South Florida Car Accident Lawyer Explains 10 Steps of Complete Timeline of a Car Accident Injury Claim From Start to Finish
To understand how and when to file an injury claim after a car accident, you need to have an idea of the timeline involved and the steps you will need to take. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the process of filing a Florida car accident injury claim from start to finish.
Step 1: Consult With a Florida Car Accident Attorney
Because time is of the essence and you might be too injured to travel, most Florida personal injury attorneys will visit you in the hospital or your home soon after the accident.
This allows them to get the details of the car accident and decide about where to start the painstaking and meticulous work of investigating the facts and building your case. Some of the questions a car accident lawyer might ask if you were injured in a Florida Car Accident might include:
- What were the weather conditions?
- How fast were you driving?
- How did the accident happen?
- How many other cars were involved?
- What insurance do you have and have you had any communication with them?
- Do you have uninsured motorist insurance?
You can also expect your car accident attorney to informally touch on your initial hospital visit and doctor’s report. Lawyers are not as callous as many people believe. We genuinely want to know how you're doing, what your medical condition is, and how your life may be affected as a result of the injuries you sustained in the car crash.
Your lawyers may ask you to sign a form that grants them access to your medical files, insurance policies, police records from the accident, and other relevant information. This puts the injury attorney in a position to make some evaluations and determine whether there is enough evidence and damage to warrant a case before the courts. We offer free consultations, and many other lawyers also usually offer the first consultation for free. This consultation is enough of an overview for the car accident lawyer to determine whether you have a car accident injury case in Florida or not.
Step 2: Accident Investigation After a Florida Car Accident
After the initial consultation with a car accident lawyer, if you have a case or the makings of a case, the lawyer and his investigative team will then get to work and compile the relevant evidence, including talking to any witnesses. This is after you have permitted them.
Compiling evidence may include:
- Taking photos of the accident scene
- Taking photos of the damaged vehicles
- Gathering current and past medical information
- Assessing road conditions
- Looking at insurance policies
This will help the lawyer determine if you have proof of negligence, fault, and causation. The more supportive evidence they collect, the stronger your car accident case will be.
Step 3: Settlement Offers After Florida Car Accident
Concerning policy obligations, the responsible insurance company may want to settle if they feel that they are considerably exposed. This usually happens before discovery or negotiations have been conducted. This tactic is prevalent with insurance companies as at this stage the full extent of your injuries has not been medically documented. Your lawyer should advise you not to agree to anything before a thorough consultation and investigation into your claim so you have an idea of what you might be legally entitled to in terms of compensation and damages.
Step 4: Medical Reports After Florida Car Accident
The basis of your injury case after a car accident lies in the existence of supportive evidence that speaks to negligence, fault, and causation of the crash. Eyewitnesses or CCTV cameras in the area of the accident scene are valuable forms of evidence. The other driver is also a witness.
The other equally important part of your car accident case is your medical report. Documentation of injuries is an important part of litigation, and your lawyers know this. So don't be surprised if they recommend that you see a highly specialized doctor, occupational therapist, forensic expert, or other rehabilitation professional. These doctors will be sure to not only diagnose and treat you but will also document your injuries which will serve as proof that your injuries were actually caused by the car accident.
The responsible insurance company may request that you attend medical appointments with their own doctors. This is to verify the credibility and validity of your injuries. Although a tedious affair, it is a necessary legal process. Your lawyer may choose to be present for these appointments and will have advised you on what to expect. Good communication with your lawyer regarding these appointments cannot be overstated.
Step 5: Depositions after a Florida Car Accident
A lawyer may conduct oral depositions to support your claim. Depositions are more or less like interviews for the car accident lawyer to ask questions to learn more about the accident, you, your injuries, how your injuries impact your life, and more. These are done with the help of family members, employers, colleagues, and accident witnesses.
Step 6: Discovery and Investigations After a Florida Car Accident
A discovery meeting is usually a one-day event but can go as long as two or three days, depending on circumstances. The purpose of discovery is to provide the parties involved in the accident - you and any other drivers or passengers in other cars - an opportunity to gather and assess the strength of the opposition. Cross-examination and special requests can be made by the opposition (the other driver involved in the car accident case), but your lawyer can accept or deny these requests.
Step 7: Mediation after a Florida Car Accident
The process of mediation is often presided over by a retired judge or a qualified neutral party. For a Florida car accident injury claim, mediation can happen at any point during the court process. It is not uncommon for the mediation to take place one to two years after the accident, usually to ensure that the client’s injuries have reached a plateau. Most claims are settled at this point. If mediation is unsuccessful, the claim will proceed to a pre-trial conference.
Step 8: Pre-Trial Conference after a Florida Car Accident
A pre-trial conference after a car accident is usually in a boardroom with the judge, the lawyers, and in some cases the insurance companies. Typically only the judge and the lawyers discuss during this meeting.
Step 9: Court and Trials after a Florida Car Accident
If the parties fail to reach an agreeable damages settlement for your car accident injuries (in alternative dispute resolution or other negotiations), your injury lawyer will present your case to the courts with thoroughly documented evidence. Here, in a trial, your lawyer will seek to establish the credibility of your injury claim stemming from the car accident and prove the negligence of the other driver or drivers involved. An experienced injury lawyer will do well in these endeavors.
Step 10: Settlement Awards after a Florida Car Accident
If the court rules in your favor, you are likely to receive financial compensation for your car accident injuries. The award is non-taxable and will be paid to you, after your attorney's fees are subtracted, in about 30 days.
Have You Been Injured In A Florida Car Accident? We Offer Free Consultations
If you were hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced Florida car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Please contact us online or call our Coral Springs law office directly at 954.755.7803 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve Florida residents including all of Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and all points in between.