No one wants to consider the possibility of getting involved in a personal injury accident, but it is a common occurrence in South Florida. If you experience an incident that results in harm or damage to you or someone you care about, know that you have options, including suing in court or settling your personal injury claim. Either option may help you achieve your goal of receiving just compensation, but it will take some consideration and legal counsel to determine the best path for your particular case. Learn more about the risks and benefits of your available choices for a personal injury claim so that you can make an educated decision about your next step.
What are the Steps in a Personal Injury Claim?
There are a variety of different instances in which a person may file a personal injury claim, as a personal injury can result from a number of incidents, from a workplace accident to a boating accident. Although the cause of the injury may vary, the components of a personal injury claim remain the same.
- You seek medical treatment after an accident: After an injury, such as an automobile collision or a workplace accident, always seek out a medical professional to ensure you did not suffer any serious damage even if you feel unharmed.
- You consult with an experienced lawyer: Find a personal injury lawyer who has worked with similar cases in the past and will be able to help you identify the next actions for your particular case.
- The lawyer investigates the claim: Talk with a personal injury lawyer about the facts regarding the incident and provide them with as much information as possible, including medical records from the accident. They will use this to help build your case and guide you through the next steps in the process of submitting your personal injury claim.
- The lawyer chooses to make a demand or negotiate: After reviewing your case, your lawyer will make a decision on whether or not to move forward with a demand or negotiate the claim with the other attorney. If the injured party has reached “maximum medical improvement,” a lawyer may choose to wait to continue the case until they have recovered more completely. This is done to ensure that the maximum amount of compensation is made available to the plaintiff, as a lawyer cannot know how much a case is worth unless the injured person no longer requires medical assistance.
- The lawyer files your personal injury lawsuit: If the lawyer chooses to move forward with your lawsuit, the litigation phase of the case begins. At this point, getting a case to trial may take several months to years.
- The case enters the discovery phase: During the legal discovery phase, legal representatives on both sides will have the opportunity to investigate the other party to identify what supporting evidence they have. This process can last anywhere from six months to a year.
- The case enters mediation, then negotiation, then trial: When a case enters mediation, legal professionals bring in a neutral third party to help resolve it. If that was not successful, the case then goes to negotiation, where both the plaintiff and the defendant have an opportunity to come to an agreement about the outcome of the case. Finally, if negotiation is not conducted, the case moves to trial before a judge.
It is important to understand that personal injury claims are formally processed legal assertions that an accident has occurred due to negligence by another party, causing injury for the victim. It can be challenging for individuals who have been recently hurt in accidents to juggle the stress of being in recovery with the anxiety that comes from filing a legal claim on their own.
Settling a Personal Injury Claim Outside of Court
There are many reasons why someone who filed a personal injury claim would want to settle it outside of court. Depending on the circumstance, this situation may present the best option for the plaintiff, especially if they are looking to obtain faster compensation to pay for medical bills that may have begun to stack up after the accident.
Other benefits to settling a personal injury claim in South Florida outside of court include:
- Obtaining payment sooner than if you went to court
- Less stress, hassle, and anxiety for the victim
- Avoiding lengthy court processes, including the deposition, trial, and sentencing hearing
- Higher likelihood of receiving compensation from the defendant
Certain disadvantages come with settling a claim for a personal injury outside of court, including the possibility that the victim may be receiving a smaller amount of financial compensation from the defendant’s insurance company. This is often a negotiating tactic used in legal cases, and any individual who hopes to move forward in their claim in any capacity should work with a trusted personal injury lawyer who will be able to help them understand if this is the best course of action.
Suing Over a Personal Injury Claim in South Florida Court
In many situations, someone who is filing a personal injury claim will want to proceed with taking it to court. As with any legal decision, there are a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages to the decision to pursue a personal injury case in court, including:
- Court trials allow plaintiffs to remark on and pursue justice for issues and concerns
- Trials may yield a higher amount of compensation than settling a claim
Taking your case to court is the right move if the defendant refuses to pay for the reasonable amount of compensation related to the victim’s injuries, and it is especially necessary to take the claim to court if the defendant refuses to pay at all.
For some individuals, compensation is not always the goal when it comes to taking a claim to court. If a person experienced a life-changing injury due to negligence by a large company or corporation, they may seek legal action against them in order to inform the public about the incident. Settling a claim keeps the case out of the public eye, but a trial does just the opposite.
Work with a Trusted Personal Injury Claim Lawyer in South Florida
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a personal injury, do not wait another day to contact an experienced personal injury claim lawyer who can help you with your case. There are hundreds of lawyers to choose from in South Florida, but not all of them will treat your claim with the respect and attention that it deserves.
Renowned personal injury lawyer Robert Baker is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and has years of experience in successfully working with complex cases. Let him and his firm of trusted legal professionals at Baker Legal Team fight for you and your claim. When you’re ready to move forward and pursue your South Florida personal injury claim, call 561-320-0000 or reach out online to schedule a free consultation.