How Long Will My Florida Personal Injury Case Take?
As a client, you should ask questions and feel confident that you know what is happening with your personal injury claim or lawsuit. That includes knowing what your lawyer is doing to advance your case and the expected timeline of events. Clients often ask: “How long will my personal injury case take?” The answer depends on many factors. Here are a few of them.
What Kind of Personal Injury Case Do You Have?
The type of personal injury claim you are making often affects how long your personal injury case will take. For example, actions involving medical malpractice in Florida typically cannot be filed until your personal injury attorney first retains a medical expert, allows that expert to review your medical records, obtains a signed opinion from that expert corroborating that there are reasonable grounds to bring a medical malpractice action in Florida, and then participates in a 90 day “pre suit” process. As you might expect, this can all take considerable time. Once that process is complete, your personal injury attorney is then permitted to file your medical malpractice case with the court. From there, litigation can take anywhere from months to years, depending on how complicated your medical malpractice case is.
On the other hand, if your personal injury case involves a rear-end car accident, then you may be able to resolve your personal injury case within a matter of months. Perhaps, even sooner. That is because car accident cases tend to be less complicated factually and legally than, for instance, a Florida medical malpractice case. A Florida car accident case does not have the same “pre suit” requirements as a Florida medical malpractice case, often has only one or two defendants, and usually involves straightforward facts.
How Many Defendants Does Your Personal Injury Case Have?
More defendants can mean more lawyers, which means more schedules to contend with. No matter what type of personal injury case you have, or how simple that personal injury case may be, scheduling depositions, trials, mediations, and court hearings necessary to resolve that personal injury case often takes much more time when there are multiple parties involved. Lawyers and judges have busy schedules. Finding time when everyone is available becomes more difficult as the number of parties in a lawsuit increase.
Where Will Your Personal Injury Case Be Filed?
Pushing a personal injury case toward settlement or trial in a busy city like Miami, Orlando, or Tampa can take much longer than other, less populated areas of Florida. Judges only have so much time in their day to hear litigation issues, preside over trials, and help litigants resolve discovery issues. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for personal injury attorneys to sometimes wait weeks or months to bring a relatively simple matter before the court. Even if a personal injury case is litigated quickly and is ready for trial, that personal injury case may have to wait in line behind other, earlier-filed lawsuits before it can proceed to trial. Therefore, it may take much longer to resolve a personal injury case if it is filed in a heavily-populated venue.
At Viñas & DeLuca, we have litigated matters in multiple jurisdictions throughout Florida and know what to expect. Before ever suggesting to a client that they may want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit, we thoroughly explain to the client the pros and cons of litigating their personal injury claim, including the cost and length of time which might be involved.
How Much is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?
If your personal injury case has significant value, you can expect it will be vigorously defended by insurance companies and defense lawyers. This may mean that your personal injury attorney has to depose multiple defense experts, engage in protracted litigation, address multiple defenses, and possibly take your case to trial. This can result in significantly more legal briefing, research, court hearings, and other time-consuming legal work. If you have a serious personal injury case, be sure you choose an attorney who can competently navigate the legal issues ahead and effectively present your case at trial if needed. Skilled defense lawyers can find creative ways to delay your personal injury case, invent roadblocks to resolution, and diminish your chances of success.
Which Law Firm is Handling Your Personal Injury Case?
Not all personal injury attorneys and law firms are created equal. Different lawyers and law firms can have vastly different approaches to handling personal injury matters. Some personal injury attorneys may simply move cases faster than others for a variety of reasons. The type of law firm you retain may in some cases also affect how quickly your personal injury claim is resolved. Some personal injury attorneys have “volume practices” while others make a point of limiting their caseload. The more matters your personal injury attorney is responsible for, the less time that attorney will have for each case. Although it is not always the case, this too can delay the resolution of your personal injury case.
Do You Have the Evidence You Need for Your Personal Injury Case?
If your personal injury case involves a simple car accident, you may not need to do much digging in order to gather the evidence necessary to win your case. Often eyewitness testimony, photographs or videos from the scene of the car accident, and police officer testimony may be enough to establish negligence. However, if your personal injury case involves a slip and fall accident in which you are uncertain as to what you slipped on, who owned or managed the property, why there was a substance on the floor, or who was responsible for it, then you may need to litigate your personal injury case to uncover important facts. Similarly, personal injury claims related to product liability or medical malpractice often require skilled expert testimony in order to uncover what happened. The information you need to prove your personal injury claim may not be easily accessible and, therefore, require litigation. In a premises liability case, for example, your personal injury attorney may need to take several depositions and review multiple contractual agreements in order to distinguish the rights and responsibilities among property owners, property managers, tenets, etc. This all takes time.
Appeals are uncommon. That said, if your personal injury case results in any appellate proceeding, then your case will take longer than it otherwise would have. Appeals can take months or even years to resolve.
If you or a loved one believe you may need a personal injury attorney in Miami and wish to speak with one of our Miami injury attorneys, then please Contact our offices to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. You can call us 24/7/365, chat with us online, or complete our free case evaluation form.