Personal injury lawsuits can be taxing – mentally, physically, and emotionally.
You should always hire an attorney who will not only handle your Florida personal injury lawsuit with exceptional professionalism and tact, but also be able to provide you a sense of security and support.
Being in the know is an important element that can give individual’s a sense of control back. This includes knowing what to expect from a personal injury claim and how long the process is likely to take.
After Personal Injury
The first and most important thing after you’ve been the victim of an accident is for you to recover from your injury.
In fact, the law requires you to. This is called “mitigating damages” and requires you to take whatever actions necessary to improve your mental and physical condition to recover from your injury. Mitigating damages helps avoid further loss and minimizes consequences of the injury.
As you are recovering, your Lutz personal injury attorney will be investigating your claim. They will obtain police reports, witness statements, medical reports, and any other forms of evidence. They will review all available facts and statements, and file a lawsuit.
This can take days or weeks, depending on the complexity of the case.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
After your attorney files a personal injury lawsuit, it can take months or sometimes years to reach a settlement agreement or a jury verdict if the case goes to court. It really depends on the parties responsible for your injuries.
Often, insurance companies don’t want to pay out a fair amount and will make a lowball offer quickly – within weeks or months of the personal injury lawsuit being filed.
This is a tactic to get the victim to accept the fast money and not pursue the lawsuit any further. Keep in mind, these offers typically do not take lost wages or pain and suffering into account.
You have the option to accept or reject offers. If you are working with a good attorney, they will likely advise you to reject the first settlement and proceed with pre-trial preparation. It’s common for settlement agreements to be reached during the pre-trial period.
If your personal injury lawsuit is not settled during this time, things will proceed to the discovery process.
The discovery process occurs before the actual trial. It gives the opposing parties in a lawsuit the opportunity to obtain evidence from one another to use during trial. This process can include interviews, depositions, and requests for documents.
Cases are also commonly settled during this stage. The insurance company may realize the victim has a very strong case and be willing to offer a larger settlement without taking the case to trial.
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Cases
Insurance companies have an incentive to pay as little money on claims as possible. As a result, if you accept a settlement without consulting an attorney, you could be losing money.
You may find the initial offer attractive if you cannot work and have a mountain of debt. If the offer does not cover long-term costs, such as medical bills and lost wages, it may not appear as good a year or two down the road.
You may not need a lawyer if your injury is very minor. However, it is highly recommended that you consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible if there has been a fatality or serious injury, if you have missed work, or if a truck was involved.
Damages are losses you suffer as the result of your injuries, and these fall into three categories: compensatory / economic damages, non-economic damages, and exemplary / punitive damages.
Compensatory, or economic, damages are damages you can easily put a dollar amount on. In this category are things like missed work, medical bills, and household expenses. Economic damages differ from non-economic damages, which do not have a dollar amount, but are still related to the accident. Pain and suffering, mental anguish, and impairment fall under this category.
The purpose of Exemplary Damages, or Punitive Damages, is to punish the negligent party for harming the victim recklessly or intentionally.
While a personal injury case is pending, you should use social media with extreme caution. It’s best not to discuss your injury on social media, post pictures of it, or answer people who ask about it. Instead, talk to your friends offline and ask them not to discuss it online.
The best thing to do is to stay off social media. Attorneys for the opposing party have been known to use small, seemingly unrelated details, such as pictures of a hike or a night out with friends, as evidence you aren’t as injured as you claim.
Going to Trial
Sometimes lawsuits will be brought to trial. Cases that are highly complex or involve a lot of money are most likely to go to trial.
Preparation for a trial can take months. Once the civil trial begins, it can go on for roughly 3 to 10 days.
As you can tell, the timeframe for personal injury lawsuits range greatly in length. Sometimes they can take months, sometimes years. The most important thing is that you are always aware of how your case is progressing.
Contact the Lutz personal injury attorneys at Rivas Law Group for exceptional representation and support during this time.