You may have never been involved in a lawsuit in your life. If you’re like most people who have never been in an accident, the thought of suing for compensation has never crossed your mind. When your facing mounting medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, though, you may believe that you have no other option. If you’ve been injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence, you are entitled to relief for your damages. After all, you shouldn’t have to cover your own expenses because someone else hurt you, right? The good news is that most personal injury cases settle before ever seeing a courtroom.
How Personal Injury Lawsuits Work
One of the first things that you need to understand is that personal injury lawyers aren’t always gunning to head into a courtroom. If they can reach a fair settlement with an insurance company or other responsible party, they would just as soon avoid litigation.
When you speak to a personal injury lawyer in Florida, your consultation should be free of charge. Most personal injury lawyers in this state work on a contingency basis, which means they’re paid from the proceeds of the lawsuit. If they don’t settle your case in or win in court, you’re under no obligation to pay them. Having said that, personal injury lawyers usually only take cases that they’re fairly confident that they can win.
In the state of Florida, contingency fees are capped by the state bar. The rates change depending on at what point in the process the case is settled and the total dollar amount of the settlement. Fees range from 15 to 40 percent.
The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit
In Florida, the statute of limitations for most types of accidents is four years from the date of the accident. In wrongful death suits, the clock begins at the date of death (as opposed to the date of the accident if they’re not one and the same) and the statute of limitations is two years. In medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is two weeks from the date when the negligence was discovered. Regardless of the time period for your type of personal injury case, it helps to involve an attorney as soon as possible.
Why should I split my settlement with an attorney?
If you’re injured in an accident, you might be offered a settlement by an insurance adjuster within a few days. In fact, some companies send an adjuster to the scene of your accident. It might be tempting to just take the check and keep all of the proceeds, but these amounts are often substantially less than if you allow an attorney to negotiate your claim. Adjusters play on the fact that most victims have no idea what they’re actual damages are. They offer a settlement based on their anticipated medical expenses, but not things like lost wages and pain and suffering.
A personal injury lawyer is trained to calculate full recoveries and they negotiate that amount. The reason that personal injury attorneys can stay in business is that the increased settlement amounts typically absorb their contingency fees.
In the event the insurer and your lawyer cannot come to an agreement, then it’s time for litigation. When choosing a personal injury lawyer, make sure that they have litigation experience in case it goes that route. If you’re in Duval County, contact personal injury attorney Fasig in Jacksonville with your questions.