The Legal Process for Accident Claims
Understanding the Legal Process that Your Florida Accident Lawyer Will Complete
Getting back on your feet after being injured in an accident can be a daunting, even overwhelming, task. The good news is that you do not have to do it alone. An experienced Florida accident lawyer can provide vital assistance by guiding you through the legal process and helping you build the strongest possible case to obtain monetary damages.
At Searcy Denny, we have decades of legal experience in personal injury cases to help the people that we represent maximize the compensation available under the law. We have a solid reputation for success and a strong track record that includes billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
Our personal injury lawyers take the time to understand each client’s specific individual circumstances and develop a strategy that meets their specific goals. We are skilled negotiators who make every effort to resolve cases efficiently and on optimal terms. Our attorneys are also seasoned trial lawyers ready to take cases all the way through trial, if needed, to get clients the full remedies they deserve.
The money damages typically available in these cases include compensation for medical bills, property damage, missed wages and any impact on your future earning capacity. Although it may vary based on the circumstances, there is a general legal process for an injured person seeking compensation from those responsible.
Sending the Demand Letter for Restitution
The process starts with informing the person or entity who caused the injuries – and often their insurance companies – that you intend to hold them accountable for their actions or failure to act.
The key is to work with a proven Florida accident lawyer who can evaluate your case, identify those liable for your injuries and help you weigh your rights and options. An experienced attorney should give you a direct and honest assessment of the situation.
Some accident cases can be resolved without ever having to file a lawsuit or go to court. The purpose of a demand letter is to make those responsible for the accident aware of their liability. It is also to demand that they compensate you accordingly. This often leads to some back and forth discussions in which one or both sides make offers to settle the matter without formal legal action.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If settlement negotiations do not happen or the parties are not able to reach an agreement, the next step is to file a lawsuit. The document filed in court is formally referred to as a “complaint.”
The complaint lays out some of the basic arguments as to why you are entitled to compensation and asks the court to order the person or entity you are suing (the “defendant”) to pay money damages. It also alerts the defendant of the lawsuit and gives the defendant an opportunity to respond.
Pre-Trial Hearings and Procedures
Preliminary hearings may be required to resolve procedural issues, jurisdiction questions and other matters. It is vital to have the assistance of an experienced Florida accident lawyer who can help you avoid some common pitfalls that may otherwise sink your case.
For example, a shipping company sued after one of its drivers is involved in a truck accident may argue that the lawsuit was filed in the wrong court or that the person suing has not provided the basic legal grounds required of a lawsuit.
The parties may also continue or restart discussions about resolving the case before it goes to trial. That may include opting for arbitration or mediation, which are two alternatives to traditional litigation.
In mediation, the parties take their case to a neutral third party (a mediator) who is specially trained in resolving disputes. This is often an attractive option because a mediator can resolve all or part of the case more quickly and efficiently than a judge, in some cases. Arbitration is a similar option in which one or more arbitrators weigh in on the case. Arbitration decisions, unlike mediator recommendations, are typically binding on the parties.
The Complex Discovery Process
During the time leading up to the trial date, both sides are required to turn over evidence to each other in a process called “discovery.”
That includes police reports, witness statements, physical evidence from the site of the accident and certain medical evidence detailing any injuries. It also extends to information about any expert witnesses that each side plans to rely on at trial.
In a car accident case, for example, lawyers for either side may want to formally interview those involved in the accident and other witnesses in a deposition. Lawyers for both sides are usually present at these interviews and a transcript of the deposition is made available for each side.
The parties can also ask each other questions directly by using a list of inquiries called “interrogatories.”
Going to Trial in Florida
A trial can last anywhere from one day to several weeks, depending on the nature of the case.
This is a formal proceeding in which each side presents its case by providing evidence and calling witnesses to testify. A judge conducts the trial and guides the jury, who generally determines whether the person or entity being sued is, in fact, liable for the accident by way of negligence or strict liability.
An effective Florida accident lawyer can make or break a case at any stage, particularly at trial. It is important to have someone in your corner who understands how the process works and knows how to present your case in the most clear and compelling way.
Talk With a Florida Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have the right to seek compensation from those responsible. The assistance of an experienced Florida accident lawyer can go a long way in making your case.
At Searcy Denney, our personal injury attorneys help injured people and their families put the pieces back together following an accident. We offer contingency fee arrangements in which we do not get paid unless you will your case.