Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident as a result of another driver’s negligence? Each year there are more than six million accidents in the United States. While many of these are minor fender benders, others can be truly catastrophic, life-changing events.
After your auto accident, you may suffer lingering injuries and consider filing a lawsuit to recover your damages. Read on to learn when you are eligible to sue after a car accident and how this process works!
When You Can File Suit
The statute of limitations in your jurisdiction is the timeframe within which you can file a lawsuit after your crash. For example, the time frame to sue after a car accident in Florida is four years.
Keep in mind that this clock begins from the date of your accident. If you wait until after the statute of limitations expires, your lawsuit will be dismissed. You may also be responsible for paying the other side’s attorney’s fees and court costs in defending the lawsuit because it is late.
While you’ve got four years in a state like Florida to bring your claim, it’s a smart decision not to wait until you are right up against this deadline to file your Complaint.
Understand The Process
Before you file suit, many different things happen in the pre-suit phase. Right after your accident, you will treat by medical professionals like doctors. You will undergo any necessary medical treatment you need.
If your injuries are severe, you may need to continue treating with medical professionals. This is so you can try to regain the quality of life you had before your car accident. When you hire an attorney, they will prepare a formal demand letter to the other side.
This letter is your chance to put an insurance company on notice of your case and explain your position. In the letter, an attorney will recite the facts and attach your medical records. At the end of the letter, your lawyer will include a time-sensitive demand for money damages.
If an insurance company won’t settle after they’ve gotten the letter, you will need to file a lawsuit. This transitions the case into the litigation phase of the process.
Ways to Settle Your Case
Litigation can be a time-consuming and emotionally-draining process but also one you can’t avoid to receive payment for damages you are owed. A lawsuit begins with the filing of a Complaint and the issuance of a Summons.
You must then serve a copy of the Summons and Complaint on the negligent party in the case. Once served, the defendant has 20 days to file a response. The parties then begin the formal discovery phase. This includes paper discovery, including the review of medical records and taking of depositions.
After both sides have learned more about their cases, they will often participate in a mediation or arbitration conference. If the case can’t settle at these meetings, it will proceed to trial.
While more than 90 percent of cases settle before trial, you need to be ready to try your case if you can’t resolve it sooner.
Wrapping Up: Sue After a Car Accident
It’s an important decision to sue after a car accident and it’s not one you should take lightly. By knowing the time frame to file a lawsuit and what the process entails, you will be more confident in your decision after a car crash.
Are you interested in learning more about your options in a personal injury case? Check out our blog section for great posts with tips and tricks to help you navigate through uncharted territory!