What Happens When I Need To Take My Case To Trial?
Ideally, a personal injury case will go smoothly. This means that claims will be settled, damages compensated, and injured parties able to go on with their recovery without worry. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always occur. In all of the United States, around 95% of personal injury cases are settled in negotiations, but that about 5% left out need to go to trial in order to have their cases settled. While a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney should be sought as quickly as possible after an accident, it’s incredibly important to have one by your side if your case goes to trial.
When Filing A Claim Goes Wrong
When a Florida resident has been injured in an accident, no-fault insurance laws dictate their claim will be filed with their own insurance provider. While this sounds like it should be a simple process, as you’ve been paying your premiums and maintaining coverage all along, it rarely is. Ideally, for insurance companies, policyholders will pay their insurance premiums to the company and never require coverage, allowing all of those payments to become profits for the provider. Because insurance providers are looking after their own bottom line, they’re like to try to pay out as little as possible as long as they can get away with it.
Insurance providers hope that the longer the negotiations process is drawn out, the lower the clients resolve will be, and they’ll be ready to settle for anything as long as its some form of compensation. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you don’t have to settle for a settlement amount that doesn’t meet your needs, and while you’ll need to take your case to trial, you’ll be placing yourself in a position to be successful in finally getting the compensation you deserve.
The Beginning Of Your Lawsuit
After failing to negotiate to a suitable settlement, the beginning of your lawsuit will begin. The lawsuit must be filed within 4 years of your accident, and the sooner the lawsuit is filed the better. Lawsuits aren’t the ideal situation, but it’s sometimes the best course of action to take if an insurance provider fails to respond to reasonable settlement requests. In some instances, the filing of a lawsuit can be enough for insurance companies to respond with a more reasonable settlement offer.
The lawsuit is initiated by filing a complaint in the circuit court of the county your accident occurred in, not the county where one currently lives if the accident occurred elsewhere. At this time, your personal injury attorney will request the issuance of a summons by the Clerk of Court, which along with your complaint and discovery documents will be served to the insurance provider or defendant by a process server. After being served, the defendant must file an answer to the allegations in the complaint within 20 days by Florida state law.
The Discovery Process
In the discovery process, both sides investigate what the other side’s claims and defenses may be. This is done by conducting interviews and requesting information by and from both sides in the lawsuit case. For instance, the insurance company may wish to interview your witnesses, while you may ask the insurance company for any documents they may have to back up their claims.
Settling In Mediation
In most personal injury cases that turn into a lawsuit, settlements are reached in mediation. Mediation is a “last ditch effort” at negotiations after a lawsuit has been filed and discovery carried out. In a conference room, the injured party, the defendant, and their legal teams will sit with a mediator to try to reach a common middle ground with all information and evidence on the table. If a settlement cannot be reached in mediation, the lawsuit will proceed into a trial in a Florida court of law.