Sustaining any personal injury can be traumatic. The physical toll it takes on your body can be just as damaging as the resulting psychological blow. In Florida or anywhere else in the country, for that matter, you can sustain injuries from:
- Assault and battery (together or separately)
- Car accident
- Medical malpractice or negligence
- Workplace Injury
- Dog bites
- Slip and Fall Accident
- A defective product manufactured by a third party
Whatever the cause of your personal injury, your medical treatment can cost a lot. Worse yet, the costs can be much higher than what your insurance provider would be willing to cover.
To offset the financial burden, you need to seek compensation for your personal injury. In Florida, the personal injury process begins with a demand from the liable party to provide compensation. If all goes well, the personal injury claims process culminates in a settlement — formal or informal. The worst-case scenario is that the case goes to trial.
Read on to learn more about the steps that comprise the Florida personal injury process.
1. Sending a Demand Letter
A demand letter is a letter of request to either the person held liable for your injuries or the person’s insurance provider. In Florida, demand letters are usually addressed to the liable person’s insurance provider.
Your letter is the first step to a successful personal injury claim. For the best results, you need to draft it with an attorney for two reasons.
First, the letter needs to have all the necessary information relevant to your accident. Drafting one alongside your attorney can reduce the chances of overlooking information.
Second, the demand letter will not always be received well by the other party’s insurance provider. One of the reasons for this is that the insurer wishes to deny your claim. To deny your claim, the insurance provider of the other party may issue a lowball settlement offer. Your West Palm Beach personal injury attorney can add the necessary verbiage to emphasize the necessity of the amount you desire.
2. Filing a Formal Complaint
If the other party’s insurance provider denies your claim to personal injury compensation, you may file a formal complaint. The complaint will contain nearly the same pieces of information in the demand letter. The difference is that the complaint will be filed with the Florida courts instead of the other party’s insurance provider.
Complaints must be filed within Florida’s limitation of statutes. In other words, there is a period within which you need to file your complaint. Outside this period, your claim will either be ignored or rejected.
Generally, you have four years to file a complaint against the liable party’s insurance provider. The exceptions are cases of medical malpractice that have a statute limitation period of two years.
At this stage of the personal injury claims process, your attorney will gather evidence that builds your personal injury case. Your attorney will gather various pieces of evidence like records and reports that prove the severity of your injuries and the circumstances that led to it. Ultimately, a case is built around the assumption that the other party is liable.
Meanwhile, the other party will also be building their case to exonerate themselves from liability. Hence, working closely with your attorney is a must during this stage of your claim process.
4. Formal or Informal Settlement
There are two ways to get a settlement for any personal injury — formally or informally. Between the two, informal settlements are faster.
Informal settlements usually involve both parties agreeing amongst themselves the amount of money to be paid as compensation. An informal settlement is a discussion between you and the liable parties in the presence of insurers and your attorneys. After a successful informal settlement, you can expect your compensation to be paid within three weeks.
Formal settlements are adjudicated in a Florida court. For this reason, you can expect a formal settlement to take longer. A formal settlement involves your attorney proving negligence and liability. The other party is also free to argue its case, delaying or pausing proceedings.
Not many personal injury cases reach the point of trial. When a claim reaches trial, you and the opposing party will be subject to legal proceedings in a Florida court. During a trial, your attorney will argue on your behalf, proving that your injury was the result of the other person’s negligence. The attorney on the other side will do the same.
If the judge rules in favor of you, the judge will set a dollar amount as compensation. This will be the amount the other party has to pay to compensate you for the injuries you sustained.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another or a business contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer for a free case review. An injury attorney can answer your questions and tell you the best way to proceed.