Were injured in a slip and fall, a car accident, a bicycle accident, or any other type of personal injury accident? You may be reeling from medical bills, lost wages, property damage, injuries, and more. You may be able to recover compensation to help cover these losses if someone else was responsible for the accident or injury.
Navigating the personal injury claim process can be daunting, though. An experienced personal lawyer can be instrumental in helping you through this process.
Having a greater understanding of the personal injury claim process can also be helpful. Below is a timeline of a personal injury case, according to a personal injury lawyer, to help you keep your case on track.
1. The Accident or Injury Happens
Being injured in any type of accident can be jarring and stressful. You should take several steps immediately after the accident or injury. Familiarize yourself with these now, so you’re prepared to take these steps in the event of an accident.
First, check yourself and others for any injuries requiring emergency services. Call emergency services if necessary. Then, if you were involved in a traffic accident, exchange information with the other parties involved. Last, take photos, get the contact information of potential witnesses, and write down specific information regarding the accident while it’s fresh in your mind.
2. Seek Medical Attention
The next step you should take after an accident is to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible. You may have immediately apparent injuries, or you may not notice your injuries right away. A medical professional can check to make sure you don’t have any serious injuries that you aren’t aware of yet. Further, seeking immediate medical attention is important for any potential personal injury claims.
3. Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Often, people consult with a personal injury attorney later in their claim process after they’ve already begun negotiations with the insurance company. However, those who consult an attorney early in the process may have much better outcomes. An attorney can outline the specific steps you need to take moving forward, contact insurance providers on your behalf, and streamline the process for you. More importantly, consulting a personal injury attorney early on in the process may help you receive a larger settlement.
4. Investigate the Accident and Claims
Once you’ve hired an experienced personal injury attorney, they will begin a thorough investigation of the accident and your claims. This will include interviewing you about the accident, speaking with potential witnesses, reviewing police reports, and seeking surveillance footage.
The attorney will also investigate any pre-existing medical conditions you had and your medical records following the accident. These will help the attorney assess the extent of your damages.
5. Negotiate a Settlement With the Insurance Provider
Most personal injury cases are resolved through a settlement with the insurance company. Your attorney will file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This will typically include issuing a demand letter that explains the at-fault party’s liability, your injuries and damages, and the amount of compensation you’re seeking.
From there, the insurance company’s adjusters will perform their own investigation and review your claims. The insurance adjuster may recommend a lower settlement amount than your attorney requested. At this point, your attorney may recommend that you accept the settlement offer or that you file a personal injury lawsuit. The ultimate decision is yours, however.
6. File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the parties haven’t been able to reach a favorable settlement, the plaintiff may file a personal injury lawsuit. This must be filed within two years of the date of the accident or injury, according to Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. A lawsuit is commenced by filing a complaint, which will describe the facts of the accident and the damages the plaintiff is seeking.
Discovery refers to the process in a lawsuit where each party investigates the other party’s claims. Each party will request from the other party answers to questions and the production of documents and other evidence. In addition, each party may hold a deposition of the other party and other witnesses.
Mediation is the process where the parties try to agree on a settlement in the case. There will be a mediator–a neutral third party who will help guide the negotiations. One benefit of resolving a case through mediation is that it saves the time and expense of going to a trial.
If the parties were unable to reach a settlement in mediation, then the case will proceed to trial. The length of the trial will depend on the extent of the injuries and the amount of evidence that needs to be presented at trial.
Trials can be expensive, especially if several expert witnesses are required to testify. Trials can also be unpredictable, as a jury will make the ultimate decisions regarding liability and the amount of any compensation. However, if an insurance provider has refused to reach a reasonable settlement thus far, a trial may be your best option for recovering compensation for your injuries.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With an Experienced Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in a personal injury accident in Fort Walton Beach, FL, it’s important to understand the timeline in personal injury cases. Most importantly, remember the steps you should take immediately after an accident. These steps include exchanging information with other parties, taking photographs of the scene, seeking medical attention, and hiring an experienced attorney early in the process.
Our experienced Fort Walton Beach personal injury lawyers have the expertise you deserve to seek compensation for all of your accident-related injuries.