The amount of time it takes to settle a slip and fall lawsuit in Florida depends on how quickly you build your case, file motions with the court, and the legal complexities of your case.
When you file a claim regarding a slip and fall accident, you might be entitled to compensation. However, the amount of time it takes to receive that compensation varies based on many different factors.
Building Your Case
The process of building your case after a slip and fall accident may take several months. To make a viable claim, your case must prove negligence on the part of the property owner. Immediately after your slip and fall accident, take the following steps:
Seek Medical Care
This is your first action after a slip and fall accident. Seek appropriate medical care, including a visit to the emergency room or doctor’s office. Ensure you follow your doctor’s treatment plan as any deviation can give the defendant’s lawyers reason to claim you were not injured.
File the Appropriate Reports
After your slip and fall accident, you need to file the appropriate reports. If you were at work, inform your managers and file the report according to the company policy. Get a copy of this report for your records and to give your lawyer. If the police came after your accident, make sure to get a copy of the police report. Consult with your lawyer before making a statement to the police since the defense could use your report against you in court if you admit liability.
Document and Collect Evidence
Follow your lawyer’s advice to collect and document evidence of the accident. Take pictures of your injuries, including bruising, wounds, casts, and bandages. Don’t forget to take photos of the scene of your accident, preferably before anything is cleaned or repaired. Keep any clothing or other items that show evidence of the seriousness of your fall. Blood, dirt, or property damage highlights to the court the severity of the accident.
Follow Your Lawyer’s Instructions
To ensure your case proceeds as planned, follow your lawyer’s instructions. Do not make statements to the defendant or their insurance company without your lawyer’s approval, and don’t sign any documents the defendant gives you. Refrain from posting on social media about your case since the defense could find your posts and use them against you.
This prevents complications later when you go to mediation or trial. Your lawyer needs to prove negligence on the part of the defendant to get you fair compensation, and by following their advice, you can help your lawyer build a solid case. A well-organized, streamlined case often results in a shorter wait period to receive your compensation.
Filing Your case
Once you have built your case, your lawyer files a motion with the court called a complaint. This motion begins the legal portion of your proceedings and gets the ball rolling in the legal system. This step itself takes no time at all. However, the process that follows may take several months to years.
Interim legal proceedings often delay the resolution of your case. Legal proceedings are the back and forth communication between you, the plaintiff, and the alleged negligent property owner, the defendant.
During a personal injury case, each side submits different motions in court. These motions are routine elements of every court case, and there is often several months lag time between motions. Expect to move through several of the following stages in your slip and fall accident case
Along with your complaint, your lawyer sends a summons, which is a legal notice to the defendant that you have filed a lawsuit against them. It lets them know the date and time of the first court appearance and the suit against them. The defendant now has a set timeframe to send a reply to your lawyer. In most cases, the defendant sends an answer which denies all claims against them.
Your lawyer follows up this answer with a demand letter sent to the defendant asking for certain compensation. It is an attempt to settle your case before taking further legal action. If the defendant agrees to your demand letter, your case stops, and you work out specific settlement details. However, most defendants will refuse the terms of a demand letter, and your case will continue through the pretrial stages.
Discovery and Pretrial Motions
The discovery stage of your case is when each side submits evidence to the court. Both the plaintiff and defendant’s lawyers receive copies of the submissions to prepare for a trial. Discovery documents include depositions, photos, reports, and other relevant evidence presented at court.
A pretrial motion is a motion submitted before you can go to trial. Your lawyer may file a pretrial motion for specific reasons, but generally, these motions are proposed to set your case’s parameters. They also resolve issues with discovery and procedure before your case goes to the last stages.
Mediation or Trial
In mediation, both sides sit down with a court-appointed mediator and attempt to settle before a trial. If both parties can agree upon a settlement amount during mediation, the lawyers draw up the appropriate documents. This ends your case, and you receive your settlement as soon as the papers are filed, and the payments are processed.
If you go to trial, however, your case may take longer. A trial date is set weeks ahead and may take several days or weeks to conclude. Your lawyer must present evidence that proves negligence on the part of the defendant to win your cause. In Florida, the comparative negligence statute may make this more challenging to prove than in other states. This is one of the complexities that add to the time it takes to resolve your case.
Judgment and Receiving Your Settlement
At the conclusion of your trial, you will receive a judgment. However, even if you win the case, receiving your settlement may take several additional weeks. First, your lawyers must agree on payment terms, and then you may need to wait up to six weeks for the payment to process.
Contact Our Law Office for a Free Slip and Fall Consultation
If you or a loved one received injuries due to a slip and fall accident, contact Jesse Davidson, P.A., to schedule a free consultation. We will examine your case’s details and work with you to get the compensation you deserve. Call (561) 252-7850 today.