One of the most common questions prospective clients ask Miami car accidents attorneys is how long it will take to resolve an injury claim and receive payment as compensation for their losses. For a number of reasons, it is difficult to provide an exact answer. There are too many variables involved, and every case is unique. The only constant in terms of the duration of a case is Florida’s statute of limitations, which requires you to file a lawsuit in court within four years after the date of the auto crash.
Still, a timeline is a useful way of explaining the different phases, and it can serve as a framework of how long a car accident claim will take. Though the details may vary, there are five key steps involved.
The first thing to do after an auto collision is seek medical attention for your injuries. If you need emergency care, some of the best emergency departments in South Florida include Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Mercy Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, and Memorial Hospital. When your injuries are not life-threatening, you can opt for same-day treatment at a local urgent care center.
Aftermath at the Scene
Investigation is crucial to a car accident claim, and the process starts immediately after the collision. If you are able, based upon the severity of your injuries, do your best to document the scene. Take pictures of:
- Damage to your vehicle;
- The area surrounding the scene;
- Any traffic signals or signs; and,
- Other relevant conditions.
In addition, you should reach out to any potential witnesses who observed how the accident occurred. Exchange contact information with other drivers, but limit your conversation to the basics – and never admit fault.
Filing an Insurance Claim
The next stage in the car accident timeline involves filling out accident forms, submitting them to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and requesting payment for your losses. Do not expect immediate payment, however; the insurer will conduct its own investigation to determine whether its policyholder was at fault as you are asserting.
The insurance company’s response to your claim will usually either be an outright denial or lowball settlement offer. Often, it is possible to resolve your claim through settlement negotiations to get fair, reasonable compensation for your losses.
Filing a Lawsuit in Civil Court
If the insurer will not agree to a sufficient amount of monetary damages, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in court. This last step in the timeline could take the longest, since litigation may continue over several months – or even years.
Trust a Miami Car Accidents Lawyer Every Step of the Way
There is no way to pinpoint exactly how long it will take to recover compensation for your losses as an auto collision victim, but this timeline should help you understand the various phases. Our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA can assist in with every essential task throughout the process, so please contact our firm to schedule a free consultation. We serve car accident victims throughout South Florida from our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, FL.