The Stages of Personal Injury Litigation
Personal injury claims are generally grounded in negligence, which means that the injury happened because someone failed to use reasonable care. Maybe a driver ran a redlight, or a restaurant employee didn’t clean up a spill. Whenever negligent behavior causes an injury, the injured person has a right to seek compensation from the responsible party.
The injury is what triggers the litigation process. Here is what else you can expect when you seek personal injury damages in Florida:
- The first thing you should do after an accident is seek medical attention. Then contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Make sure you provide the attorney with as many details about the accident as possible, including witnesses.
- Your attorney will go through all of the evidence that you provide and then conduct a more thorough investigation. She will talk to witnesses, examine your medical records, and compile a detailed timeline of what happened.
- It’s possible that your damages are completely covered by insurance. In that case, your attorney can help you file an insurance claim. But if part or all of your damages aren’t covered, then you can file a personal injury lawsuit.
- File the lawsuit and notify the defendant (this is called service of process). Where you file the lawsuit depends on which court has jurisdiction over your case. Jurisdiction means that the court has legal authority to make a decision on your claim. Also make sure that you meet the filing deadline, or statute of limitations.
- Now it’s time for discovery. Each side will request information from the other party. There are certain documents that you must provide to the defendant, and vice versa. This will help both sides plan their arguments and respond to the other party’s allegations. You might need to ask the court to protect privileged information from discovery, or seek the court’s help in getting the other party to produce required documents.
- At any point before trial the parties can try mediation or arbitration to reach a settlement agreement.
- Once discovery ends, the trial can begin. (Some civil cases have juries, and others are just before a judge.) The length and scope of the trial depends on the complexities of the case. Both sides will present their versions of the case, and they may cross-examine witnesses.
- The judge or jury will make a decision. Either side may file an appeal if they are unhappy with the outcome. There are separate rules regulating the appeals process.
These are the basic stages of a personal injury lawsuit. But there are a lot of different variables that can arise based on the particular circumstances of your case.
Contact Us Today
Contact a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you are injured because of someone else’s negligence. We will guide you through the litigation process and help recover compensation for your injuries, including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related expenses.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.