Car Accident Attorney West Palm Beach

There’s no disputing that people who are seriously injured in motor-vehicle collisions face considerable physical, emotional, and financial hurdles. Lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and other expenses can add up quickly. There are also non-economic damages to consider such as pain and suffering. If you were hurt in a wreck, turn to our car accident attorneys in West Palm Beach to determine the most strategic way to proceed.

As soon as you call our office, we will talk with you honestly about your claim and begin creating a plan to pursue the compensation you deserve. Call 561-299-3999 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Items to Bring to Your Meeting with a Car Accident Attorney in West Palm Beach

During the initial consultation, your attorney will ask questions about the collision to determine if you have grounds for a claim. If the circumstances of the wreck in which you were involved warrant a claim, you can expect to discuss potential strategies for pursuing compensation.

You can streamline the earliest stages of building your case by bringing certain documents to the consultation including:

  • The official police report;

  • Written statements from eyewitnesses;

  • Medical records;

  • Hospital bills;

  • Your auto insurance policy;

  • The other party’s auto insurance information;

  • Any correspondence you have had with insurance adjusters;

  • Receipts for any expenses associated with treating the injuries or repairing damaged property;

  • Time-off requests for work;

  • The names and contact information of all other motorists and passengers involved;

  • A summary of what happened in your own words;

  • Any photographs of the wreckage; and

  • Any available dash cam footage or surveillance recordings of the incident.

Will I Have to Pay Upfront for Legal Representation?

You should not have to worry about paying legal fees at a time when your family may be struggling to cover just the necessities. That’s why at Donaldson & Weston, our car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach will not charge any attorneys’ fees unless we secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf. The initial consultation is absolutely free.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Florida?

Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits must be filed before the statute of limitations has passed. If the deadline passes before you file suit, it’s almost certain that your case will be dismissed. As such, if you intend to file a car accident claim, it’s important that you begin the proceedings as soon as possible.

The typical statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Florida is four years from the date of injury. If a member of your family died in a crash, you have two years to file suit if a settlement cannot be reached. If a government entity is liable for the accident—for instance, if the crash was caused by poor road maintenance or by the negligence of a government employee—you will have to submit a notice of the claim to the relevant agency. You will then have to wait for a 180-day investigation to conclude, and if your claim is denied, your lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the accident (in the case of personal injury) or two years from the date of death.

These deadlines might seem far away, but investigating a serious collision takes time. Your West Palm Beach car accident lawyer will want to assess your case from all angles and may need to consult various experts and file subpoenas to obtain evidence that’s being withheld. It’s also possible that time-sensitive evidence will eventually become unavailable. In fact, many attorneys don’t even accept cases unless there’s a reasonable amount of time to prepare the claim. As such, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible.

Why Is My Car Accident Lawyer Suggesting I Stay off Social Media?

Being involved in an accident in which you sustained serious injuries can be scary and the aftermath can be confusing. It is normal to want to take to social media for support and comfort from friends and family in these uncertain times.

Insurance companies are, however, known to monitor a personal injury claimant’s social media feed in search of compromising content. The photos, videos, check-ins, and updates that you share online could be taken out of context and used to dispute liability and harm your claim.

While it would be in your best interest to disable your social media account until your claim has been settled, here are a few tips if you insist on going online:

  • Set Your Accounts to Private: If you are going to make use of social media while your claim is pending, make sure to check your privacy settings. Set all your accounts to “private” so that your posts, past and future, are only visible to your chosen friends and followers. You should also ensure that you need to approve any posts that others may “tag” you in before they appear on your feed.

  • Do Not Accept New Friend Requests: If you receive a new friend request from someone that you do not recognize, rather decline the invitation. Only accept friend requests from people that you know and trust. Insurance companies have vast resources at their disposal to investigate claimants, and they might try to gain access to your online content to scour for something that could be used to dispute your claim.

  • Avoid Posting Pictures and Checking-In Online: Recovery from an accident that has left you with serious injuries can be a long, painful, and uphill battle. On the days that you are feeling slightly stronger, you may want to take a few photos of yourself and share them with your followers to keep them updated on your progress. These seemingly innocent photos can, however, be used to undermine your claim. The insurance company may use these photos to try and argue that your injuries are not serious, or if you snapped the pictures at your favorite coffee shop, they may argue that you ignored your doctor’s order to rest. It is, therefore, best to rather abstain from posting any pictures until your case is settled.

  • Do Not Post About the Accident or Your Injuries: While you may be desperate to connect with your online community for sympathy during your recovery or to vent about your experiences, avoid sharing any details online about your injuries, the accident, and your personal injury claim. Insurance companies and opposing parties may twist your words and misrepresent what you shared to dispute your claim.

Do Any Damages Caps Apply to Car Accident Cases?

In the state of Florida, there are damages caps that apply to punitive awards. That cap is usually $500,000 or triple the compensatory damages, whichever is greater. If financial gain was a motivation of the tortfeasor (the alleged wrongdoer), the punitive damages cap increases to $2 million or four times the compensatory damages. If you were intentionally harmed, there is no cap on punitive damages. Unfortunately, you cannot obtain a punitive damages award from a government entity.

When Can a Car Accident Victim Pursue Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are only available in cases that involve gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Gross negligence is typically the basis for punitive damages awards in car accident cases, though such damages are not available in most cases.

Gross negligence means the defendant acted with a conscious disregard or indifference to your rights, safety, or life. Examples of gross negligence include drunk driving, fleeing the scene of an accident and, sometimes, texting behind the wheel.

Your West Palm Beach car accident attorney can review the police report, interview eyewitnesses, and assess other evidence to determine if punitive damages may be available in your case. At Donaldson & Weston, we have extensive experience helping accident victims throughout Florida fight for punitive awards.

Set up a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer

When you're ready to speak with a lawyer about your claim, call our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers at 561-299-3999. If your injuries prevent you from coming to us, a member of our team can come to you. The consultation is free, and no attorneys' fees are charged unless we win your case.