What is the Personal Injury Claims Process in Florida?
Paul Brannon | March 25, 2022 | Personal Injury
Being injured can be an overwhelming and traumatic experience. You must deal with the financial consequences of lost wages and medical bills, in addition to emotional distress and physical pain. The added stress of dealing with an insurance claim can be too much to handle.
Unfortunately, filing a personal injury claim is the only way to recover compensation for your injuries, monetary losses, and other damages. Therefore, it helps to understand the personal injury claims process in Florida. It also helps to know the steps to take to improve your chance of recovering fair compensation.
What Steps Should You Take After an Injury or Accident in Florida?
Your conduct after an injury or accident can improve or hurt your personal injury recovery. Regardless of whether you are injured in a slip and fall accident, car accident, or other incident, steps you should take include:
- Call 911 to report motor vehicle accidents. Report other accidents to the property owner or appropriate party.
- Wait for the police to arrive to take statements and create an accident report. An official report with details of the accident helps when filing an insurance claim.
- Document the accident or injury site by taking photographs, making a video, and asking eyewitnesses for their contact information.
- Seek medical treatment immediately after an accident or injury. Prompt medical care creates records to help prove the accident caused your injury. Delays in medical care can hurt your personal injury case.
Contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer in Florida can also help your case. A lawyer will explain your legal options and discuss the steps to take to receive the compensation you deserve. Talking with an accident attorney can help you avoid making mistakes that could hurt your case.
What to Expect During the Claims Process for a Personal Injury in Florida?
Each personal injury case is unique. However, most personal injury claims begin with the insurance company for the at-fault party. You file an insurance claim seeking compensation for damages.
The Insurance Claims Process in Florida
The insurance company assigns an insurance adjuster to investigate your claim. The adjuster determines whether the insured is responsible for your injuries. If so, the insurance company might make an initial settlement offer.
However, initial settlement offers are typically lower than the value of the claim. If you have not hired a personal injury lawyer, talk with an attorney before you accept a settlement offer or sign a settlement agreement. When you sign a settlement agreement, you give up your right to file a lawsuit or take legal action.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, your attorney investigates how the accident happened. They gather evidence proving causation and fault to establish liability. During this time, the insurance company continues investigating the claim and gathering its own evidence.
After you complete medical treatment, your attorney prepares a settlement demand letter. The letter explains the facts of the case, the legal basis for your claim, and your damages. Your attorney demands an amount that compensates you fully for all damages.
The insurance company could accept or deny the settlement offer. The company could also make a counteroffer for a lower amount. If so, the company and your attorney negotiate until they reach an agreeable amount.
If you accept the settlement, you sign the settlement agreement. Then, the insurance company issues a check payable to your lawyer. Your attorney deducts the contingency fee, costs, and any medical liens from the proceeds before issuing you a net settlement check.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida
Most personal injury cases settle through negotiations between the parties. However, the insurance company might deny the claim or refuse to agree to a fair settlement amount. If so, your personal injury attorney in Florida may advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The steps in a personal injury lawsuit include the following:
- Investigation and gathering evidence (Step completed during the insurance claims process)
- Filing a complaint and responsible pleadings
- Discovery process
- Settlement negotiations
- Pre-trial motions and hearings
- Jury selection
- Trial and verdict
A personal injury lawsuit typically takes a year to go to trial. The parties can settle the case at any time before the jury’s verdict. Filing a lawsuit does not guarantee that you receive the money you expect for a personal injury case.
Why Should You Hire a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You With Your Claim?
The personal injury claims process can be complicated. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney means you have someone on your side who understands personal injury law and has the resources to pursue your case.
An injury lawyer handles all aspects of your personal injury claim. Your lawyer understands how to maximize factors that increase the value of your claim and minimize factors that could hurt your case. An attorney understands how insurance companies handle claims and how to fight back against bad faith insurance practices and tactics.
Most Florida personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay any fees upfront, and you do not owe any attorneys’ fees until the lawyer recovers money for your claim. Additionally, injury lawyers offer free consultations. Therefore, receiving legal advice about your case does not cost you anything. If you or a family member has been injured, talk to a personal injury lawyer for help.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Fort Walton Beach personal injury lawyers at Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541