Seeking compensation for a car crash that was not your fault is not as simple as it seems. Beyond the physical injuries and damages, the aftermath of a car accident may leave you with significant financial strain. When insurance companies refuse to pay a fair settlement, you can seek a personal injury lawsuit to pursue what you believe your case is worth.
Understanding the legal process can help you prepare for what lies ahead.
About Florida’s no-fault law
Florida operates under a no-fault system, wherein victims seek recovery from their own insurance provider after a car accident, regardless of who caused the collision. To avoid potential complications with a claim, promptly reporting the incident to the insurance company is best. Following an investigation, the insurer will typically extend a settlement offer that covers a portion, not all, of the incurred medical bills and lost wages.
Often, the initial offer is not enough to fully address a victim’s financial losses, necessitating a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. However, these insurance companies tend to negotiate a lower payout.
If your injuries are serious or permanently disabling, scarring, or disfiguring and you find the settlement offer unsatisfactory, you might consider filing a lawsuit. However, this complex and lengthy process can take months to conclude. Engaging the help of a competent attorney is usually advisable.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Car Crash
In Florida, you have four years from the date of the accident to initiate a lawsuit. Missing the deadline may forfeit your right to sue.
Should you proceed with a lawsuit, the first stage you will encounter is the discovery phase. Both parties collect and request evidence to support their claims during this stage. Evidence typically includes medical records, police reports, witness statements, and other relevant documents crucial for demonstrating the extent of damages and establishing fault.
Settlement negotiations may occur even before trial starts, with many cases reaching an agreement to save on time and resources. If you still cannot reach an agreement, your case will go to trial. Here, a judge and jury will hear arguments from both sides and determine the compensation.
Pursuing a car accident lawsuit is a chance to pursue the compensation you deserve, but it is not without its challenges. Quick action and thorough preparation are crucial to navigating a lawsuit successfully. A skilled personal injury attorney can help steer you in the right direction.