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Procedural Issues That Could Hurt Your Clearwater Personal Injury Case

Procedural Issues That Could Hurt Your Clearwater Personal Injury Case

Personal injury law is complex—which is why there are so many personal injury lawyers out there. When you are pursuing a personal injury claim, many potential obstacles stand between you and victory. 

Two kinds of obstacles frequently present themselves: substantive obstacles and procedural obstacles. A substantive obstacle might arise, for example, if the defendant’s behavior was not illegal in Florida. An example of a procedural error, by contrast, is filing an otherwise valid claim in the wrong court.

Dismissal for Failure To State a Claim

When you file an injury claim, you must assert the existence of facts which, if they are true, would render the defendant liable to you for personal injury. If you fail to do so, the defendant can ask the judge to dismiss your case for “failure to state a claim.”  

One example that applies specifically to personal injury claims is failure to assert that you suffered a physical injury. If the judge dismisses your claim, they will probably allow you to fix it and try again.

Expiration of the Statute of Limitations Deadline

In Florida, the statute of limitations deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years in most cases. If you fail to file a lawsuit within two years after your injuries occurred, and if no exceptions apply, your claim is effectively dead. 

If you try to file a lawsuit after the deadline, all the defendant has to do is file a motion to dismiss your claim for failure to comply with the statute of limitations. The court will almost certainly grant this motion.

Your Complaint Fails To Meet Formal Requirements

Every court requires that you make your demands in the form of a complaint. If you are asking for $10,000 or less, you can submit your claim to a small claims court, where formal requirements are relaxed. 

If your claim is more than $10,000, however, formal requirements are stricter. If the court dismisses your case because your complaint contains formal defects, it will probably give you a chance to fix it and try again.  

The Defendant Files a Motion for Summary Judgment Against You

The defendant can ask the judge for a summary judgment. In essence, the defendant will assert that your evidence is so inadequate that you have not proven your case. They will then ask the judge to decide the case against you without even submitting it to a jury. 

If the judge accepts the motion, they will dismiss your case. If that happens, it is over immediately; the jury will pack up and go home, and so will you. 

You Fail To Cooperate With Pretrial Discovery Demands

The pretrial discovery process will begin soon after you file a lawsuit. During discovery, each party will demand evidence that is in the possession of the other party, using legal weapons such as depositions (cross-examination under oath) and interrogatories (written questions). 

If one side refuses to cooperate, the other side can petition the court to order the uncooperative party to either begin cooperating or face sanctions.

The Court Suppresses Your Evidence

The defendant might ask the judge to suppress some of your evidence. It might, for example, assert that your expert witness is unqualified (not good enough to serve as an expert). If the judge agrees, they will bar the evidence from the trial. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose your claim, but it probably will at least weaken it.

An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Procedural Obstacles

An experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyer should understand Florida civil procedure law inside and out. With this knowledge, they can identify and advise you against damaging errors that you might otherwise commit. This might make the difference between victory and defeat. Alternatively, It might make the difference between a large settlement and a small settlement. Of course, you might not need a lawyer. Schedule a free initial consultation to find out.

Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer from Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Clearwater today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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