West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer
Work with a West Palm Beach car crash lawyer to make sure your crash claim gets taken seriously and you receive full compensation for your losses.
In the blink of an eye, a car crash can irrevocably change your life for the worse. Aside from the damage done to your vehicle, the injuries sustained in an auto wreck can leave you permanently disabled and buried under a mountain of medical bills and other damages.
In this situation, you deserve to be financially compensated by the party at fault, but the compensation you receive will most likely come from an insurance company. Sadly, insurers are likely to view your claim primarily as a profit loss, meaning that their primary goal is to minimize what they must pay you.
Getting fairly compensated means building a case that clearly demonstrates how the other side was at fault, something that a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo can help you with.
No-Fault Car Insurance in Florida
Because Florida is a no-fault state for auto insurance, you’ll first have to file a claim with your own insurance after a collision. This is called personal injury protection (PIP), and while it has the benefit of providing you with compensation quickly regardless of who was responsible for causing the crash, it does have its shortcomings.
To begin with, most policies are limited in what damages they’ll cover, often limited to just medical expenses and lost income. Non-economic damages are generally not covered by these plans.
Secondly, even though you’ll file this claim with your own insurance company, you still can’t count on them to treat you fairly. While they can’t blame you for the crash, they’ll most likely lowball your settlement offer, hoping that you’ll accept before you can find out what your claim is truly worth.
In order to recover compensation for all of your damages and losses, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim. Florida will only allow you to do this if you suffer significant damages in the crash, which means that your accident-related injuries must have resulted in serious bodily injury.
Some examples of serious injuries that could allow you to file a personal injury claim are:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Spinal injuries
- Permanent disability
If you’re unsure of whether your injury qualifies as “serious” under Florida’s legal definition, a car accident lawyer from our West Palm Beach firm can help you determine if you qualify.
How Negligence Relates to Your Injury
You might have heard the term “negligence” before, but you may not fully understand its meaning. Negligence is basically when someone’s careless (or willful) actions have led to you being injured. Florida law allows you to sue someone in civil court if his or her behaviors caused your injury—including in serious auto collisions.
There are several steps to proving negligence caused your accident. Your crash must be investigated to determine what caused it and who was responsible. It must be proven that you weren’t responsible for your crash or that, even if you were partially responsible, someone else contributed to your injuries.
To determine fault, you should also understand some of the common factors that lead to auto accidents involving negligence. We’ll discuss those below.
Fault and Auto Wreck Claims
While fault doesn’t matter in a no-fault claim, it’s absolutely essential when filing a personal injury claim. For you to have grounds for a case, someone else needs to be at least partially responsible for causing the wreck. You can be partially at fault—even mostly at fault—and still be able to pursue a settlement.
Your car accident lawyer from West Palm Beach will investigate the traffic accident for its cause and trace the fault back to whoever was responsible. These are just a few example scenarios of who could be at-fault for your auto collision:
- Distracted Driving – Driver distraction takes many forms, but often cell phones are involved. It may be necessary to request records from the provider to determine if texting or app use was taking place immediately prior to the crash.
- Drunk Driving – If the other driver was arrested for drunk driving, it can greatly strengthen your case for compensation.
- Faulty Manufacturer-Installed Parts – Sometimes, vehicle parts will break or otherwise not work the way they were intended, leading to collisions. For example, if your brakes go out because of poor design and you crash, you could sue the manufacturer of the brakes or vehicle.
- Poor Mechanical Work – Mechanics and body shops may make negligent mistakes when servicing a vehicle. This could cause a collision, and the mechanic can be held liable.
- Drowsy Driving – Most commonly seen in accidents involving commercial trucks, driver fatigue might be proven through rest logs or a long shift that just finished.
- Road Construction – Thousands of auto crashes occur every year because of roadwork. Sometimes, dangerous debris is left in the road, while other wrecks are caused by inaccurate detour signs or inattentive flaggers.
- Dangerous Road Conditions – In many accidents, unsafe road conditions like potholes, steep shoulders, and malfunctioning traffic lights are to blame, which could implicate the government agency responsible for the road’s upkeep.
Investigating the Cause of Your West Palm Beach Automobile Wreck
One of the most difficult aspects of winning a vehicle crash case in West Palm Beach is proving negligence and fault. A lot goes into gathering enough evidence to convince the insurance company, or a judge and jury, that you were wronged and deserve to be fairly compensated—they won’t just take your word for it.
A car accident attorney must investigate the crash scene, gather all available evidence from various sources, document your injuries, and keep records of medical expenses. What kinds of evidence does an attorney gather? See below for some of the items that we might need to prove your West Palm Beach auto crash case:
- Accident reports, injury reports, and crash scene expert reports
- Witness statements
- Video and photo evidence of the crash and your injuries
- Your medical history
- Information on the other involved parties
- Accident-related medical records and expenses
- Records of other crash-related costs
- Records of how this wreck has impacted your life
Crash Types and Injuries
The type of crash you were hurt in and the injuries you suffered will be central to your personal injury claim. The crash type can go a long way toward providing clues concerning who was at fault, and your injuries will have a major impact on the financial compensation you receive.
These are both crucial elements that will be taken into account by your West Palm Beach car accident lawyer.
Listed below are some of the most common crash types and the injuries most likely to be associated with them:
- Head-On Collisions – Traumatic brain injuries, spine and neck injuries, broken bones, wrongful death
- Rear-End Collisions – Whiplash, concussions, spinal injuries, facial fractures
- T-Bone Accidents – Whiplash, concussions, broken bones, internal organ damage
- Rollovers – Traumatic brain injuries, spine injuries, broken bones, wrongful death
- Sideswipes – Broken bones, head injuries, cuts, lacerations
West Palm Beach Collision Compensation
The bills that follow an auto wreck can be substantial, and that doesn’t even touch on the emotional trauma that can be caused. If your claim qualifies to file a civil personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation to cover all of your financial expenses and non-economic losses.
Your car accident lawyer will work hand-in-hand with your healthcare team to uncover all of the ways that your life and finances will be impacted by the crash and your injuries. The items listed below are just a few that you might be able to claim if they apply to your unique situation:
- Medical bills, both current and future
- Lost wages, income, and earning potential
- Transportation costs and caretaker wages
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and therapy
- Lost enjoyment of life
Why Do I Need an Attorney for My Car Crash Claim in West Palm Beach?
Many people have never worked with an attorney before, so they have some anxiety about hiring one. This could be because you’re worried about the cost of working with an attorney, or you may just be nervous about the entire personal injury process.
It could also be a little weird discussing your injuries and experience with someone else. Don’t worry, though. We deal with the victims of auto collisions on a regular basis, and we are used to discussing these matters.
As for the cost of working with an attorney on your personal injury case—you don’t pay us anything until we’ve won you fair compensation for your car crash claim.
What exactly does an auto wreck attorney do for you?
- Help you file all personal injury paperwork
- Investigate the cause of your wreck to determine responsibility
- Find auto crash experts to testify on your behalf
- Interview witnesses
- Obtain important reports, such as crash reports and police reports
- Gather video and photographic evidence
- Advise you on all legal matters pertaining to your case
- Obtain medical documentation needed to prove your injuries
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Take your case to court if required
All of the above would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a seriously injured individual to handle on his or her own. You should be focused on healing both physically and emotionally from this auto wreck—not running around trying to investigate your case, prove fault, and argue with insurance companies.
West Palm Beach Car Accident FAQ
Don’t worry if you feel like you have an endless number of questions after your auto wreck. This is completely normal, and a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer from our firm can help you find the answers you need. Below, we’ve provided answers to a few of the more common questions.
How much time do I have to file a claim for my car crash?
Florida allows crash victims four years in which to file a claim. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible, however. Time has a way of destroying evidence, and witness memories lose their focus. By acting quickly, you can increase your chances for a strong, successful case.
What can I do if my car accident was caused by a defective tire blowout?
If the tire defect was related to design or manufacture, you might be able to seek compensation from the company that made the tire. If the problem was caused by a faulty installation, the company that serviced your car or installed the tires might be at fault.
Can an attorney help me with a no-fault car insurance claim?
Yes. The insurance might try to underpay you for your claim. By working with an attorney, you can find out what your claim’s actual value is so you don’t have to worry about the insurance taking advantage of you.
Who's liable if an Uber or Lyft driver hit me?
Because Uber and Lyft drivers are effectively independent contractors rather than employees, financial liability is complicated in these wrecks. It all comes down to whether the rideshare app was in use and whether the driver had an active ride request or paying fare in progress. If either of these conditions apply, the rideshare company should have at least some liability.
Will I have to go to court for an auto crash case?
In most situations, you will not have to go to court in order to get the monetary compensation you need for your West Palm Beach auto wreck claim. Your attorney will negotiate with all involved insurance companies to get you a fair settlement. If they don’t agree to compensate you fairly, your attorney may then take your case to court.
An Experienced West Palm Beach Auto Wreck Attorney
You should never accept a monetary settlement offered by an insurance company without first speaking with an attorney—even if it’s your own insurer. Instead, let the Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo go to work on your claim so you can get the settlement you truly need and deserve.
The Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo now serves Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, and Wellington.
Schedule a time to meet for a free, no-pressure consultation with a capable West Palm Beach car accident lawyer to get an idea of what your claim might be worth. Simply complete the contact form on this page or give us a call at 561-659-6366.