Anyone can be suddenly injured in a traffic crash, a slip-and-fall incident, or a number of other accident scenarios. If you are injured in south Florida because another party was negligent, let an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer review your case and explain your rights.
Exactly what are your rights if you’re an injured victim of negligence? How does a personal injury lawsuit work? What kind of compensation can you receive if your personal injury claim prevails, and how long will it actually take to receive that compensation?
Keep reading. You’ll learn the answers to those questions, and you’ll learn exactly what steps to take if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence here in south Florida.
HOW DO PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS WORK?
When someone is injured and claims that another person’s carelessness was the cause of that injury, the injury victim may take legal action by filing a personal injury claim.
The process begins by asking a personal injury lawyer to review the case and determine if the injury victim has grounds for legal action. If so, the lawyer may begin negotiating with the defendant (the allegedly negligent party) for the compensation the victim is entitled to by law.
WILL YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE GO TO TRIAL?
The overwhelming majority of personal injury claims in Florida are settled out-of-court through private negotiations.
In a small percentage of cases, when no reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming, a victim’s personal injury attorney may recommend taking the case to trial and asking a jury to order payment of compensation to the injury victim.
In most cases, an injured victim of negligence is entitled under Florida law to full compensation for his or her injury-related current and future medical bills, lost wages and lost earnings capacity, personal pain and suffering, and all other related losses and damages.
HOW CAN YOU AFFORD A LAWYER – OR A TRIAL?
Your first consultation with a Florida personal injury attorney is free, and there’s no obligation. If you and your attorney move forward with a personal injury claim, your attorney will work on a “contingent fee” basis, so you pay no attorney’s fee until – and unless – you are compensated.
The contingent fee system levels the playing field and allows everyone, whether their circumstances are affluent or humble, to have their rightful “day in court.”
WHAT DETERMINES THE AMOUNT OF TIME A CLAIM WILL TAKE?
How long does it take to resolve a personal injury claim? That will depend on a variety of factors. Often, simply hiring an attorney is enough to compel the negligent party to make a reasonable settlement offer.
The compensation you receive and the length of time that the process will take is determined by these three factors:
- Liability: In some cases, it’s clear who’s at fault, but liability may be in dispute in cases arising from traffic accidents. Florida follows the “pure comparative fault” system, so a vehicle crash victim may recover damages even if the victim was partially at fault.
- Causation: The second key question is “Exactly what was the cause of the personal injury or injuries?” Is an injury traceable directly to an accident – and a negligent defendant? Was there a pre-existing injury? Will the medical evidence prove the injury claim?
- Compensation: The final factor is the scope of the injuries and losses. What insurance coverage applies? How much reimbursement will satisfy the victim’s right to full compensation? Does the defendant have adequate insurance coverage or other resources?
HOW LONG WILL ALL OF THIS TAKE?
Every case is different. Some personal injury claims can be settled in only a matter of weeks. Most take several months. If your case goes to trial, you could be looking at a year or more, and if a jury’s verdict is appealed, your case could literally take as long as four or five years.
But that’s extremely rare. Most cases are settled out of court in just a few weeks or several months. The length of time it will take to resolve a personal injury claim in Florida will depend on factors including but not limited to:
- how, when, where, and why you were injured
- how long you will have to receive medical care
- whether or not what happened, and who was at fault, is agreed on or disputed
- whether or not there’s agreement that the accident in fact caused the injury
- how long it takes to compile and evaluate the evidence and testimony
- whether the claim is settled out-of-court or requires a trial
- the court’s docket and schedule if the matter goes to trial
SHOULD YOU “GET IT OVER WITH” AND TAKE A QUICK SETTLEMENT?
If you file a personal injury claim, do not be in a hurry. The defendant’s insurance company will probably offer you a quick settlement. Don’t take it. Quick settlements are almost always “lowball” offers that amount to far less than your personal injury claim is actually worth.
Give your injury attorney a few weeks to prepare the strongest possible case on your behalf. Your attorney will almost certainly be able to win a better settlement for you than you could obtain on your own, and a better settlement than the insurance company’s first settlement offer.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS A PERSONAL INJURY CASE MIGHT BE DELAYED?
The three primary reasons why a personal injury case may be delayed are:
- Legal or factual complications – like multiple defendants with multiple attorneys – will delay a case.
- If a large amount of compensation is sought, a case will invariably take more time.
- The compensation amount that will be sought can’t be determined immediately because the victim is still receiving medical care and treatment.
The timeline will be different in every case. You may have to wait on medical test results. Your attorney may or may not have to contact expert witnesses and arrange for those witnesses to give statements or provide testimony.
WHY ARE PATIENCE – AND GOOD LEGAL HELP – SO IMPERATIVE?
Have some patience. Your claim is going to take some time. Use that time to recuperate from your personal injury or injuries, and let your personal injury lawyer handle the legal details on your behalf.
In south Florida, if you are an injured victim of negligence, you can obtain both the compensation you need and the justice you deserve, but you’ll need the evidence that proves your claim and an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer to argue your case.
You’ll also need a great deal of patience, so if you are currently – or in the future – an injured victim of negligence, make the call to a good south Florida injury attorney at once. Compensation is your right, and so is the help of an experienced injury attorney.