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What Young Attorneys in Florida Should Know

If you are a young attorney in Florida working on personal injury cases, there are some key things to know about winning the settlement or verdict. It is essential to understand the car accident lawsuit timeline in Florida.

Pre-Litigation 

In most personal injury claims, you will not file a lawsuit for your client immediately. Instead, you will investigate the accident and collect facts and documents that support what your client alleges. Getting everything thoroughly researched and documented in the early stages of the case is critical. This phase includes the following steps: 

Initial Evaluation

You will have a consultation with the client to determine the case details and whether it is financially worthwhile to pursue a claim. 

Documentation and Calculation of Damages

You need to assess your client’s medical records and history. That way, you know your client’s physical, emotional, and psychological injuries in the crash. You also should get copies of his medical bills. With all of this information, you can calculate an estimate of the total damages. 

Crash and Negligence Investigation

You will investigate the scene of the accident, get copies of police reports, and interview crash witnesses. Your team may evaluate all vehicles’ conditions in the accident and check the other driver’s driving and phone records. This data is essential to prove the other person was negligent. 

Consultation with Experts

Developing a strong case requires bringing in experts to testify. Your law practice should have a strong network of expert witnesses that can be called upon to provide testimony on vital matters. These include doctors, accident reconstruction experts, engineers and scientists, economists, and life care planners. 

Insurance Company Negotiation

You will negotiate with insurance adjusters to resolve the case without going to court. Most cases settle, but good attorneys need to be ready to go to trial. 

Litigation 

Now you formally file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, and the court is involved. Settlement negotiations can continue, but you need to go ahead with preparing for the trial through the following steps: 

  • Filing
    • You provide the court with a written complaint and other documents, pay the filing fee for the client, and serve papers to the other party to the lawsuit. 
  • Discovery
    • Now, you will share documents, evidence, and information on the other side. You will ask questions and papers from the other attorney and do the same with you. You also may need to do interrogatories and depositions. 
  • Deposition testimony
    • These are statements that are taken under oath and can be provided to crash witnesses, police officers, or experts who consult on the case. The court reporter will transcribe each person’s testimony, and it is available at the trial. 
  • Motions and settlement negotiations
    • It is essential to continue to try to settle the case because you never know what a jury will do. Mediation is the next step when negotiations break down. The mediator tries to find common ground and agree on a settlement. Your client may not ask for you to be present in the mediation, but it often is a good idea. If this does not work, the trial is next. 

Trial and Appeal

Below are the steps of this stage if settlement negotiations and mediation fail: 

  • Trial
    • Present the case, and the other side presents theirs, witnesses are called, and the jury gives its verdict. 
  • Appeal
    • An appeal cannot be filed unless there was a severe error in the case. 

Those are the essential parts of handling a personal injury claim in Florida. Keep them in mind as you work towards the successful resolution of the case. 

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