A car accident is arguably one of the most devastating events that can happen to you or anyone for that matter. In a single instance, your life can be permanently altered. Besides the fact that auto accidents often result in serious injuries, fatalities are also common.
What makes car accidents unsettling is that they happen so often in the state of Florida and the nation that you are statistically expected to get into a car accident at some point in your life. And unfortunately, for many people, recovery after a car accident is often a long, expensive and painful process.
If you or a loved one is harmed or killed in a car accident caused by the negligent or reckless driving of another motorist, you can be entitled to financial compensation. Under Florida personal injury law, you can file a claim against the at-fault party and recover damages not covered under your personal injury protection (PIP) or that exceeded your coverage.
However, you should never attempt to handle an accident claim on your own. Florida’s personal injury law is complex and highly nuanced. Not to mention the difficulty and frustration of dealing with insurance companies. Let a highly-skilled car accident lawyer in Delray Beach make things much easier for you.
Our team at Steinberg Law will help you navigate the process, fight hard for your rights and ensure that you receive maximum compensation. Call our personal injury lawyers in Delray Beach today at 877-783-4611 for a free consultation.
Florida Car Accident Statistics
According to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the state of Florida records hundreds of thousands of accidents each year, which result in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries. 40% of all traffic accidents in Florida result in injuries.
As of July 7, 2022, Florida has recorded a total of 194,632 accidents. Of these, 80,025 car accidents resulted in injuries. A total of 123,450 car accident-related injuries have so far been reported.
For perspective, 2021 saw a total of 401,170 car accidents – an increase of about 60,000 accidents from 2020 – with 3,459 cases being fatal.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Hiring an attorney is always the smartest move when dealing with any legal issue. This is particularly true when it comes to car accident personal injury claims. However, many victims shy away from seeking the legal assistance that they need out of fear that they may not be able to afford a car accident lawyer in Delray Beach.
Fortunately for all our clients, we handle car accident claims on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t have to pay any upfront fees to benefit from our services. We will handle your case diligently and fight to the end until you get maximum compensation. We only get paid if we win your case. If we lose, we are not paid anything.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
There are a number of key steps that you should take after a car accident. These will have a huge impact on the outcome of your case as well as your health and future.
This is an essential step especially if the accident involves injuries, death, property damage of more than $500, a hit and run, or drunk driving. Besides it being a legal requirement, you will need the police to conduct an investigation and help determine fault. A police report is crucial when filing a claim.
Check on Other Involved Parties (Do Not Leave!)
You should note that in the event of an accident, you are required to stop at the scene, assist where necessary, and exchange information with other drivers. Never leave the scene of an accident without the explicit permission of the responding officer. If anyone is seriously injured, call for an ambulance.
The law requires that you exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This includes your names, contact details, car license plate number, and insurance info. Remember to talk to any witnesses at the scene and collect their names and contact details.
Record the Scene
Documenting the scene of the accident will help make things much easier when proving your claims. Take photos of the scene of the accident including all vehicles involved, any visible injuries, skid marks, and so on.
Never Admit Fault
Besides exchanging information and responding to the police officer, do not discuss the accident with anyone at the scene. While you might be feeling empathetic or guilty, do not try to apologize for the accident. Also, do not make any statements to the insurance company without talking to a lawyer.
Seek Medical Attention
This is the single most important step after a car accident. Your health should be your biggest priority. Even if you are feeling fine, ensure to seek medical attention. This will help to uncover any hidden injuries and ensure that you get proper treatment early and also reveal the true extent of your injuries.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Delray Beach!
You need to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. This will help to ensure that you make all the right decisions and avoid common pitfalls. It will also significantly improve your chances of securing maximum compensation.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
The average settlement amount for car accident claims in the state of Florida ranges between $10,000 to $60,000.
When Should I Get a Lawyer for My Auto Accident?
Ideally, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. There are many issues from the get-go that can affect your ability to recover compensation.
Having an attorney on your side will ensure that you don’t jeopardize your case through unnecessary mistakes. Also, an attorney is crucial when fault is not clear and when the insurance company is uncooperative.
Why Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Delray Beach?
An attorney has a huge impact on the outcome of your case. Here are some of the things that a Delray Beach car accident lawyer does to help your case.
Case Preparation / Filing a Lawsuit
We will determine whether you have a valid case and advise you on your legal options. Next, we will conduct a thorough investigation into the accident and collect all the relevant evidence we need to build a strong case. We will then help you file all the necessary paperwork, and ensure that it is done properly and within set deadlines.
One thing you need to keep in mind when dealing with a car accident personal injury claim is that insurance adjusters are not your friend. They will be actively looking for ways to minimize the amount that the insurance company has to pay.
So, you should know that the first offer is often way below the amount that you deserve as they know that most accident victims will accept. An attorney will be able to determine how much your case is worth early on and will draw on their impeccable negotiation skills to reach a fair settlement.
Trial Preparation & Representation
While most personal injury cases usually end in a settlement agreement, in some cases, your attorney may determine that the best option is to take your case to court. This is especially when the insurance company is not cooperative or denies your claim.
Your attorney will prepare your case for trial, file the necessary paperwork, and offer experienced representation in court.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive for My Damages?
Unfortunately, there is no specific formula as to how much you can expect from your car accident personal injury claim. No two car accident claims are the same. The circumstances and details of the cases will be different and as a result, how much you can expect will be different.
Your attorney will help you determine how much your case might be worth. Some of the things that are taken into account include the type and extent of your injuries, past and future medical expenses, lost income, and more.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
The types of damages you can recover in a Florida car accident claim are classified into three categories.
Economic damages are meant to reimburse victims of car accidents for losses that are financial in nature. These include medical bills, lost income, loss of earning capacity, property damage, rehabilitation costs, travel costs (to and from the doctor’s office), and more.
Non-economic damages were put in place to compensate personal injury victims for subjective losses that can’t be assigned a monetary value. These include emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of limb function, and so on.
Punitive damages are not available in all car accident cases. They are meant to punish the defendant for reckless, malicious, and grossly negligent actions that cause harm to others. They also help to discourage the public from repeating similar behavior.
Florida has put a cap on punitive damages at three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
How Is Fault Determined in a Florida Car Accident?
For a party to be found liable in your personal injury case, the following elements of negligence should be present.
- Duty of care: All drivers have a legal duty to follow traffic laws and drive safely for the safety of other road users.
- Breach of duty of care: Did the other driver violate this duty of care? For example, by driving while intoxicated or while distracted.
- Causation: You have to prove that the other driver’s negligence directly caused the accident that led to your injuries.
- Damages: Lastly, for your claim to be successful, you have to prove that you suffered actual damages and losses as a result of the accident.
Some of the key types of evidence that are used to determine fault in an accident include:
- Expert witness reports
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Photo and video evidence from the accident scene.
It is important to note that Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state which means that you should first seek compensation from your own insurance company through your PIP insurance plan. However, once your damages exceed the maximum compensation amount allowed, you can then seek additional compensation from the at-fault party via a third-party claim.
All motorists are required to carry a $10,000 minimum in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
You should also note that Florida follows the pure comparative negligence doctrine. This means that your expected amount of compensation will be reduced according to your percentage of fault.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
As per Florida’s statute of limitations, victims of car accidents should file their claims within four years of the accident. While this might feel like a long time, it is crucial that you contact a car accident lawyer in Delray Beach as soon as possible to ensure the best outcome in your case. Remember, collecting evidence and building a strong case often takes a very long time.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me File My Insurance Claim?
Here are some of the ways a Delray Beach car accident lawyer at Steinberg Law will help with your claim:
- Collecting strong and sufficient evidence to build a strong case to present in your claim.
- Requesting estimates and bills from medical providers, repair shops, and relevant service providers to support your claim.
- Handling communication with the other party.
- Negotiating with the insurance companies.
- Tackling your case in court if need be.
What Can I Do if Insurance Denied My Claim?
Having your claim denied by the insurance company can be very frustrating and distressing. However, this shouldn’t mean the end of the road for you. While your claim might be denied for legitimate reasons such as missing deadlines, not seeking medical attention, and so on, in some cases, the denial might be unfair.
Remember, the insurance company is a business and will do anything to avoid having to pay anything. If the insurance company denies your claim, they will send you a denial letter explaining the reason for the denial.
If you believe that your claim was unjustly denied, you have several options:
- You can file an internal appeal with the insurance company.
- You can file a bad faith insurance claim against the insurance company.
Do I Have a Case?
Whether or not you have a valid case will depend on a number of factors. But fundamentally, for you to have a potentially successful case, there need to be all elements of negligence.
When you contact Steinberg Law, a car accident lawyer in Delray Beach will carefully evaluate your case and determine whether you have a valid case. This will help you to avoid wasting your time and money and also know the best way forward.
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
As noted, Florida is a no-fault state. This means that your insurance company should cover your damages regardless of who is at fault. Every driver is legally required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage.
This is meant to compensate you for your injuries and losses whether you are at fault for the accident or not. However, in the event that your damages exceed your level of coverage, you are allowed to pursue compensation from the other party’s insurance to cover the excess.
If the other driver doesn’t carry PIP insurance, you can turn to your uninsured motorist coverage if you have it in place. If not, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver. However, this option is rarely successful as a motorist who is unable to afford insurance will rarely be in a financial position to cover your damages.
How Can I Obtain an Accident Report in Delray Beach?
To obtain your official traffic accident report in Delray Beach, Florida, you can obtain a copy from the investigating law enforcement agency. Alternatively, you can visit the Florida Crash Portal to request a copy of the crash report. You will need to pay a $10 fee per report. It is important to note that a traffic accident report takes 10 days to be available online.
Types of Car Accidents We Handle
At Steinberg Law, our Delray Beach car accident lawyers help victims of many different types of auto accidents. The following are some of the common car accident cases we handle.
- Driving Under the Influence Accidents (Drinking & Drugs)
- Distracted Driving Accidents (Texting, etc.)
- Head-on Collisions
- Hit & Run Accidents
- Rear-End Accidents
- Reckless Driving Accidents
- Rideshare Accidents
- Rollover Accidents
- Speeding Accidents
- Uninsured Motorist Claims
- Truck Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
An Experienced Delray Beach Car Accident Lawyer Can Help!
If you’ve been the victim of a serious car accident, you might be going through one of the most difficult and painful periods of your life. Besides the pain and suffering caused by your injuries, you might also be facing expensive medical bills, the inability to go back to work, and a wide range of other consequences.
At Steinberg Law, we strongly believe that if you’ve been harmed on the road as a result of another driver’s negligence or wrongful acts, you deserve justice and the maximum compensation owed to you. Our team of capable car accident lawyers is committed to helping victims of car accidents get their lives back on track. We can do the same for you and your family.