As the population increases, so does the number of people on the road. This has translated to traffic accidents becoming a common occurrence in the state of Florida. While there are laws to help prevent auto accidents, people are still driving recklessly, while under the influence of alcohol, and while distracted.
When a negligent or careless party causes an accident that results in injury, the victim has the right to demand compensation for their injuries and other damages. However, the claims process is not usually straightforward and the intricacies can make you lose the case. That’s why it is advisable to have a car accident lawyer by your side.
At Steinberg Law, we are dedicated to helping Palm Beach Gardens and surrounding areas’ car accident victims fight for their rights and seek the compensation they deserve. We have been in the field for years and our car accident lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit should the party at fault not make a fair settlement offer.
Call us today at 877-783-4611 to schedule a free initial consultation!
Car Accident Statistics for Florida
According to a report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, Florida records hundreds of thousands of traffic accidents per. This results in hundreds of thousands of injuries and thousands of deaths. According to the data, all 40% of all auto accidents in the state lead to injuries. As of July 7th, 2022, the state has recorded over 194,000 traffic accidents, and 80,000 of these led to injuries. For comparison, the previous year recorded 401,170 auto accidents, an increase of 60,000 accidents from 2020.
How Much Does a Car Accident Attorney in Florida Cost?
All personal injury attorneys, including car accident lawyers in our firm, operate on what is known as a contingency fee basis. This is an arrangement where you do not pay legal fees upfront, but only pay when you have won the case. The payment is usually a percentage of the amount of settlement you recover.
Most of our clients are happy with the contingency fee basis arrangement as it allows them to access great legal services without having to worry about payment. Following a car accident, you might be strapped for money and the last thing you want is the burden of paying for legal services.
What Should You Do Following a Car Accident?
Following a traffic accident, the steps you take next will have a significant effect on your personal injury claim. Our team recommends that you do the following immediately after the incident:
If you have been involved in an accident that results in damages and injuries, it is imperative that you call 911 immediately. This ensures they dispatch the relevant authorities and an ambulance if people need medical assistance. The police are vital in assessing the accident to determine liability and make a report that will be used when making a claim.
Check on the Others
Don’t leave the scene unless the situation poses a safety risk. If possible, check on the other party involved in the accident and provide first aid.
It is important that you exchange vital information with the other party including insurance details, contact information, license and registration details, etc. If there were any witnesses, ask for their information as well including names, phone numbers, and addresses.
Document the Scene
If possible, take videos and photos of the incident. Ensure you capture injuries sustained, damages done to the vehicles or property, weather conditions, road conditions, traffic signs, skid marks, etc.
Do Not Admit Fault
It is natural for human beings to apologize when something bad happens, but in such a situation, your empathy may create a false narrative and jeopardize your claim. As such, avoid admitting fault even if you think you are partly liable.
Seek Medical Attention
Next, it is important to visit a doctor even if you feel okay. Some car accident injuries are not immediately apparent, particularly the internal kind. When left unattended, they can be life-threatening. Also, you need a medical report when figuring out the amount of compensation you deserve.
Call a Florida Car Accident Lawyer!
It is important that you protect your rights and future and without the right lawyer, this becomes extremely difficult. As such, it’s advisable to call a car accident lawyer for advice on how to proceed with your claim. Call us today at 877-783-4611 to ensure maximum compensation!
What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
The average settlement amount for auto accidents is $20,000 in the United States. However, this does not equate to how much you can recover from your claim. Settlement depends on an array of factors such as the circumstances surrounding your claim, the nature and degree of your injuries, and whether they are temporary or permanent.
A car accident lawyer will help review your case and provide an estimate of how much you can expect.
When Should You Hire a Lawyer For Your Car Accident?
If you’re looking at a minor accident, chances are you won’t require a lawyer. However, in cases involving severe injuries and damage, it’s advisable to seek legal representation. If any of the following happen, hire a lawyer as soon as possible:
- The car accident resulted in severe injury
- The fault is not clearly established in the incident
- You don’t agree with the police reports
- The accident happened in a construction zone
- The accident occurred in a school zone
- The accident involved another driver
- The accident involved an underinsured or uninsured motorist
- The insurance firm is giving signs of claim denial
It is also important to seek legal representation if the accident involved a government employee, government vehicle, or public service vehicle. That’s because accidents involving government entities tend to be complicated and have tight deadlines when it comes to filing a claim.
Additionally, you have nothing to lose by consulting a car accident lawyer. We provide free initial, no-obligation consultations, allowing you to learn your legal options.
Why Do You Need an Auto Accident Lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens?
There are numerous reasons to hire a lawyer for an auto accident. These cases tend to be complex, and given your injuries, you may not be in the best condition to handle the stress involved in a claims process. By hiring our lawyers, you can expect help in the following areas:
When you hire an auto accident lawyer, the first step will be to evaluate your case, gather the necessary evidence, prepare and process the required paperwork, communicate with the relevant parties, and ensure you are always up to date with your case’s progress.
Next, your lawyer will handle all communications with the insurer. This is a crucial stage as insurance companies will try their best to give a low settlement offer. Experienced car accident lawyers, however, will fight to ensure you get a fair settlement. If they deny your claim or give a lowball offer, your attorney will be ready to fight them in court.
Trial Preparation and Representation
If settlement negotiations do not bear any fruit, your lawyer will take your case to trial, where it is up to the judge or jury to determine if you deserve compensation or not. Your lawyer will use their skills, knowledge, and resources to prepare a solid case and represent you accordingly.
How Much Can You Expect to Receive For Your Damages?
Figuring out the amount of compensation in an auto accident is not always easy. Bear in mind that every accident is different, and there is no universal figure for these cases. There are numerous factors involved in each incident that dictate the amount you can expect as compensation. They include:
- Time spent during treatment
- Time spent away from work
- Time required to make a complete recovery
- Presence of disfigurement, scarring, or disability and how they affect your life
- Type of therapy needed
- Effect of your injuries on work
What Kind of Damages Can You Recover?
Auto accidents tend to come with substantial expenses. Apart from the medical expenses and vehicle damage, you may have to deal with lost wages due to the time spent away from work. Thankfully, you have the right to recover the damages incurred.
In the state of Florida, car accident victims can recover the following damages:
These refer to the expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Examples include:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Lost income or wages
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Loss of earning capacity
- Transportation expenses for medical reasons
These are the intangible losses incurred by accident victims. They can’t be calculated objectively like economic damages, however, and include:
- Emotional anguish
- Pain & suffering
- Anxiety and difference
- Disfigurement or disability
- Loss of companionship
- Reduced quality of life
These are not compensatory damages and are rarely awarded for car accidents in Florida. They are designed for cases where the party at fault behaved in an extremely reckless, negligent, or malicious manner. Punitive damages are meant to punish the liable party and warn other motorists against such behavior. Examples of reckless acts that call for punitive damages include driving while drunk, knowingly driving an unsafe car, and excessive speeding.
How is Fault Determined in an Auto Accident in Florida?
In order to prove liability in the Sunshine State, you must show negligence on the other party’s part. In Florida, proving negligence entails the following four elements.
Duty of Care
The first aspect of negligence is showing that the other party owed you a duty of care. For auto accidents, this applies to all motorists. While on the road, everyone is expected to obey all traffic laws and operate vehicles safely.
Breach of Duty of Care
The next involves showing that the defendant did indeed breach their duty of care towards you. This is what shows that the defendant was negligent. Examples of breaching the duty of care include speeding, driving while intoxicated, and running a red light.
Third, you need to demonstrate that your losses and injuries were a direct result of the accident caused by the other party’s negligence. Proving causation in Florida is usually tricky and that’s why you need a lawyer by your side.
Lastly, you are required to demonstrate that you incurred damages due to the direct result of the car accident. As mentioned above, these damages can be economic or non-economic in nature.
Bear in mind that the state of Florida operates on the no-fault auto insurance principle. This means that you are required to seek compensation from your insurer first through the Personal injury Protection (PIP) insurance plan. However, if the damages go beyond the allowed maximum compensation, you have the right to seek additional compensation for the liable party through a third-party claim. All motorists are required to have a $10,000 minimum PIP coverage.
Also, Florida employs the pure comparative negligence principle. This implies that your settlement amount is determined by your percentage of fault.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Florida?
As with all other states in the US, Florida has a statute of limitations for car accident claims. This is the time limit to file a claim and it’s usually 4 years from the date of the accident. While this seems like a long time, it is advisable to take legal action as soon as possible due to the hurdles and intricacies that may arise during the process. Also, you want to ensure you make a claim when the evidence is still fresh as this increases the chances of compensation.
How Can an Attorney Help You File Your Claim?
In order for your claim to be successful, you need to comprehend the claims process to ensure you’re diligent in each step. The process goes as follows:
File a Claim- it all starts by submitting a claim for your injuries and losses to the insurance company
Confirmation- the insurance firm will then confirm that they’ve received the claim and are investigating the issue.
Investigation- Once the insurance company confirms your claim, the auto accident investigation begins.
Claim Approval or Denial- Following an investigation report, the insurer will either approve or deny your claim.
Settlement Negotiation- If your claim is approved, your lawyer will hold negotiations with the insurance company for a fair settlement. If the compensation amount is desirable, the case will end and the other party will be freed of liability.
Filing a Lawsuit- If the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement, your lawyer will proceed to file a lawsuit, prepare a strong case and represent you in court.
What Should You Do If Your Claim is Denied?
Having your claim denied can be distressing. However, that does not mean all hope is lost. The insurance companies can deny your claim for an array of reasons such as failure to seek medical attention, missing deadlines, late payment of premiums, pre-existing conditions, etc. However, some denials are just unfair. Keep in mind that insurers are in business and their aim is to protect their bottom line. Therefore, they will try everything possible to deny your claim.
If you think your claim was denied unfairly, you have the following options:
- File an internal appeal with the insurer
- File a bad faith insurance claim against the firm.
Do You Have Case?
The answer to this question depends on an array of factors. However, it all comes down to the four elements of negligence. Your lawyer will carefully assess your case to determine if you have a valid claim. This will help you waste valuable resources and provide insight into viable options.
What if the Other Motorist Does Not Have Insurance?
As mentioned earlier, Florida is a no-fault state. This mandates that your insurer cover damages no matter the party at fault. Every motorist is required to have PIP insurance coverage, designed to compensate you for losses or injuries following a car accident. However, there’s a limit beyond where the party at-fault insurance company is required to cover.
If the other motorist does not have PIP insurance, the best route is the uninsured motorist coverage. You can also file a lawsuit against the party at fault.
How Can I Get an Accident Report?
In Florida, you can get your car accident report from the investigating law enforcement agency. Alternatively, you can go to the Florida Crash portal and ask for a copy of the report. Keep in mind that car accident reports take 10 days to be posted online and you will need to pay a $10 fee for the same.
Types of Auto Accident Cases We Handle
At Steinberg Law, we handle a wide array of auto accidents including:
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Speeding accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Hit and Run accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Driving under the influence accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Uber and Lyft accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Uninsured motorist accidents
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens Today!
Auto accidents can be fatal and life-changing. If you have been a victim, do not hesitate to hire an experienced lawyer. Our team at Steinberg Law in Palm Beach Gardens will help you fight for your rights and seek the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 877-783-4611 to get started.