Stuart, Martin County personal injury attorney from Crary Buchanan. We want to help you recover the money you need.
At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of personal injury law. You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry.
Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations. Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations. When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.
There is no need to be intimidated by making a personal injury claim after an auto or truck accident when you have the support of the talented team at Crary Buchanan. If you have more questions or want a dedicated personal injury attorney to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form. You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust. Call today.