There are important steps for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident that you should be aware of. First and foremost, if you are in a car accident, make sure you follow these steps immediately after the accident.
While insurance companies often pay the full amount of the damages incurred in an auto accident, there are also circumstances that may cause some claims to be denied. Insurance companies are driven by profit, and personal injury claims may not be approved for a number of reasons. For many car accident victims in Central Florida, the only way to receive the compensation they are due is to hire Orlando car accident attorneys to navigate the waters of the legal system. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be a complicated undertaking, and following the proper procedure is essential in your case.
Before Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Before you file a lawsuit in regards to an automobile accident, it is important to understand several factors that could affect your case:
- Personal injury lawsuits in Florida are subject to the statute of limitations. The court will not accept your complaint if the accident occurred more than four years prior to filing.
- Every area of Florida is under the jurisdiction of several court systems, including circuit courts, state courts and federal courts. You must know which court handles cases such as yours.
- Your lawsuit must be legitimate and seek compensation only for actual damages. An experienced attorney can help you avoid filing a frivolous lawsuit that will be thrown out by the court.
- Hold on to any evidence that supports your case, including physical objects, photographs, recorded statements and documentation.
Starting the Lawsuit
The first step in filing a personal injury lawsuit is to file a complaint with the court. The complaint will detail all of the elements of your case, including the facts surrounding the accident, the injuries incurred and all of the associated damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages and unrecoverable future earnings. Each element should be supported by evidence so that the judge can decide whether your case is legitimate. In addition, you will need to pay a filing fee for your lawsuit to be accepted and entered into the system.
After the complaint has been successfully filed, you will need to notify the other party through a process server. A process server is a neutral third party who is charged with ensuring that all of the paperwork is delivered to the proper person. Among the documents to be delivered is a summons that states that the defendant must answer your complaint in a timely manner. The response, also called an answer, will detail the legal defenses that may be raised to prevent the defendant from having to pay the amount you requested in your initial complaint.
Contrary to what most people believe, very few personal injury lawsuits go to trial. Most of them are either dismissed or settled before a trial becomes necessary. Read our article “How Long Do Personal injury Cases Take To Settle” for more information on the timing of a personal injury case. After the complaint and answer have been received by the court, the case enters what is known as the discovery phase. During this phase, the attorneys for both parties will exchange information regarding the case. This can be done in three different ways: interrogatories, depositions and requests for documentation. Interrogatories are simply written questions to be answered by the other party while depositions are personal testimony that is provided under oath.
As the pretrial process continues, the attorneys will most likely be entering into concurrent settlement negotiations. If an acceptable amount of compensation is negotiated by your attorney, the case will end promptly. It is only after all negotiations fail will the case go to trial.
Orlando Car Accident Attorneys can help
For further information on personal injury lawsuits stemming from car and truck accidents and for a free consultation, contact the experienced Orlando car accident attorneys at David & Philpot, P.L. today.