Car accidents are a part of life. If you get into a serious car accident in the sunny state of Florida and your car suffers extensive damage, or you are injured, you need to know the process to file a car accident lawsuit.
Filing a Police Report
After an accident, your body may tighten up and release endorphins as the impact is a great shock to your body. You may be disoriented, or otherwise feel fine. Even so, you may have an injury that will pop up in a day or so. This is common after automobile accidents. Do not exchange information and go home. Make a police report. Document the scene. It remains crucial to get the other driver's insurance information. You may need to get phone numbers from the other driver and any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Pull out your phone and take photographs of the scene. This includes damage to your vehicle and damages to any other vehicles in addition to other property damage that may have occurred.
Seek Medical Attention
Once the police arrive, they will ask you whether you need an ambulance. Depending on your injuries, you may or you may choose to drive yourself. Be honest with yourself as to how you are feeling. If you opt not to go to the ER, you may be ok seeing an urgent care center in your area. In Florida, you need to seek medical attention within 14 days or money you are entitled to due to the accident will be lost.
File a Lawsuit with Your Accident Attorney
Your next step is to contact your car accident attorney to file a lawsuit on your behalf. The sooner you contact your attorney, the better. It is ok to contact your insurance company to report your claim. However, it is always best to speak with your attorney prior so that they can protect your interests. An attorney can help you navigate the process and aid in your recovery.
The other two steps are important because they will provide your legal advisor with documentation to prove the damage and a police report with other details.
How the Process Works
- If you are injured or suffered damage to your vehicle, your attorney will file a lawsuit for you.
- The defendant will be notified and must contact their insurance company. The insurance company may provide legal assistance to the defendant.
- That attorney will then file a response to your lawsuit complaint.
- After that, the discovery process begins as you seek medical help to heal from injuries or get your car repaired. Your legal representation will gather all the evidence pertaining to the accident from police reports, your insurance company, and any quotes you got from repair shops, along with copies of your medical bills.
- Your attorney may try to settle for an amount that works in your favor covering all your expenses.
- Once you hand your case over to your attorney, you can relax and let them do their job while they work for you.
If the other party was responsible for the crash, and that is clearly indicated in the police report and through other evidence, the outcome should be relatively simple: you will be awarded a settlement for your expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, and damages.
However, if you were partially responsible, then the case could become more complicated. In that instance, Florida law falls on a "pure comparative fault" rule to figure out who is responsible for what. The judge or jury will determine how much you are entitled to and then divide that by how much (percentage figure) you were responsible for the accident.
The statute of limitations on filing a car accident lawsuit in Florida is four years from the date of the crash. It sounds like plenty of time, but it might slip by quickly depending on your injuries and healing time. Be sure to contact your auto accident attorney right away to avoid missing this deadline.