How Long Will My Port St. Lucie Car Crash Case Take?
It is impossible for anyone to say that your vehicle collision case will settle in X months. Any lawyer who makes such a promise is probably just telling you what you want to hear. Or, the lawyer may be so inexperienced that s/he does not really know how long your car accident case will take.
However, we do know for sure that about 97 percent of civil cases settle before trial. Depending on a variety of factors, that settlement could take place at literally any time. While every case is different, here is a general outline of a negligence case in Port St. Lucie.
Largely based on information collected at the scene, an attorney prepares a demand letter and sends it to the insurance company. Such evidence often includes:
- The police accident report,
- Witness statements,
- Tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) and victim’s statements,
- Video evidence, perhaps from a nearby red-light camera, and
- The car’s Event Data Recorder.
Most cars sold since 2007 have EDRs. Depending on the make and model, the EDR captures and records information like steering angle, engine acceleration (or deceleration), and vehicle speed.
If liability is crystal clear and the victim’s injuries were not too severe, the Port St. Lucie negligence case may settle at this point. But in nearly all cases, there is at least a slight doubt as to liability and/or the victim was seriously hurt or killed. In these instances, the car crash case proceeds to the next phase.
Filing a Claim
The statute of limitations in a Florida tort case is usually two years. By this time, a substantial amount of time may have passed. To protect the victim’s legal interests, and to avoid a last-minute rush, attorneys often file legal claims at this point.
Florida is a fact pleading state. So, the written claim must be extremely detailed and well-researched. Attorneys must spend quite some time researching, drafting, and editing these petitions. The slightest inadequacy could mean that the victim’s legal rights are cut off.
Many cases settle at this point. Sometimes, once the insurance company knows that the victim’s attorney is experienced and aggressive, its lawyers back off. But once again, most cases proceed to the next phase.
During this part of the Port St. Lucie car accident case, the attorneys exchange information about their claims and defenses. Many victims must give depositions, submit to additional medical examinations, and provide requested documents. If there are other witnesses in the case, including expert witnesses, they will probably be deposed as well.
Once discovery is substantially complete, the attorneys usually have a very clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases. Now that all the facts are in and most of the legal research is done, settlement is an extremely high possibility.
Sometimes, the parties are fairly close together, but one side or the other needs a little push. That push often occurs during mediation. A neutral third party tries to facilitate a settlement between the two parties. Mediation in Port St. Lucie also offers a preview of legal arguments and gives each lawyer a chance to test their arguments before an audience (the mediator). Mediation has a very high success rate, especially if it is voluntary mediation.
Work With Experienced Lawyers
Your attorney works hard to settle your car crash case as quickly as possible. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.