How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Clermont, Inverness and Tavares, Florida
A knowledgeable attorney can make all the difference
There is no requirement that you have an attorney help you file your personal injury claim. However, filing a claim is the easiest part of the process, and it’s often a long road from filing suit to negotiating a settlement or winning a trial before a judge or jury. So that you can understand what needs to be done, and how much a qualified personal injury attorney can help, Largey Law offers this brief account of what is required to file a personal injury claim in Central Florida.
Getting ready to file a personal injury claim in Florida
There are certain minimal legal requirements that you must observe or a judge will bounce your complaint out of court. In some instances this can be without prejudice, so you can re-file as long as you pay another filing fee. At other times, the judge will dismiss your claim with prejudice, so that your error can cost you any chance at compensation. Things to be aware of include:
- Jurisdiction — There are two questions to ask: can the court exercise jurisdiction over the defendant and can the court exercise jurisdiction over your subject matter? The rule is that you must file your claim in the county where the injury event occurred or where one of the defendants lives. You can file in County Court if the damages you’re seeking are less than $15,000. For more than that amount, you must file in State Court, or risk hitting a ceiling on damages that deprives you of a full recovery.
- Service of process —You must serve notice on the defendants in your case. We recommend using a professional process server, because errors in process can invalidate service. If, as is often the case, an out-of-state motorist caused your personal injury, you must contact a process server in that state to effect service.
Cause of action — The complaint you file must state a legal cause of action. This requires an allegation of five distinct elements that the court weighs when determining liability:
- Duty. The defendant must have a relationship with you (e.g. your doctor) or be engaged in an activity (e.g. driving on public roads) under which the law recognizes a duty to act with care.
- Breach. In most cases you must claim there was negligence on the part of the defendant(s). This is a failure to perform with the level of care required.
- Cause. You must allege that the failure to act with care caused the event that left you injured. This can be straightforward in the case of a car accident where a red-light runner hits another vehicle, or infinitely more complicated in a case of medical malpractice.
- Proximate cause. This is the legal requirement that the injury event was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the negligent act.
- Damages. This is the extent to which you were harmed. You must give a detailed account of your monetary losses and the physical and emotional toll your injury has taken.
- Prayer for relief — Closely related to your damages, this is the amount of compensation you’re asking the court to order the defendant(s) to pay. To complete this section, you must have a clear idea of how much your injury case is worth. This is just one of the many advantages that an experienced injury attorney offers.
- Statute of limitations — For most types of personal injuries in Florida, the time limit for filing a law suit is four years. However, there are exceptions. A knowledgeable attorney can ensure that you file your claim in a timely manner.
The cost of filing a claim is nominal. Of course, the cost of filing a claim incorrectly can be huge. If you fail to state a prima facie case in your complaint, a judge could grant the defendant(s) a summary judgment. That means you’ve lost without ever hitting the ball off the tee, and in court, you get no Mulligans. If you do file successfully, the tasks only get harder from here. Don’t sell yourself short; consult a knowledgeable injury attorney and get the assistance you deserve.
Get professional assistance with your personal injury claim in Clermont, Tavares or Inverness, FL
Although the law allows you to file a personal injury claim on your own, it’s rarely the best way to obtain the compensation you deserve. At Largey Law, we provide personalized legal assistance starting with our first client contact. We work aggressively to pursue the best possible outcome for your case. To set up a free initial consultation around your unique scheduling needs, contact us today at 352.508.1485 or online. We accept cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Se habla español.