Car Accident Attorney Stuart

If you or a family member has been involved in an auto accident, turn to Donaldson & Weston for representation. One of our car accident attorneys in Stuart can help you pursue compensation from the responsible party. There's no cost for the consultation, and you pay nothing unless you win.

You can reach us at 772-266-5555. If you are unable to come to our office for the case assessment, we can come to you.

Our Car Accident Attorneys in Stuart Can Help You Assert Your Rights

At any given time, a variety of tourists, truckers, and people who work in Martin County but reside elsewhere may be passing through the area. Combined with local residents, this creates a potential for serious and even deadly car accidents. In order to hold a defendant liable for injuries or death resulting from a motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant was negligent. This is where our attorneys can help.

To say that a driver is “negligent” means that they failed to take proper care in the operation of their vehicle. There are four elements in a negligence lawsuit: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. As is the case with other types of tort cases filed in the civil court system, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff in a negligence claim, and they must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the jury must determine that, more likely than not, the plaintiff is entitled to the compensation sought.

If a plaintiff makes out a successful case of negligence against the driver whom they believe was at fault in the accident, the jury may award damages for the plaintiff’s medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Also, the plaintiff’s spouse may be compensated for loss of consortium if the plaintiff was married at the time of the accident.

Under the Florida wrongful death statute, the family or estate of a person who is killed in a Stuart car accident may be able to seek damages for the loss of their loved one. The damages that may be available, as well as the parties who may bring suit, vary according to the situation and should be discussed with a qualified attorney.

Possible Damages in an Auto Injury Case

Being the victim of an accident that has left you injured is not only traumatic but may also place you under significant financial strain. Depending on the strength of the evidence available, our auto accident lawyers in Stuart may be able to help you claim for a range of damages.

There are two main categories of damages that are available to claimants. First, compensatory damages include the claimant's past and future economic and non-economic losses. Second, punitive damages, which aim to punish the liable party and discourage others from acting similarly, are awarded to the plaintiff when a defendant is found to have acted with intentional misconduct or gross negligence.

Below are a few examples of compensatory damages that may be available to you:

  • Lost Income: Your injuries may have left you unable to return to work for some time while you recover. The income that you miss out on during this time can, therefore, be included as part of your claim. Be sure to keep all your pay stubs that reflect your loss of income as important evidence to strengthen your case.

  • Lost Future Earning Potential: Some injuries have permanent effects and may prevent you from ever returning to the same line of work. This may leave you and your loved ones with unbearable stress from financial uncertainty. In this case, your attorney can call upon vocational and financial expert witnesses to warrant the inclusion of lost future earning potential as part of your claim.

  • Medical Bills: Regardless of the severity of your injuries, there will be medical bills that need to be paid. Your potential recovery may account for past and future medical expenses that you may incur as a result of your injury. Keep a record of all your doctor’s visits, diagnostic imaging, prescriptions, invoices, physical therapy sessions, and anything else relating to your medical care to use as evidence during your case.

  • Emotional Distress and Ongoing Suffering: The losses you face as an accident victim are not only monetary. You may have faced intense horror, shock, fright, and trauma during the accident. You may also be left with serious anxiety, insomnia, pain, suffering, scarring, loss of limb, and shame. These factors influence your life enjoyment and ability to return to your usual routines. As such, you may be able to seek compensation for emotional distress and suffering.

How Soon After the Auto Accident Should I Visit a Doctor?

After being involved in an auto accident that has left you injured and in pain, all you may want to do is get to the comfort of your own home to decompress and rest, especially if your injuries do not seem too serious at first. Seeking immediate medical attention is, however, a very important step to take after an accident if you plan to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party.

Failing to seek immediate medical care may not only result in your condition worsening but your personal injury claim may also be disputed as a result. As a claimant, you must take all reasonable steps to mitigate your damages. As such, the insurance company may argue that not seeking prompt medical care is negligent behavior on your part and your damages may, therefore, be reduced or even denied.

Here are a few reasons to seek immediate medical attention after an accident:

  • Prevent Your Injuries from Worsening: You never truly know the extent of your injuries unless you undergo a thorough medical examination after being involved in an accident. Some serious conditions may initially only present minor or latent symptoms. For example, you may just be experiencing some mild pain running down your leg, not knowing that it is your back that has actually been seriously injured. These symptoms, if untreated, may progress into more serious long-lasting complications and increased medical expenses. It is, therefore, in your best interest to immediately visit a doctor after leaving the scene of the accident. This will also help your Stuart car accident attorney to connect your injuries to the accident in question.

  • Help Mitigate Disputes: Seeking immediate medical care is not only important to your recovery but may also help to mitigate disputes against your personal injury claim. If your injuries worsen because you failed to seek medical treatment in time, the insurance company may call your liability into question by arguing that you were negligent and did not do your duty to mitigate your damages. This may result in a significantly reduced reward or even the denial of your claim.

  • Insurance Companies Will Request Medical Records: When filing a personal injury claim, you will need to provide evidence of the damages you have incurred. Your medical records will form a vital part of this evidence. Your medical records will detail the severity of your injuries, the treatments you have been recommended to undergo, the medications prescribed to you, any future treatment that you may require, and the medical expenses involved.

Role of a Personal Injury Journal in a Car Accident Case

Your Stuart car accident lawyer may have suggested that you keep a personal injury journal after your accident. You may be wondering what the point of this is because you cannot imagine ever forgetting the traumatic details of the incident and its consequences that you are forced to live with every day.

A personal injury claim may be dragged out for weeks and even months before a settlement can be reached. If a settlement cannot be agreed upon, your case may go to trial and then take even longer to resolve. Your case relies on your ability to remember every detail of the accident and keeping a personal injury journal is a means to document this vital information as well as your experiences after the accident. It could be used as important evidence in your case to prove liability and the degree of damages you have suffered.

Here are a few examples of important information to include in your personal injury journal:

  • Details of the Accident: As soon as possible after the accident, sit down and write about exactly what happened and how it happened. Make sure you don’t overlook significant details that could help prove liability and damages. Make note of what you did immediately after the accident and what the other party did immediately after the accident. If you spoke to the other party, what did they say? Did they admit fault? If you saw any surveillance footage or spoke to any witnesses, write that down as well. Who responded to the accident? If police responded, did you take down their badge numbers and request a copy of the official incident report? These details could be helpful to your attorney who is relying on your account of the accident to guide his or her investigation and gather the necessary evidence.

  • Every Doctor’s Visit: Make a note of every doctor’s visit and everything that is said during your consultation. This will help you to keep track of their instructions during your recovery and may also help to prove that you followed your doctor’s orders closely to mitigate damages. This may reduce the likelihood of disputes against your claim.

  • Your Pain Levels and Symptoms: As part of your personal injury claim, you may be able to include intangible losses as part of your claim. You can use your personal injury journal to demonstrate the effects that your injuries have had on your quality of life. Recording your pain levels, describing your symptoms, and detailing your discomfort will help paint a picture of your experiences after the accident and prove these damages.

Speak with a Stuart Car Accident Lawyer in a Free Consultation

We can review your case in a free consultation and help you plot the way forward. To speak with a car accident lawyer in Stuart, call 772-266-5555.