In an average year, there are about 25,000 motor vehicle accidents in Palm Beach County, resulting in about 15,000 injuries and over 200 deaths. For a victim, the aftermath of a West Palm Beach car accident often involves the need to locate medical care to treat physical injuries along with addressing the long-term psychological impact of the crash. An equally important consideration is the need for a lawyer after a West Palm Beach car accident.
If you were injured in a West Palm Beach car accident, or you are the surviving family member of someone who was fatally injured in one, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss if another party’s negligent or wrongful conduct caused or contributed to the accident. The best way to determine if you have an actionable car accident case is to consult with an experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyer at Demand the Limits. When deciding whether you need an attorney following a West Palm Beach car accident, it helps to better understand some of the factors that typically determine a victim’s right to compensation. If you are entitled to compensation, a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer at Demand the Limits will ensure that the at-fault party is held accountable and that you are justly compensated for all your injuries. Contact us today by calling (561) 600-3555 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.
When Is a West Palm Beach Car Accident Victim Eligible for Compensation?
When you retain the services of an experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyer, the goal is to recover compensation for your physical injuries and emotional trauma or for your loss in the case of a fatal accident. For another party to be legally responsible for your injuries or loss, that party’s negligent conduct must have caused, in whole or in part, the accident in question. To prove another party’s negligence your attorney must show that:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to you.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- That you suffered injuries because of that breach of duty.
- Damages (injuries)
In a West Palm Beach car accident, the first element required to prove negligence is rarely an issue as courts long ago established that anyone operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway does owe a duty of care to others with whom the roadway is shared. The more difficult issue can be proving that the defendant breached that duty of care. Sometimes, the breach is obvious. For example, if the defendant was driving while under the influence at the time of the accident, it is easy to establish the required breach of duty. In other cases, however, it can be more difficult to prove that the defendant’s conduct amounted to a breach of duty; however, common examples of conduct that might qualify include texting while driving, aggressive driving, and falling asleep behind the wheel.
The other aspect of negligence that can be confusing is Florida’s comparative fault law. Under Florida’s comparative fault law, you could be entitled to compensation even if you were partially at fault in the collision as long as your share of the fault is less than 50 percent. If you share some of the fault, the amount of compensation you receive will be adjusted accordingly. For example, if you have $100,000 in damages, but you were 20 percent at fault, your compensation award would be reduced by 20 percent to $80,000.
How Does Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law Work?
Florida is one of several “no-fault” insurance states. Under Florida’s no-fault insurance law, all drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance that covers medical bills and lost wages up to $10,000 without regard to who was at fault in a collision. PIP insurance, however, only covers 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages. Moreover, PIP insurance does not provide any compensation for non-economic damages, such as the pain and suffering experienced because of a car accident.
Florida law does allow a car accident victim to depart from the no-fault system and pursue compensation in a traditional personal injury lawsuit if the victim suffered “serious injury” in the accident. Florida law defines a serious injury as:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability.
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Florida’s no-fault insurance law can make it difficult to know whether you are entitled to pursue compensation from another party. Consulting with an experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident is the best way to ensure that your right to compensation is understood and protected.
Do I Need a West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer?
Once your physical injuries are stabilized, and you have time to catch your breath after a car accident, you will likely begin to wonder if you need a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer. The simplest way to determine if you need a lawyer is to talk to one. It may help, however, to learn some of the most common factors that indicate the need for an attorney, such as:
- Injuries. If you were only involved in a “fender bender” that did not result in any serious injuries, your own PIP insurance should provide you with sufficient compensation. If, however, you suffered multiple and/or serious injuries in a car accident, consulting with a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer is in your best interest. If you are not sure whether your injuries meet the “serious injury” threshold, consult with an attorney to make sure you do not miss out on compensation to which you are entitled.
- Negligence. Even if you suffered serious injuries, you must still prove that another party’s negligence caused or contributed to the collision to be entitled to compensation. When the other party disputes fault entirely or does not agree to your percentage of fault, it is crucial that you have an experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyer on your side.
- Complexity. While many car accidents are simple and straightforward, others involve complex facts and/or parties. For example, when several vehicles are involved or the condition of the roadway itself contributes to the accident, determining liability is much more complicated. When that is the situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side is imperative.
Get Help from an Experienced West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a West Palm Beach car accident, or you are the surviving family member of someone who was killed in one, you could be entitled to compensation for your physical injuries, emotional trauma, or the loss of your loved one. Having an experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyer at Demand the Limits on your side is the best way to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable and that you are fairly compensated for your injuries or loss.
At Demand the Limits, our experienced West Palm Beach personal injury accident lawyers have extensive experience with car accident cases. We fight hard to defend the legal rights of all West Palm Beach injury victims. Call (561) 600-3555 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation. Don’t delay – the sooner you have an attorney fighting for you, the better protected your legal rights will be.