A car accident is a life-altering experience. Following the crash, you will have to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your losses and damages. Recovering damages following a vehicle accident is not the most straightforward experience, especially for someone who has never been involved in a car crash before. Fortunately, you can contact a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer at Fetterman & Associates, P.A., who will review your particular case and help you pursue compensation.
When our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers can help
Broadly speaking, car accident liability can be divided into three categories which we will clarify for you below:
- Defective cars and auto parts
- Poor road conditions or design
Category 1 – Negligence
The vast majority of vehicle crashes are caused by a driver’s negligence. When another motorist has been negligent, and that negligence led to your injury, it is vital to speak with experienced lawyers to investigate your particular accident, determine liability, and collect evidence to prove fault. The most common types of negligent conduct on the road include:
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving;
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Failure to yield the right of way;
- Reckless driving;
- Road rage;
- Failure to adjust to adverse weather conditions;
- Running red lights
- Ignoring road signs;
- Unsafe lane changes;
- Wrong-way driving;
- Improper turns;
- Drowsy driving; and
- Failure to maintain a safe distance between vehicles (tailgating).
Regardless of how your car crash occurred, contact the Fetterman & Associates, P.A. auto accident attorneys in West Palm Beach to investigate your particular case and hold the other driver accountable for their negligent conduct.
Category 2 – Defective cars and auto parts
If either party’s car had a defect, or any auto parts/equipment were defective, which caused or contributed to your accident, you may file a product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer and other parties.
However, since auto manufacturers are usually represented by the best defense attorneys in the country, winning a claim against them can be tough. For this reason, you must have a skilled car accident lawyer on your side to be able to prove that your collision was caused by a defective or faulty part or equipment.
Also, many car crashes are caused by improper maintenance. In this case, you could sue the driver who failed to maintain their vehicle in good condition. Tire blowout accidents are a common example of crashes caused by improper maintenance.
Category 3 – Poor road conditions or design
A large percentage of vehicle accidents are caused by poor road conditions or faulty road design. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove that your collision was caused by bad road conditions or design. Some examples of poor road conditions include:
- Missing or improperly maintained road signs and traffic signals
- Oil and chips
- Work zones
- Shoulder drop-off
- Ice patches
Unfortunately, suing a government entity is tricky because Florida law requires you to give advance notice of a car accident claim prior to suing a public agency. Also, there is a shortened statute of limitations for claims against government entities.
Common types of car accident injuries
The severity and type of injuries vary from one vehicle accident to another. Unfortunately, not all types of car accident injuries are covered by insurance. Here at Fetterman & Associates, P.A., our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers represent victims who have sustained injuries including but not limited to:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Loss of limb
- Brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Knee injuries
- Scrapes and cuts
- Internal bleeding
If you were injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, our skilled attorneys will help you pursue compensation through: your own insurance company in West Palm Beach, the at-fault party’s insurance company, and/or other means, depending on your situation.
How a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer will seek your compensation
There can be different sources of recovery available to car accident victims. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, your lawyer will choose the most appropriate method of financial compensation after your crash, including:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage: Under Florida law, all drivers are required to carry PIP insurance that provides coverage for their medical bills, loss of income, and certain other expenses up to a specific dollar amount regardless of who was at fault for the crash.
- At-fault driver’s insurance coverage: If the other motorist was responsible for causing your car accident, you might file a claim with their insurance company to recover damages as well as obtain compensation for the damages that exceed your own PIP coverage.
- Personal injury lawsuit: If there is no insurance coverage available or you have exhausted the limits of your PIP coverage, bringing a personal injury lawsuit may be the only option to obtain compensation.
Our auto accident attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, P.A., will investigate your particular case and identify the most appropriate way to seek reimbursement. Regardless of how your lawyer decides to recover damages on your behalf, our attorneys will fight for your maximum compensation.
How long will you wait to settle your car accident claim in Florida?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question because the timeline of your car accident case depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the severity of your injury, the parties’ willingness to settle, and whether the at-fault party’s negligence is clear and undisputed, among others. In Florida, injured individuals have four years from the date of their injury to bring a lawsuit. However, when a car accident resulted in death, the surviving family members must file a wrongful death claim within two years. If your car crash involves a government entity, Florida law requires you to give advance notice of your intention to sue at least six months before filing a lawsuit.
How can auto accident attorneys in Florida prove negligence?
Most car accident cases are based on negligence. When a person gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, they assume a duty of care towards other people around them to drive in a reasonable manner and avoid causing harm to others. When a car driver’s conduct poses an unreasonable risk of harm to others, he or she may be found negligent. Chapter 768 of the Florida Statute requires injured persons to prove certain elements in order to establish negligence. Specifically, you must establish four elements in order to prove that the other driver was negligent and caused the accident:
- Duty of care: The other motorist owed you a duty of care. This one is pretty straightforward when it comes to determining liability in car accident cases because anyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle assumes the responsibility to avoid causing harm to other people.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party breached the duty of care. If the other driver violated a traffic law or engaged in any negligent conduct, you can establish that the motorist breached their duty of care.
- Causation: The other driver’s negligence caused your car crash. You must establish the link between the motorist’s breach of duty and your injury.
- Damages: Your injury, which was caused by the negligent driver’s conduct, resulted in damages and losses.
Why do you need a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer?
Unfortunately, many car accident victims are reluctant to contact an attorney right away, while others choose to wait until their case reaches a dead-end before consulting with a lawyer. So, do you really need a car accident attorney to seek compensation? Is legal representation really that important to recover damages after a vehicle crash in Florida? While Florida law does not obligate you to be represented by a lawyer, doing so can substantially improve your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. Here are some of the ways our car accident lawyers can help you pursue compensation following a collision in West Palm Beach:
- Investigating your crash to establish who was at fault: In most car accident cases, a driver’s fault is not immediately clear, which is why you need to collect a sufficient amount of evidence to prove that the other motorist was at fault. Since Florida is a comparative negligence state – and your own negligence can reduce the award of damages – establishing fault is a critical part of recovering damages. Your car accident lawyer will help you collect all evidence, talk to witnesses, consult with accident reconstruction experts, and investigate your crash to determine liability
- Filing a claim: Florida has strict deadlines for bringing a personal injury claim. Also, there is a lot of paperwork involved with filing car accident claims, not to mention that your case must meet specific legal requirements. An experienced lawyer will handle all the paperwork and help you file the appropriate claims in a timely manner so that you can focus on your physical recovery.
- Evaluating your damages: You need to know how much your case is worth before accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company. For this reason, you need to evaluate your damages and losses associated with the car crash in order to obtain the maximum amount of compensation.
- Negotiating with insurance companies: Insurance companies routinely deny and undervalue injury claims, which is why you need a skilled negotiator such as our Florida car accident attorneys, on your side to protect your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
- Representing you in court: Although most car accident cases are settled out of court, there is always a risk of taking your case to trial.
What to do if you are involved in an accident in West Palm Beach?
The area of West Palm Beach is busy with people coming and going throughout the day. With so much traffic, accidents are not uncommon. If you are involved in an accident in this area, you must take steps to protect your ability to recover compensation.
West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA, know the law and how to protect your rights. You can count on us to help you recover the maximum compensation for your accident claim.
What are the causes of car accidents in and around West Palm Beach?
One of the most common causes of West Palm Beach car accidents is distracted driving. These are mostly seen in busy intersections with large amounts of traffic. In fact, the streets that present the highest risk of an accident in the area include Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, 45th Street, Okeechobee Boulevard, and Military Trail. Other busy areas are susceptible to car accidents, too.
Other causes of accidents are prevalent in the area, too, including reckless driving, speeding, and drunk driving. If you are involved in an accident, you may experience serious injuries that make it impossible to work, and you must deal with the accumulating bills for medical treatment and property damage. In these situations, you need a personal injury attorney to help you with your claim to ensure you get the full value you are entitled to.
How common are distracted driving auto accidents in West Palm Beach?
In Florida, the main cause of distraction is cell phones. However, the state uses secondary laws, which means authorities cannot pull you over and ticket you just for using your phone while driving. This is one reason that distracted driving accidents are extremely common in the Sunshine State, compared to states with primary laws, which allow authorities to ticket drivers just for using their phones while behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, distracted driving accidents involve other motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. We understand the toll that these accidents can have on your life and are ready to help you recover the damages you are entitled to.
Do you really need to hire an attorney to help with your West Palm Beach car accident?
Many car accident victims hesitate to contact our legal firm for assistance because they worry about our service’s cost. However, our law firm works on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay us unless we help you recover compensation.
Along with working on your case, our legal team will handle all the investigation, evidence gathering, and other aspects to help you recover the most compensation possible for your claim. This is done to take the stress of the legal process out of your hands and allow you to focus on your recovery.
Why are intersection car accidents so common in West Palm Beach?
Intersections are an extremely common location for accidents – especially those that involve distracted drivers. Any motorist who texts while driving has violated Florida law. Not only that, but it is an extremely dangerous action because it involves all three types of distraction – mental, manual, and visual.
The outcome can be devastating when an accident occurs at an intersection because of a distracted driver (or another cause). It can leave victims injured and unsure of what to do next. At Fetterman & Associates, PA, our legal team understands how stressful these situations can be and are here to help with the legal process.
What makes I-95 such a dangerous area?
We have received multiple calls from accident victims who were injured in a car accident on and close to I-95. Other common areas for accidents include the Florida Turnpike, along Federal Highway, and Okeechobee Boulevard.
Common types of accidents in these areas include T-bone and rear-end accidents. We have also found that many of these accidents were caused by distracted or intoxicated drivers. If you are involved in an accident on or near I-95, we understand how stressful the situation can be and are ready to help with your claim. Contact us today to learn more about our legal services and how we can help.
What are the top questions for a West Palm Beach car accident attorney?
When you are ready to hire a car accident attorney, you should ask a few questions to ensure you have found the right one for your situation. These questions include:
- Should you speak to a representative from the other insurance company?
- When is the right time to hire a car accident attorney?
- What should you do if you were injured in a car accident?
- What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage, and how does it affect your situation?
- What should you tell the police?
- What type of fees does the law firm charge for their services?
- How much time do you have to file a lawsuit?
- How many cases like yours has the attorney handled in the past?
What may happen if you do not hire a West Palm Beach car accident attorney to help with your case?
If you choose to pursue an accident claim without the help of an attorney, you may experience a few negative outcomes. For example:
- You may not receive the compensation you are entitled to.
- You may have to settle for a low offer from the insurance company.
- The legal experience may be overwhelming and stressful.
Why should you speak with a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer near me?
If you have been involved in a West Palm Beach car accident, it is in your best interest to contact our legal team. We can review your situation and help you file a claim to recover the compensation you are entitled to. We understand how stressful these cases can be and will be staunch advocates who help you recover the full compensation you deserve.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in West Palm Beach and all of Florida. When someone is busy doing something else while they are behind the wheel, they are much more likely to cause an accident.
Common causes of distracted driving include the following:
- Looking out the window
- Using a cell phone or another tech device
- Talking to the passengers in the vehicle
- Eating or drinking
Each of these things can result in serious injuries. You will likely be entitled to damages if you are injured in a car accident because of a distracted driver.
Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence
In Florida (and every other state), it is illegal to drink and drive. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs is irresponsible and extremely dangerous. This action puts the driver and everyone else on the road at risk.
Unfortunately, it is a leading cause of accidents in West Palm Beach and across the state. If you plan to drink, be sure you have a solid plan to get home safely – such as a rideshare service, taxi, or friend. Individuals who cause accidents while intoxicated are often subject to severe penalties beyond a personal injury claim.
Failure to Yield Right of Way
In Florida, there are situations where you must yield the right of way to. If you fail to do this, it may result in an accident.
Common situations where this occurs include in pedestrian crosswalks and as vehicles merge onto a highway. If you are in an accident with someone who fails to yield the right of way, you have rights. One right is to recover compensation for the damages and injuries that you sustain.
In most situations, signage will let you know when you have the right of way and when some other vehicle does.
If someone was speeding when they collided with another vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian, the impact is usually more severe than if they were traveling the speed limit. The purpose of speed limits is to keep everyone on the road safe, and if they are not followed, it puts everyone at risk.
This type of negligence is also inexcusable, and if you are struck by a driver who is speeding, you have the right to file a car accident claim. Our law firm will help you recover the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
In Florida, reckless driving cases involve anyone who drives their vehicle in wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others or their property. Not only can you recover compensation if a reckless driver strikes you, but the guilty individual may also be charged with misdemeanor or felony penalties. The specific criminal charges depend on if the situation resulted in some serious bodily injury. It is important to note that speed alone is not enough to result in a charge of reckless driving; however, these actions often result in a victim receiving punitive damages if it is determined that recklessness was involved.
Cases of road rage are not unusual on Florida roads. The heat and the congestion can lead to drivers getting angry and frustrated while behind the wheel.
If a driver hits you on purpose, it may be determined to be a case of road rage. However, no matter the reason behind this, if an accident occurs that is not your fault, you may be entitled to receive compensation. Some examples of situations where someone may be dealing with road rage include blocking vehicles from changing lanes, making angry hand or arm gestures, honking angrily, yelling, tailgating, getting out of the vehicle to confront a driver, ramming another vehicle, and cutting off another vehicle purposefully.
Failure to Adjust to Adverse Weather Conditions
Florida is well known for finicky weather. It can be a clear day full of sunshine one minute and a torrential downpour the next. If you find yourself driving in adverse weather conditions, you are expected to adjust your driving to ensure your safety and the safety of others while you are on the road.
If a driver is speeding during bad weather and causes an accident, you may be able to file a car accident claim. In most cases, situations like this will be described in a police report, which can be used as evidence for your car accident claim.
Running Red Lights
Drivers who run red lights may cause a T-bone collision, rear-end collision, or even a head-on accident. These types of accidents are often particularly dangerous because drivers are attempting to “beat” the light, which means they may be traveling at a higher rate of speed than usual.
Accidents that involve someone running a red light are more likely to result in severe injuries and fatalities.
If you are struck by a driver who ran a red light, you have the right to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. We can help you with your claim and help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Ignoring Road Signs
It may seem like no big deal to run a stop sign from time to time. Unfortunately, if you fail to obey the posted road signs, it can result in an accident and serious harm to yourself or someone else.
If you are involved in an accident with someone who blatantly ignored the road signs, you may have grounds to file a compensation claim. Our legal team can gather evidence related to your case and talk to witnesses to help prove the fault of the situation and help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Have you ever seen a vehicle weaving in and out of traffic, nearly hitting vehicles they are attempting to pass? Making unsafe lane changes is another type of negligence; if an accident results from these actions, they can be held liable.
There are several ways to prove that you were the victim of an unsafe lane change accident. There may be video footage from dashcams or surveillance systems at nearby businesses. It is also possible to substantiate your claim with witness testimony. You can call our legal team to help gather evidence and ensure that you can prove your compensation claim.
Wrong Way Driving
There are several one-way roads throughout West Palm Beach. While many residents know where these roads are and which way they go, the many visitors to the area may not. When someone drives the wrong way on a one-way street, it can cause a head-on collision. This can have devastating results and cause serious injuries.
If you are struck by someone going the wrong way on a one-way street, you may have the right to make a compensation claim. Our legal team will help to gather evidence related to your case to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.
Knowing when you can legally turn is necessary when driving in West Palm Beach. If you are involved in an accident with someone making an improper turn, you may have extensive damage and injuries to deal with. While these turns may not be made at high speeds, they can still result in serious damage and injuries.
It is smart to contact our law firm if you are involved with this type of accident to protect your rights to recover compensation. We understand these situations can be overwhelming and are ready to help you with your accident situation.
Studies have shown that drowsy driving is just as or more dangerous than drunk driving. The outcome can be devastating if you are involved in an accident with someone who is fatigued while driving.
Drowsy drivers often swerve and move out of their own lanes. The possibility of head-on collisions is real in these situations. If a drowsy driver strikes your vehicle, you should gather information about the other driver and take photos of the damage to your vehicle. This can help prove that they acted negligently and that their negligence resulted in your accident.
Failure to Maintain a Safe Distance Between Vehicles
Tailgating is another common cause of accidents. When a vehicle travels too close to the vehicle ahead, it may collide with it, causing a serious accident, damage, and injury.
For these types of accidents, you need an experienced car accident attorney in West Palm Beach who understands what must be proven to help you recover compensation. Our legal team will review the evidence related to your case to help you recover the maximum compensation possible for your losses.
Schedule your free consultation with a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach
Contact our car accident attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, P.A., if you were injured in a car crash in West Palm Beach. Our skilled auto accident attorneys will investigate your case, help you file a claim, evaluate your damages, and, if necessary, represent you in court. Call 561-845-2510 or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation.
Links to helpful articles:
- Florida No-Fault Insurance Laws and PIP Insurance
- What to Do After a Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver
- 7 Delayed Injury Symptoms You Need to Know After a Car Accident
- Risks Associated with Handling Your Own Car Accident Claim
- Determining Liability in a Florida Driveway Accident
- Understanding the 14-Day Accident Law in the State of Florida
- What Is My Car Accident Worth?
- Involved in a Hit-and-Run? You Might Need a Car Accident Lawyer