Nobody plans for a car accident, but they are extremely common occurrences. If you get into a car accident in Florida and are injured due to the negligence of another party (or parties), it’s important to be informed about the basic legalities of what a car accident claim entails in order to determine what your next steps are. Remember: When you have an experienced car accident attorney on your side, they can help you navigate each step of your case and ensure that all the appropriate actions are taken in order to have an optimal outcome.
A Breakdown of a Typical Timeline for an Auto Accident Case
Since there are so many unique factors involved in each individual auto accident case, there isn’t an “average” amount of time that it takes for a case to reach a settlement or go to trial. However, we break down the general timeline for most auto accident cases:
- Immediately following the car accident: Call 911, file a police report, collect the contact information of any witnesses present as well as other parties, take photo and video evidence of the scene, and seek medical treatment as promptly as possible. This is when you should consult with an auto accident attorney, who will explain the next steps to take.
- A few days or weeks after the accident: Your attorney will spend this time gathering and evaluating the evidence. They will also handle all the paperwork for your claim and deal with the insurance companies.
- Months after the accident: The “demand letter” is sent to the insurance company, and you may file a lawsuit if no acceptable settlement is reached.
Stages of a Florida Car Accident Lawsuit
If your lawyer is unable to reach an acceptable settlement with the insurance companies, or the other party refuses to negotiate, your attorney may help you file a car accident lawsuit. Although there are some exceptions and variations, most car accident lawsuits go through the following standard steps:
- A complaint is filed by the plaintiff: As the plaintiff, you and your lawyer need to file a claim or petition with the appropriate court stating your allegations against the defendant. In Florida, car accident lawsuits are civil cases, and the statute of limitations for a car accident involving injuries is two years.
- The defendant files an answer: After they’ve been served, the defendant can deny or admit the allegations levied against them, or file a counterclaim alleging that you were partially at fault. The defendant usually has 20 days to file an Answer.
- The discovery phase: This is when both sides depose witnesses and collect evidence.
- Mediation: Opposing sides and their legal representation meet and try to reach a settlement.
- Going to trial: While a trial is typically the last resort, if no settlement can be reached, your case ends up going to a jury. The jury decides the outcome of the case, though there is an opportunity to appeal the verdict after the trial concludes.
Contact Us Today
At Rosenblum & Mayer, we have decades of experience successfully reaching settlements for clients and litigating car accident cases. Call Rosenblum & Mayer to consult with an experienced car accident attorney today.