When it comes to the State of Florida, not every injury is ripe for a personal injury lawsuit even when another person is clearly at fault. The reason for this is because there are thresholds regarding the injury that must be met for a personal injury lawsuit to be filed. These thresholds related to the extent of the injury as well as the injury’s permanency. When it comes to injuries suffered in traffic accidents, it is often impossible to immediately know how severe an injury is or how long it may last. In some cases, injuries that appear minor on day one will involve intense pain months down the line. Because of the difficulty of identifying the permanency of an injury early on, it is typical that lawsuits are delayed for at least six months from the date of the injury to better understand the scope and permanency of the injury. Once it is determined how long an injury may linger, there are other factors that can still affect how long a personal injury lawsuit will take.
The best practice is to file a lawsuit as soon as it is clear that an injury is permanent. A personal injury lawsuit won’t go to trial immediately; in many cases in can be a year or more before a case goes before a jury. While a personal injury attorney can ask for a trial right away, most of the time there are issues of discovery and negotiations that take place first.
Sometimes, settlement negotiations begin right away. However, these negotiations typically involve insurance companies who are rarely interested in making a serious settlement offer right away. Delay is a common tactic for insurance companies, as the premiums they receive act almost like interest-free loans up until the day a valid claim is paid out. What’s more, witnesses and evidence become harder to find as time goes on, which typically strengthens the defense’s case at trial. A personal injury lawsuit is best served with a diligent attorney who is ready to aggressively push a case forward.
In many cases, the judge overseeing the suit will ask the parties to take part in mediation before a trial is held. Mediations are just a conference where the parties attempt to settle the case. In some cases, the court may ask that multiple mediations are held in order to get a matter resolved. While settlements often happen on the eve of trial, it is up to the plaintiff’s attorney to be ready to move forward if that offer never comes.