If you were recently injured in a Miami car accident, slip and fall on property, or through other forms of negligence, you might currently be working with the responsible party’s insurance company to obtain compensation. Filing an insurance claim is typically the first step your Miami personal injury lawyer will take in such a case, followed by settlement negotiations with the insurer.
However, you may not be as familiar with what happens if the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair, reasonable amount: The civil litigation process that starts when you file a lawsuit in court. Suing the responsible party to recover monetary damages triggers an entirely different legal process, so you should become familiar with the key stages of your case.
Filing Documents to Initiate Litigation
You initiate a lawsuit by drafting a Complaint that includes the allegations regarding the accident, a description of your injuries, and other relevant facts. In addition, you will also request that the court grant legal relief, i.e., monetary damages for your losses. You must file these documents within four years after the accident under Florida’s statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. After you start your lawsuit, you will need to arrange to serve the defendant with the Complaint and other essential paperwork.
Both plaintiffs and defendants typically engage in motion practice as a way to narrow down legal issues, identify facts in dispute, and handle some court-related administrative matters. Some of the more common types of motions by litigants include:
- A defendant’s motion to dismiss your lawsuit;
- Your motion to default the defendant for failing to comply with procedural rules;
- Motions related to discovery or testifying witnesses; and,
- Many others.
Discovery and Depositions
During the pretrial stages of your case, both parties will conduct both written and oral discovery to investigate relevant issues and review the evidence the other side will introduce at trial. You will likely be called for a deposition, in which opposing counsel will ask you questions regarding the accident, your injuries, and other details.
Personal Injury Trial
If you do not settle your case beforehand, the court will eventually schedule it for trial before a judge or jury. Each side will have a chance for opening arguments, and then your lawyer will present documents, exhibits, and witness testimony. Once your attorney rests, the defense will present its case. After closing arguments, the judge or jury considers all evidence and hands down a decision.
A Miami Personal Injury Attorney Will Guide You Through the Process
While this overview of the important stages of a personal injury lawsuit may be helpful, you will need experienced legal counsel to handle every step of the process. Our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA will advocate on your behalf in dealing with an insurance company, but we will take your case to court to protect your rights. For more information, please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, FL to schedule a free case assessment.