Even the most minor car accident can cause stress far beyond the actual incident. Drivers can experience work delays or disruptions even if they were uninjured in the crash.
You’re required to report any accident to the Palm Beach Police as soon as possible under several circumstances, including if more than $500 in damage has occurred. If any injuries occurred, any driver involved was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or any vehicle had to be towed, Florida law specifies you must report the accident to law enforcement authorities.
After the accident is reported, what happens next? Car accidents can have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Qualified car accident attorneys can help you to understand the potential long-term consequences of an accident.
They can also explain your rights and the accident claims process. Florida law regarding car accident claims is complex. Experienced car accident lawyers are available to help protect your rights and help guide you through the process of filing a car accident claim.
Common Causes Of Car Accidents In Palm Beach
Car accidents result from a few basic causes, all of which can influence car accident claims. Some accidents aren’t preventable, such as those that are caused by mechanical failures or acts of nature. Others are preventable and can result from driver error or fault.
The primary accident causes in Palm Beach and Palm Beach County are:
- reckless driving or speeding
- failure to heed signals and signs on the road
- texting while driving (illegal in Florida as of January 2020)
- DUI, including alcohol and/or drugs (including prescription medication)
- inclement weather
- falling asleep at the wheel/driving while tired
- mechanical failures
- debris on the road
- animals on the road
Florida uses a legal principle called “comparative negligence” to determine how accident claims are paid. For example, if the driver of one vehicle involved in an accident is found to be 80 percent at fault, while the driver of another vehicle has 20 percent fault, any claim award made will be reduced by the percentage of responsibility.
What To Know When Filing A Car Accident Claim
Florida law regarding auto accidents is well-established, and it’s also complex. For non-injury auto accidents, Florida is a “no-fault” auto insurance state. This means that the claims process and the way damages are paid will be determined by a “no fault” claim payment process.
Florida also uses a statute of limitations to guide the filing of personal injury claims. Car accident claims are a form of personal injury claim. Florida specifies that the statute of limitations for filing a claim is four years following a car accident.
The first priorities following a car accident in Palm Beach should be to seek medical care and ensure you are not seriously injured. Florida law also specifies that you must report an accident immediately if there is any serious property damage or injuries.
Finally, the legal principle of “comparative negligence” will influence your car accident claim. Insurance companies are naturally motivated to reduce the amount of money they will pay in the claims process, and comparative negligence means they could pay less money if they can prove you were even partly negligent.
You are not obligated to speak with representatives from insurance companies for other involved drivers. Filing an auto accident claim will help to protect your rights following an accident. The claims process can also help you to obtain the compensation you are entitled to receive for property damages and injuries you may have suffered.
Factors That Affect Car Accident Claims
Car accident claims are awarded based on how much property damage has occurred and the severity and extent of injuries suffered in a crash. How serious the accident is and how many injuries may have occurred will influence the amount of potential award.
If a fatality or very serious, life-threatening injuries occurred, awards will be higher than those awarded for accidents with relatively minor injuries. Serious injuries or fatalities will nearly always lead to a more substantial financial claim.
The type of and amount of insurance that involved drivers have may also influence a car accident claim, as well as the types of involved vehicles.
If a commercial vehicle or rideshare vehicle was involved, additional insurance companies and representatives will be involved in the claim. An uninsured or underinsured driver may be involved in an accident, which also influences the car accident claims process.
How Much Compensation Can You Win?
Compensation for damages following an auto accident will usually be more substantial if serious injuries or even fatalities have resulted from the crash.
The term “damages” refers to the category of compensation that is determined in the claims process.
The amount of money that may be awarded could increase depending on these categories and their relative severity:
- fatal injuries or long-term disability/serious injury
- how much medical care is needed
- financial loss due to missed work
- long-term impact on your family and your future
- negligence or fault in the accident
Plaintiffs generally receive higher compensation and settlements if they work with car accident lawyers. Filing a car accident claim in Palm Beach following a serious accident can potentially result in substantial financial compensation.
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Types Of Damages Awarded In Car Accident Claims
Car accident claims are decided based on the ways an accident affected a person’s life. Damage claims include property damage like repair and replacement of vehicles. Personal injury claims cover injuries and ongoing needs following a serious accident.
The types of damages that are typically awarded in car accident claims can include:
- surgery, hospitalization, emergency medical care
- long-term care and rehabilitation
- counseling and psychiatric help and medications
- reimbursement for lost salary and wages
- pain and suffering
In Florida, punitive damages are sometimes awarded, although they are not common. Punitive damages are intended to punish a severely negligent driver and provide a warning to future drivers in the hope of preventing similar negligent actions in the future.
Car Accident Rates In Palm Beach
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) maintains complete statistics on crashes occurring throughout the state.
Palm Beach County had over 26,700 auto accidents in 2019:
- Palm Beach County drivers experienced 158 fatal crashes in 2019, which led to the loss of 167 lives.
- In 2019, Palm Beach County had 11,067 injury crashes which led to 16,728 injuries overall, including drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
- More than 7,500 of the car accidents in Palm Beach County in 2019 were hit-and-run accidents.
- Hit-and-run accidents in Palm Beach County in 2019 caused 2,150 injuries and 13 deaths.
- Over 620 of Palm Beach County’s 2019 accidents involved pedestrians, and 36 pedestrians lost their lives.
- A total of 21 motorcyclists and 3 bicyclists lost their lives in Palm Beach County auto-involved accidents in 2019.
List Of Car Accident Attorneys Serving Palm Beach
If you’ve been in an auto accident in Palm Beach, it may be hard to determine what you should do next.
Learn your rights and your options by consulting with experienced, successful car accident attorneys, including:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Michael L. Walker, B.C.S.
- Luca G. Esposito
- Nicholas S. Constantino
We Are Nationally Awarded Lawyers
Find Help Filing A Car Accident Claim
You can find out your best options and understand your rights and the car accident claims process by consulting with the experienced attorneys at Florin|Roebig. Since Florin|Roebig’s inception in 1985, our firm has achieved over $1 billion in case awards. Contact our compassionate lawyers at Florin|Roebig for a no-fee consultation today regarding your car accident claim in Palm Beach.