Are you looking to file a personal injury claim but want to know how long a car accident case will take? With an eye toward simplifying the auto accident claims system and reducing congestion in the courts, Florida became the second state in the country to adopt no-fault insurance in 1971. For many individuals who suffer moderate injuries in a car accident, their own insurers can issue compensation quickly and efficiently after a claim is filed. However, insurance claims can go astray and the expenses related to serious injuries can easily exceed the limits of a typical policy.
Before you take any legal action, discuss your case with the experienced St. Petersburg car accident lawyers at Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner. We provide an honest assessment of your legal options and explain the details of the process, including the time frame you can expect.
Car Accident Case Process
Depending on the extent of your injuries, your first consultation may take place in our offices or we can come to you at home or in your hospital room. During this important meeting, we guide you through a frank discussion of your situation, including the details of the accident, who you believe was at fault and the extent of your injuries so that we can present one or more of the following options:
No-fault insurance claim — If your personal injury clearly falls within the range of your policy, the law may require you to file a claim with your own insurance company, regardless of liability for the accident. These claims are typically handled quickly and efficiently, but if you experience delays or denials for your claim, we remain available to intercede on your behalf.
Out-of-court settlement — When your injuries exceed your policy limits — or if your car accident was complicated by multiple liable parties or the special considerations involved with liability on the part of a commercial trucking company — our attorneys may be able to negotiate a settlement out of court to save time, while pursuing the full compensation you deserve. Each case has unique aspects that affect how long the settlement process takes. However, an average case can take a year or more.
Jury trial — Taking a case to court can take significant time, but serious car accidents may require court to help ensure you can pursue the full expenses associated with your injuries, especially if you face long-term or permanent disability.
Car Accident Case Going to Trial
Just getting onto the busy court dockets extends the time of a car accident case. Even when the case is scheduled, both parties must go through a potentially time-consuming discovery process that can include counterclaims. The process of jury selection, case presentation and jury selection can take significant time before the jury deliberates your case. These and other factors make it challenging to accurately predict how long the process may take.
In addition, the defendant in your case may allege that you shared liability for the accident. Even though Florida comparative fault law can reduce the value of your claim based on your own degree of negligence, our attorneys fully assess the risks and make sure you understand the likely outcome for your case. We encourage our clients to take certain types of claims to court when we believe they can receive the most generous awards from a jury.
Trials Can Often Turn into Settlements
The dedicated trial lawyers at Salter, Healy, Rivera conduct extensive investigations and prepare diligently to develop compelling cases to present to juries. In fact, opposing counsel often recognizes the validity of our cases during the trial or even before the trial begins. Since the law permits both parties to settle the case at virtually any point in the trial process, you may choose to accept a fair settlement offer, which can significantly reduce the amount of time to obtain the full compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers
At Salter, Healy, Rivera, & Heptner we are dedicated to ensuring our clients understand the full range of available legal options and what to expect during the legal process. While our trial lawyers have an impressive track record of success in court cases, we consider the time and other aspects of these cases before recommending this process to our clients. Call our office or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident attorneys. We will come to you if you cannot make it to our offices.