Most of us wake up in the morning, ready to go about our business. Some of us get kids ready for school while others head off to work, but nobody is ever prepared to get into an accident. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of people in Florida are injured every year in personal injury accidents. And, in case you get injured because of another person’s negligence, you do not want to be stuck with high medical bills and lost wages. For these reasons, you should seek compensation for your losses.
However, before filing a personal injury claim, it is crucial that you enlist skilled Tampa personal injury lawyers. At Shrader Law, PLLC, we guide you on how to file your injury claim and walk you through the claim process. Our experienced attorneys will also explain how the Florida personal injury claims process works, how to settle, and how long the claims process will take.
Different types of accidents and situations in Florida can cause personal injuries. In fact, the possibilities are limitless, but there are common incidents and accidents that can cause injury claims, including:
After you are involved in a personal injury accident because of another person’s negligence, you will need to seek compensation. Understandably, a personal injury case can seem daunting, but the more educated you are about the process, the less daunting it will be. Therefore, it is essential that you understand the process of your injury case.
Regardless of the nature of your situation, accidents can be frustrating. Accidents can be debilitating or even deadly. However, now is the time to think about your future and that of your loved ones. You can do this by documenting evidence about the case and following the right channel to get just compensation for your losses.
To document evidence, first, contact the police and give a statement, take pictures, gather witness information, get copies of everything (license plates, IDs, insurance cards, and more), and take notes of everything that could help your case. This can include weather conditions, traffic cameras, conditions on properties, and who you spoke to.
After a personal injury accident, ensure that you seek medical attention. In most accidents, injuries will not always appear immediately. According to Medical News Today, after an accident, the adrenaline rush and shock may mask your pain. This is why you should take photographs of any visible injuries that you may have sustained. It is necessary to do so because, with time, the injuries will heal, and you need evidence to help pursue your personal injury claims.
You may think that you are not injured after an accident, but it’s still necessary to see a doctor as soon as possible. Keep in mind that your insurance company may deny compensating you, or give you an unfair compensation if you don’t get treatment. In such a situation, they may argue that you were not really injured.
Some personal injury victims may think they need to speak to an attorney earlier, while others may want to wait and see what the insurance company will offer them. However, using an attorney during the settlement process can often help you obtain a more favorable settlement than an insurance company would offer you individually. At Shrader Law, PLLC, our Tampa personal injury lawyers will offer you the much-needed legal advice during your free consultation.
According to a recent study, personal injury victims who hired an attorney in their case received a settlement 3.5 times larger than those who pursued their injury claims on their own. Your lawyer will assess your case and determine the best approach.
Your Tampa personal injury lawyers will interview you on how the accident occurred, medical conditions before the accident, and background information. Additionally, they will want to know where you received medical treatment for your injuries. This will prepare your attorney for your case and prevent any surprises later. Therefore, it is important that you be honest with your lawyer and disclose or vital information, including any large debts you may have.
While some of the questions may seem irrelevant, they may affect your case directly. Being as honest as possible with your lawyer will help them to adequately prepare for your case. For example, an insurance company may claim that your injuries were pre-existing before the accident. For your attorney to combat the defense, they will need your past medical history.
In Florida, most injury cases are settled outside the court. While this can be a good thing, in some situations, it is not. At Shrader Law, PLLC, our experienced Tampa personal injury lawyers will analyze your case and are comfortable to go to court if needed.
Your attorney will file a claim to the at-fault insurance company before they file a lawsuit. In car-related accidents, you must have minimum insurance coverage (Personal Injury Protection or PIP). However, if the accident was not due to a car crash, your lawyer will identify who was at fault and file a claim with their insurance. In medical malpractice, your lawyer will file a claim with the hospital’s liability insurance company. If it is a slip-and-fall, they will file a claim with the store’s liability insurance company.
Once your lawyer has filed a claim, the insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to investigate your case and negotiate a settlement. In case an insurance company is not involved, your attorney will draft a demand letter laying down everything about your claim and demanding compensation.
Your attorney will try to negotiate a better settlement with the claims adjuster, but if a settlement is not reached, your attorney will file a lawsuit. According to the Florida Statutes, you can file a personal injury lawsuit within four years after the injury or accident. But the earlier you file a lawsuit, the better.
While lawsuits are not always the best course of action, insurance companies often respond with a better offer once a lawsuit is filed against them. Your lawyer will file a Complaint in the Circuit or County Court in the County where you sustained injuries and request the Clerk of Court issue summons. Once the lawsuit is initiated, the litigation phase of your claim will commence. This means that all negotiations will have to be through the defense counsel.
This is the process where each party investigates the other party’s legal claims and defenses. In Florida, each party is allowed to submit written inquiries to the other. For example, the rules allow both parties to serve interrogations. The interrogatories will inquire into your personal injuries, medical providers you have seen, and all damages you have incurred.
The next step is to schedule depositions. The defense counsel will subpoena your medical records before deposing you. A deposition involves giving testimony while under oath, and the defense counsel will ask questions at your deposition. At this point, the defendant may hire a physician to perform a CME (Compulsory Medical Exam), whereby the doctor will assess the injuries and provide their opinion on whether they are related to the accident or not. Your attorney will be present with you at the deposition and answer your questions through every step of the process. We are here for you.
After collecting information from discovery, attorneys from both sides will try and settle again through an alternative dispute resolution. They will also involve a mediator to help them settle. According to Florida law, this is often compulsory before the case goes to trial.
When both parties do not reach an agreement, the case will go to trial. During the trial, all information gathered through discovery is presented to the jury to decide the best settlement amount.
The purpose of the Florida personal injury law is to help victims who have been injured due to other people’s negligence. This means that you must prove that another person or people were responsible for the injuries you sustained. The concept of negligence in Florida is divided into three parts:
1. Duty of care
All people have an obligation to others to not harm them or place them in harm’s way. In personal injury cases, there is a limit. For example, a business owner or manager has to keep employees and customers safe from harm by fixing broken steps and cleaning spills, etc. This means that they must take reasonable steps to keep both workers and employees safe. However, the term “reasonable” is open to interpretation, and that is why you need an attorney in case you are injured.
2. Breach of duty
When your Tampa personal injury lawyers establish that someone has the duty to care, they will determine whether that duty was breached or not, or if the negligent party failed to live up to it. Your attorney will try to determine whether the defendant created a dangerous situation or allowed a dangerous situation to persist.
After our skilled Shrader Law, PLLC personal injury lawyers have proven that the defendant breached their duty of care; they will proceed to prove that the breach of their duty led to your injuries. Did the business owner have a duty to fix loose rails? Yes. Did they fail to fix them? Yes. Did the loose handrails make you lose your balance and caused your fall? Yes. While this simple case may look straightforward, it can become complicated quickly.
Sometimes, the defendant may admit they were negligent, but they may argue that their negligence did not cause your injuries. For instance, using the above example, the business owner may claim that your fall was not caused by the loose rails but because you were texting. Alternatively, they may claim that you lost your balance and fell because of the loose rails, but you had a pre-existing back injury.
The above situation makes it clear that you need an experienced Tampa personal injury lawyer to make the process much easier and increase your chances of a positive outcome.
If you have sustained physical injuries resulting from another person’s negligence, you are entitled to financial compensation. Our skilled Tampa personal injury lawyers at Shrader Law, PLLC will fight to ensure that you get fair compensation for your pain and suffering. Call 813-360-1529 or contact us to start the claim process today.