In most cases, you have up to four years in which to file a Florida personal injury lawsuit. There is rarely a good reason to wait that long, but for some circumstances, the longer statute of limitations per F.S. 95.11(3) is advantageous. As for how long a Fort Lauderdale injury lawsuit will take to resolve once it is filed, the answer depends on many variables.
Whether we’re talking about a boating accident or a dog bite or a slip-and-fall injury or even a car crash, key questions to be resolved include:
- Who was at fault?
- To what extent were those persons at fault?
- What injuries resulted from the wrongdoing?
- How will those injuries impact a plaintiff, survivors, etc.?
That is a very broad oversimplification of the legal questions that arise, but the difficulty in answering them can shed some light on how long a claim may take to resolve.
For instance, as your Fort Lauderdale injury attorney sets about answering the question of “who is at fault?” we may discover there is more than one defendant with some responsibility. That could complicate the claims resolution process.
In some cases, it could be the our client (plaintiff) bears some degree of fault. In most cases, comparative fault (as outlined in F.S. 768.81, defined as the degree to which someone is responsible for their own injuries) will not bar a plaintiff from prevailing in a claim against a defendant. It can, however, make the claim more difficult because it may reduce the amount of damages to which you are entitled.
Other Factors at Issue in How Long an Injury Lawsuit Will Take to Resolve
Many Florida injury lawsuits are resolved even before they become lawsuits. Claims filed with the tortfeasor’s insurer may be paid after some back-and-forth negotiation with claimant’s attorney. Although this process does not require the help of an injury attorney, it is advisable any time there is more than minor property damage at issue. Injuries that involve broken bones, scarring or time off work might be worth more than you’d imagine at first blush because of the potential for long-term impact and medical costs. Working with an experienced Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer helps ensure your best interests aren’t overlooked.
Other factors that may play a part in extending resolution of your injury claim include:
- Whether both parties agree as to how the accident happened and who was at-fault;
- Whether both parties agree as to the cause of victim’s injuries (was it this accident or another factor, such as a pre-existing condition);
- How long it takes to gather and present necessary evidence, such as medical records;
- Whether the case requires testimony from an expert witness (medical malpractice cases automatically necessitate them, but some car accident and slip-and-fall cases do too);
- Whether the court has an overcrowded docket/busy schedule.
In some cases, defendants and plaintiffs may agree on several issues – up to and including who is at fault – yet still disagree on what is a fair payment for damages. Trial may be held on just this point alone. Compared to cases wherein several points are in contention, these personal injury lawsuits will likely be resolved more quickly.
Although no injury attorney can give you a certain answer on how long your case will take to resolve or what the outcome will be, generally speaking a claim can take anywhere from a few months to several years to resolve. There are many variables involved. Your experienced injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale should be able to give you a reasonable time estimate – noting possible contingencies that could shorten or lengthen resolution – early on in your case. Often the faster you get in touch with an injury lawyer, the faster your claim can be resolved.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Florida Statute Comparative Fault, F.S. 768.81
Florida Statute of Limitations, F.S. 95.11(3)
More Blog Entries:
Florida Teacher Assaulted by Student Fighting to Collect Full $3 Million Verdict, Jan. 28, 2019, Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer Blog