West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyers
Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Fight for Clients in Broward County, Palm Beach County, and all of South Florida
Perhaps you were driving down Hibiscus Street. Or maybe it was a quick trip up Olive Avenue. Either way, you’ve found yourself in a car accident in West Palm Beach. The experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyers from Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. has represented clients for more than 20 years. They understand how your life can change in an instant. They can assist in obtaining compensation to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damages and other expenses caused by the crash.
As one of the oldest incorporated municipalities in South Florida, West Palm Beach hosts its fair share of traffic accidents. Often times, these are major inconveniences. But sometimes, they can result in a totaled vehicle or serious injuries.
If either happens to you, it could lead to financial struggles due to unexpected large bills and missed work. Additionally, it can be very difficult to recover all the compensation you need from your car insurance company following the car accident.
Common Causes of the Car Accidents
The best way to acquire all the compensation you deserve after a West Palm Beach, FL car accident is by determining the fault of the other parties involved. If you are unable to assign fault you will have trouble recovering compensation.
Some car accidents can be easy to assign fault because it involved just you and one other driver. But, when there are multiple vehicles involved, things can get a bit more complicated. Our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers have represented clients who have been injured in the following types of car accidents:
- Poor road conditions
- Bad weather
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Forgetting to check blind spots
- Driving and texting
- Defective vehicles
- Blown tires
- Ignoring traffic rules
Sometimes, car accidents are caused by a combination of driver errors and other events. This can result in liability to be divided among two or more people. When that happens, the theory of comparative negligence comes into play.
Determining Negligence Following a West Palm Beach Accident
Each state has its own way of dealing with situations when one person isn’t 100% responsible for an accident or personal injury. Practically all states will have either contributory negligence or comparative negligence legal schemes in place.
Contributory negligence refers to situations where any amount of fault will prevent any type of legal recovery. This means if you were just 1% at fault for causing an accident, you can’t recover anything. This is true even if the other driver was 99% at-fault
As you can imagine, contributory negligence is an extremely harsh rule. Luckily, most states do not follow it. Think about a situation where a speeding drunk driver blows through a stop sign and T-bones another driver.
But because that other driver was traveling at 39 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone, a jury decides they are 2% at fault for the accident. It doesn’t matter if they are paralyzed from the neck down and have a totaled vehicle. They get nothing from the drunk driver in a contributory negligence state.
Most other states, including Florida, apply comparative negligence. However, there are typically two types of comparative negligence frameworks in place.
In a modified comparative negligence state, a plaintiff can recover damages, but only if the plaintiff’s level of fault doesn’t exceed a certain level. In most modified comparative negligence states, this threshold is 50% or 51%.
The other type of comparative negligence is pure comparative negligence. Florida follows this model.
With pure comparative negligence, a plaintiff’s level of fault will reduce their damage award. However, it will never fully bar the plaintiff from obtaining a recovery unless they are 100% liable.
So if you deserve $10,000 and a judge or jury says you’re 20% at fault, your damage award is reduced to $8,000. If you’re 99% liable and have $10,000 in damages, you’ll still be able to collect $100.
Types of Damages You May Be Able to Recover After a Traffic Crash
The precise amount and type of damages you can recover following a West Palm Beach accident will depend on the specific facts of your accident. But generally speaking, there are three types of damages potentially available in a car accident case.
First, there are economic damages. These are damages that cause specific economic harm to the victim and are relatively easy to calculate. Types of common economic damages from a car accident include:
- Lost wages
- Vehicle repairs costs
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
Next, there are non-economic damages. These refer to damages that are not directly financial in nature. They are usually intangible and can be quite subjective. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of support
- Funeral expenses
Finally, we have punitive damages, which aren’t designed to compensate victims. Instead, they’re designed to punish wrongdoers.
Punitive damages aren’t very common in car accident cases because they only apply when the at-fault driver acted extremely badly. This might include a driver purposely trying to cause the accident or acting especially recklessly.
Because Florida is a “no-fault” state, only economic damages can reliably be recovered. To sue for punitive or non-economic damages, you must have endured a “serious” injury.
An injury will be deemed serious if it results in:
- A broken or fractured bone.
- Substantial disfigurement.
- Full disability for several months.
- A permanent loss in an organ or body member.
- A significant limitation in a bodily function or system.
Without a serious injury, your recovery will usually be limited to medical bills, lost wages and vehicle repair or replacement costs.
Have Questions About Your West Palm Beach Traffic Accident?
If you have suffered a car accident injury in a West Palm Beach, then you might need a West Palm Beach, FL car crash attorney. This attorney can help defend your right to full and fair compensation.
The personal injury attorneys of Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. are dedicated to providing clients with honest, compassionate and skilled legal representation. We understand that after an accident you’ve got bills to pay and mouths to feed.
At your earliest convenience, call one of the offices in Pompano Beach or Lake Worth. Alternatively, you can fill out this online contact form to schedule an appointment about your case.
The initial consultation is free, so you’ve got nothing to lose. For maximum flexibility, we speak both English and Spanish. And if you can’t make it to one of our offices, we can come to you to talk about your injuries.