Car Accident Settlement Timeline in Florida
Some car accident claims might be settled within a few months, while others could take much longer to resolve. Some cases might go to trial because the parties cannot reach a favorable settlement, extending the process.
In this article, we discuss factors that can affect the timeline of a Florida car accident settlement. This information can help you understand what to expect if you file a personal injury claim after a traffic collision.
What Factors Can Impact the Car Accident Settlement Process in Florida?
Numerous factors can impact how long it takes to settle a car accident claim in Florida. Some factors are unique to a specific case, while others are common in all cases.
Common factors that can impact your car accident settlement timeline include:
Your Recovery Period
One of the most significant factors determining how long it takes to settle a personal injury claim is the victim’s recovery period. For example, it could take almost a year for someone to recover from a back injury that required surgery and extensive physical therapy. On the other hand, it may take just a few months to recover from a broken arm.
We don’t want to settle your claim until you reach MMI (maximum medical improvement). MMI is the point in your medical care when your doctor determines that no further treatment is expected to improve your condition.
A person may fully recover from their car accident injuries. However, another person may reach MMI without fully recovering from their injuries because they sustained a permanent impairment.
You cannot know the extent of your injuries or damages until you reach MMI. For example, you might require long-term nursing/personal care. If so, you deserve compensation for that cost, but you will not know this until you reach MMI.
Likewise, if you sustain a permanent disability, you might not be able to work, or your earnings may decrease. If so, you could receive compensation for future lost wages and reductions in earning capacity. However, these damages cannot be evaluated until you reach MMI.
Therefore, the duration of your recovery significantly impacts the timeline for a car accident settlement. However, we must also monitor the statute of limitations so that we don’t allow the time to run out to file a personal injury lawsuit. If time expires, you lose the right to pursue a legal claim for damages.
Car Accident Investigation
While you are recovering from your injuries, we’ll investigate the cause of your car accident. Our legal team will gather evidence proving causation, fault, and damages.
Some accident investigations are straightforward. For instance, a vehicle ran a red light and caused a collision. We might gather police reports, eyewitness testimony, traffic camera footage, and other evidence proving that the other driver caused the crash because they failed to yield the right of way.
However, some traffic accidents are more challenging to investigate. For example, multi-vehicle collisions may require the assistance of an accident reconstructionist to determine all factors that led to the crash and identify the parties responsible for each factor.
Generally, we can complete the investigation while the client is recovering from their injuries. However, there could be situations that require more time to gather sufficient evidence to build a case against the at-fault driver.
Valuation of Damages
Damages represent the harm caused by the other driver. You may be entitled to compensation for your economic and non-economic damages, depending on the circumstances of your Florida car accident claim.
Examples of damages include:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Diminished quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Lost wages
- Personal and/or nursing care
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- A decrease in quality of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Impairments and disabilities
The value of your claim is based on numerous factors, including the severity of your injuries, the strength of your evidence, and your degree of liability for causing your injuries. We can work with you, your doctors, and experts to value your damages correctly to maximize the value of your car accident settlement.
When you complete your medical treatment and the investigation is finished, we can begin settlement negotiations. Our lawyers will prepare an extensive settlement package supporting our demand for compensation.
The package includes a letter outlining the facts of the case, the legal grounds for liability, and an explanation of your injuries and damages. We’ll also include medical records and other documents that substantiate your injuries and damages.
Settlement negotiations could take a few weeks or months. It depends on many factors, including whether the insurance company accepts liability for the claim and the company’s willingness to negotiate a fair settlement amount.
Our lawyers are skilled negotiators. We know when to be aggressive and when to use diplomacy to achieve a positive outcome in your case.
What Happens if the Other Party Refuses to Settle a Car Accident Claim?
Most car accident claims are settled through private negotiations or mediation. However, some cases cannot be settled because the other party disputes liability or refuses to agree to a fair settlement amount. In those cases, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit and pursue your claim in court.
Filing a lawsuit extends the timeline for a car accident settlement. It could take up to a year or longer to go to trial.
The phases in a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Filing a complaint and pleadings
- The discovery phase
- Settlement negotiations and/or mediation
- Pre-trial motions
- Selecting a jury
- Opening statements by the attorneys
- Examination and cross-examination of witnesses
- Closing arguments by the attorneys
- Jury deliberation and verdict
- Possibility of an appeal
Going to trial does not guarantee a positive outcome. Even if you have a strong case, you never know what a jury might do. Furthermore, if there is a chance that you could be partially to blame for causing the accident, your compensation could be reduced or eliminated under Florida’s comparative fault laws.
Deciding whether to accept a settlement or go to court can be difficult. Our experienced lawyers can explain the various options you have for proceeding with a car accident case, including the pros and cons of each option. We will outline all possible outcomes so that you can decide what is best for your situation.
Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You Throughout the Settlement Process
We understand that you need to settle your car accident claim as quickly as possible. The Clearwater car accident lawyers from Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers will work diligently to obtain a fair settlement without sacrificing the amount you receive for damages. Call now at (727) 787-2500 for a free case evaluation to discuss how much your car accident claim is worth and how we can help you.