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Personal injury claim: What should I do first?

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you could be considering your options to obtain compensation for the costs you incurred as a result, as well as for your pain and suffering. Whether your injuries resulted from a car accident or a slip-and-fall mishap, you can file a personal injury claim against those you feel are responsible to seek restitution. If you feel you want to pursue such a claim, there are several things you must do to establish and support your claim in Florida.

Gather evidence

As soon as you are able to do so, you need to start collecting evidence. This includes taking photos of the accident scene and writing down everything that happened after the accident. Keep copies of all of your medical receipts, hospital bills and other documentation of the out-of-pockets expenses you incurred as a result of your injury. You may also obtain copies of your pay stubs as proof of lost wages. You should collect the contact information of any witnesses to the accident and take notes of any conversations you have with any others who were involved. Additionally, you should inform those you deem responsible for the accident that you intend to file suit against them to recoup any damages.

Act quickly

If you plan on filing a personal injury claim, you shouldn't wait too long. The sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can have the matter resolved. What's more, filing sooner rather than later will only increase your chances of presenting a successful case because your evidence will remain fresh and relevant.

Furthermore, most states have a statute of limitations that dictate how long you have to file suit. When the time runs out, you cannot seek a legal remedy in most cases. If you are bringing suit against a non-governmental entity, you have four years from the time of your accident to file suit in Florida. While this may seem like a long time, you must keep in mind that some injuries do not manifest directly after an accident. It can take time to gather all the evidence, complete the discovery process and prove your injuries resulted from the accident. If a government entity was responsible for the accident, the statute of limitations decreases, and the time limit depends on the government entity involved.

Seek legal counsel

If you feel like you have a case for a personal injury claim, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Your attorney can evaluate your claim and help you understand the time limits involved depending on your circumstances. An attorney will also be able to file your claim on your behalf and represent you throughout all stages of the process.

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