If you have been injured in an accident in Florida, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. Filing a personal injury claim can seem daunting, but with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, it can be a relatively smooth process.
The Fran Haasch Law Group team can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your claim is filed within the applicable limitations. We understand the importance of the attorney-client relationship and will take quick action for your case.
How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Claim?
You will need to prove a few things to have a valid personal injury claim in Florida. First, you will need to show that the other party was responsible for the accident. This means that they were either negligent or reckless in their actions and that this led to your injuries.
You will also need to show that you suffered damages due to the accident. These can be physical, emotional, and financial. Finally, you must prove that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Some of the most common types of personal injury claims include:
Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Before filing a personal injury claim in Florida, you should do a few things.
Seek Medical Treatment
One of the most important things you should do after an accident is to seek medical treatment. This will help you recover physically, but it will also create a paper trail of your injuries. Be sure to keep all copies of your medical expenses and records.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Claim?
You are not required to have an attorney file a claim in Florida, but it is highly recommended. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to build a strong case and negotiate with insurance companies.
Another important step is to gather evidence from the accident scene. This may include taking photos of the scene, getting the contact information of any witnesses, and obtaining a copy of the police report.
Calculate Your Damages
Once you have gathered evidence and sought medical treatment, you will need to calculate your damages. This includes both economic damages (medical expenses and lost wages) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
Determine Who Was at Fault
In order to file a successful personal injury claim, you will need to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident. Florida follows a “greater percentage of fault” comparative negligence doctrine. This means that if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, you will be barred from any recovery.
During the Claim
The personal injury claim process can be complex, but your attorney will be there to guide you through every step.
Keep Track of Expenses
As you go through the claim process, keep track of all your expenses related to the accident. This includes medical costs, lost wages, and any other out-of-pocket costs.
Reach Maximum Medical Improvement
One of the most important things to remember during the claim process is that your goal should be to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means you have recovered as much as possible and are not expected to improve further.
File Your Claim Within the Statute of Limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. If you do not file within this time frame, you will be barred from recovering compensation.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
Most personal injury claims in Florida go through the following stages:
- Investigation and Claim Filing – Your attorney will investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim during this stage. Once they have gathered enough evidence, a claim will be filed with your insurance company.
- Negotiation The Discovery Phase – Most cases will settle through negotiation. Your attorney will work with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement agreement. If they cannot reach an agreement, the case will go to trial.
- Filing a Lawsuit and Discovery – Your attorney will file a complaint to initiate a lawsuit Both sides will exchange evidence and take depositions during the discovery phase. Depositions are sworn statements from witnesses that can be used in court.
- Trial – If your case goes to trial, both sides will present their evidence and argue their case before a judge or jury. The judge or jury will then decide who is liable and how much the injured party should receive in damages.
A settlement may be reached during any stage of your case. If you reach a settlement agreement you must sign a release waiving your right to sue. Once the release is signed, the insurance company will issue a check for the agreed-upon amount.
“Greater Percentage of Fault” Comparative Negligence in Florida
Under HB 837, Florida switched from a pure comparative fault system to a “greater percentage of fault” system in March 2023. This means that if a party is found to be greater than 50% at fault for their own harm, they are barred from recovering any damages.
For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages but are found to be 40% at fault, you would only receive $60,000. If you were 51% at fault, you would not recover any damages.
This is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney on your side who can help prove that the other party was at fault for the accident.
How Much Does it Cost to File a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury lawyers in Florida work on a contingency fee basis. This means they do not get paid unless you recover compensation.
How Long Do Personal Injury Claims Take in Florida?
The length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim in Florida depends on many factors, such as the severity of your injuries and the facts of your accident.
How Long After an Injury Can I Make a Claim in Florida?
In Florida, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. If you do not file within this time frame, you will be barred from recovering compensation.
Can I Get a Settlement Without a Lawyer?
You can settle your case without a lawyer, but it is not recommended. Insurance companies will often take advantage of accident victims not represented by an attorney.
An experienced personal injury attorney will protect your rates and ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible.
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out?
Most personal injury settlements are paid out in a lump sum. This means you will receive one payment for the full amount of your settlement. However, in some cases, you may be offered a structured settlement. This means you will receive your settlement in periodic payments over time.
Which option is best for you depends on many factors, such as your financial needs and the amount of your settlement. Your attorney can help you decide which option is best for you.
No-Fault vs. Fault States
Florida is a no-fault insurance state for car accidents. Each driver’s insurance company may pay a portion of their medical expenses and property damage regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
This is different from fault states, where the driver who was at fault for the accident is responsible for the damages.
How Does No-Fault Insurance Work in Florida?
All drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance in Florida. This type of insurance may cover some medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who was responsible for the accident.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
In Florida, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages have a specific monetary value, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages do not have a specific monetary value, such as pain and suffering.
In rare cases, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. These are damages designed to punish the other party for their negligence.
Consult Our Experienced Team of Personal Injury Attorneys Today
If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we offer a free case review so that you can learn more about your legal rights and options without any obligation. There is no obligation to hire our law firm, and we only get paid if we recover damages for you. Call (727) 784-8191 or contact us online to get started on receiving maximum compensation for your personal injury case.