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Car Accident Lawyers in Boca Raton

two cars in a fender bender in Boca Raton, Florida with attorneys Kogan and DiSalvo

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an auto wreck caused by a negligent driver, the Boca Raton car accident lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo could guide you through the entire claims process and work to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. Additionally, our experienced car wreck lawyers could become your legal advocates while you focus on your physical recovery. If you have been in an accident in Palm Beach County, call us today to learn more about your claim.

What Do I Do After an Auto Accident?

When someone is involved in a car accident, they may have many questions about what steps they should take after. The most important action to take is to call the police to come to the accident scene and emergency personnel if anyone is severely injured.

Once immediate issues such as ensuring the safety of accident victims and getting to a safe location are taken care of, begin to collect evidence that can help establish liability and damages. This can include:

  • Recording a video of your own account while your recollection is as fresh as possible.
  • Getting the contact information and a report from witnesses
  • Taking photos and video of the scene. Potentially relevant information will include traffic, weather, road condition, street lights, traffic lights, signs, and anything else that could explain why or how the accident happened.

Remember, memories fade, witnesses may later become unavailable to offer a statement or testimony, and hazardous conditions can be fixed before you can document them. Taking the opportunity to begin documenting the accident–will preserve more evidence for your insurance claim or lawsuit.

There are several essential steps an individual should take after being in a car accident to prepare for a civil claim. Do not post photos or other information about the accident on social media. It is considered public information. An insurance agent or opposing party’s attorney in a lawsuit may check a plaintiff’s social media for evidence that they may have been partially at fault.

Do not say anything about the accident other than contact information, insurance information, and other necessities. This includes giving information to witnesses at the scene. These statements could later be used against you to prove fault. A police report is extremely helpful because an auto accident lawyer in Boca Raton could use this when building an injured party’s claim.

If you have questions regarding evidence, speaking with a Boca Raton car accident lawyer can help to offer clarity in a complex process.

Vignette of woman rubbing her neck after a car accident

What Information Should Be Exchanged After a Car Accident?

After a motor vehicle accident, it is important for all involved parties to exchange information. This allows an experienced attorney to quickly get in contact with the opposing parties and their insurers. Information that should be exchanged includes:

  • The full name and contact information of all parties
  • Each driver’s insurer and policy number
  • Each driver’s license number
  • License plate numbers
  • The make, model, and color of each vehicle involved
  • The location of the accident

However, be sure not to share anything else, such as what was happening in your car leading up to the accident. Information such as this could one day be used in a statement or testimony to prove fault and lessen an insurance claim or damages.

People in an emergency room waiting room

How Soon Should Someone See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

While an injured party may not show any immediate signs of bodily harm, it is still important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a motor vehicle collision. Adrenalin is often released in the body after a traumatic event and may mask potential injuries. While a person may not feel any pain or discomfort at first, injuries may worsen over time, which may lead to serious lasting effects. Learn more about what to expect after an accident.

It is also important to see a medical professional as soon as possible to properly document any injuries sustained from a car crash. If a claimant fails to provide evidence of their injuries, an insurance company may argue some injuries may not warrant compensation, especially if they did not visit a physician. Our legal team at Kogan & DiSalvo could work to ensure that a claimant has proper documentation of their losses following a car crash in Boca Raton.

When to File a Car Insurance Claim in Boca Raton

How long you have to file an insurance claim varies between insurers. An insurance company may try to get an injured party to file a claim as soon as possible without legal representation.

While this may seem like a good idea at first, it can have serious financial consequences. Some insurance companies may try to pay an injured party as little as possible. Insurance companies are businesses, and their business model depends on trying to minimize or deny claims. For insurance companies, getting a claim off their liabilities sheet through a quick payout for less than adequate compensation is often their best-case scenario.

For this reason, it is important for an individual to discuss their case with an experienced car wreck lawyer before filing a claim with an insurance company in Boca Raton. A knowledgeable attorney can help you establish the value of your claim, negotiate and push back against an inadequate insurance settlement, and offer an informed opinion on when litigation may be right for you.

Cars crossing a causeway in Florida with boats in the background

What are the Common Causes of Car Wrecks in Boca Raton?

Unfortunately, many drivers engage in negligent behavior that cause car accidents every day in Boca Raton, and Florida. Distracted driving is a primary example of this reckless behavior that frequently results in serious collisions. Since the popularization of smartphones, many authorities have reported a significant increase in traffic accidents.

Texting while driving has become a hazardous issue. It requires the driver to take their eyes from the road to a screen. It also requires taking their hands off the wheel to type and thinking about what is said. All of these factors reduce the ability of a driver to react to oncoming hazards when reaction times are measured in seconds. The resulting increase in accident rates has pushed most states to enact legislation to ban texting and driving, with Florida joining the list in 2019.

Although texting and driving is illegal throughout the state and can result in fines and points on a driver’s license, it is rarely enforced, and drivers are still allowed to hold their phones or use hands-free devices and have verbal conversations. Long before smartphones, radios were added to cars, and the increase in distraction amongst drivers led to a rise in accidents. Other types of distractions that may lead to a motor vehicle crash include listening to loud music, eating and drinking while behind the wheel, and rowdy passengers.

Driving while impaired by alcohol can also lead to devastating drunk driving accidents that can include liability for a bartender and the impaired driver they overserved. Also known as the “dram shop law,” Florida Statutes Section 768.125 creates a cause of action to sue a bar, restaurant, or other establishments that provided alcohol to an intoxicated patron with a known drinking problem. 

Driving while impaired comes with harsh criminal penalties for those convicted in Boca Raton. However, a criminal record does not necessarily mean that someone injured in this type of accident will receive compensation. Therefore, anyone injured by an impaired driver should speak to a dedicated car accident lawyer in Boca Raton.

When a reckless driver violates a traffic law, they may cause a serious accident with responsible motorists who are obeying all traffic laws and norms. These violations may include speeding, failing to obey traffic signs and signals, failure to yield, and following other vehicles too closely.

After a car accident, it is important to determine its cause to identify possible liable parties. This is particularly true when someone suffers serious injuries and may have to go through the at-fault driver’s insurance company to claim compensation.

Traffic sign on a road warning of a dangerous curve ahead

Types of Accidents Between Vehicles

Accidents all have their own unique facts but typically follow patterns that personal injury attorneys are familiar with. For example, while any motor vehicle accident can cause catastrophic injuries and damages, certain accidents are inherently more dangerous than others based on the force of the collision.

The following reckless or negligent actions can lead to one of several different types of accident:

  • Head-on collisions are a very dangerous type of collision when the front end of two cars strike each other while traveling toward each other. Because the force of both moving vehicles is added to the force of the impact and causes an immediate, rapid deceleration that can send occupants into objects or through a windshield.
  • Side-impact collisions when the front end of one vehicle strikes the side of another, also known as T-bone accidents. These accidents often result in serious injuries because there is very little protection between the occupants and the colliding car. The side panels and windows can be crushed inwards toward occupants. When these collisions happen with sufficient force, they can cause a rollover.
  • Rollovers when a vehicle is flipped on its side or roof. These accidents are also particularly dangerous for vehicle occupants as the roof or panels can be crushed inwards and strike occupants.
  • Sideswipe accidents when the side of one car collides with the side of another, which often occur when a driver does not check before merging.
  • Rear-end collisions when the front of one vehicle strikes the back of the car in front of it, often when they are “tailgating” (following too closely) or distracted and did not allow themselves enough time to react.

Common Injuries from Car Accidents

Several types of injuries repeatedly arise in the context of a car accident, both physical and psychological. These accidents can result from the initial impact, rapid deceleration, fires, or other events during an accident. Some of the most common are:

  • Broken bones (particularly ribs).
  • Abrasions and cuts.
  • Whiplash.
  • Scrapes and cuts.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Herniated discs and other spinal cord injuries
  • Knee trauma.
  • Traumatic brain injuries.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Survivor’s guilt/PTSD.

This is, of course, only a shortlist of the many injuries that can occur during an accident.

Construction Zone Accidents

Construction zones very often have difficult driving conditions. Moreover, construction workers may be particularly vulnerable to being hit by a car. These are areas where trucks and other heavy equipment are often present, may currently be in a state of repair that causes hazards, and often have additional distractions to be navigated by drivers. Like many accidents, speeding is often a factor in construction zone accidents, and construction zones have a high occurrence of rear-end collisions. 

Construction zone on a street with stop signs, warning cones, and a truck

What is Negligence?

Despite being interchangeable with terms like “carelessness,” negligence is a logical calculation defined by statute and varies from state to state. The purpose of a negligence determination is to decide which party is at fault and, in a comparative negligence jurisdiction like Florida, to what degree of fault.

The basics of negligence consist of a four-element consideration:

  • Duty did the allegedly negligent party owe a duty.
  • Breach did this party breach their duty.
  • Causation did the breach of duty cause the injury; and
  • Damages can the court compensate the plaintiff for their injury, i.e., through payment of monetary compensation

While driving, an individual has an obligation to operate their vehicle responsibly, which is a duty that they owe to others on the road. To determine breach, the court will consider whether the allegedly negligent driver was driving reasonably safely under the conditions. For example, were they driving with both hands on the wheel or sending a tweet?

When causation is determined, both factual and proximate causation will be considered. A factual cause starts a chain of events that eventually lead to the injury. However, this does not necessarily make it the proximate cause. Also known as “legal cause,” the proximate cause is the one that is recognized as the primary cause of the injury. 

For example, I eat a banana and throw away the peel. My roommate pulls the peel out of the garbage and puts it on the ground in the hallway. When my guest slipped on it, although I was the factual cause, I was not the proximate cause. This is because my roommate pulling the peel out of the garbage and putting it on the ground interceded and broke the chain of causality, becoming both a factual and the proximate cause of the slip and fall.

Finally, once duty, breach, and causation are proved, the court will consider damages. Damages are typically limited to calculating monetary compensation for bills, lost wages, and other proven losses.

Man with broken arm in cast standing in front of a wrecked car

What Type of Compensation is Available After a Motor Vehicle Crash?

After a car wreck in Boca Raton, an injured party may need to claim compensation, usually through the at-fault driver and sometimes through their own insurance company. This compensation could help recover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

When injuries are severe, compensation also may be available for a loss of earning capacity. These damages cover someone’s lost income if they are unable to return to the same line of work after suffering significant bodily harm. Similarly, compensation may be available for permanent injuries, such as paralysis or a traumatic brain injury.

In the event of a fatality resulting from a crash, the legal remedy to pursue compensation will be a wrongful death case. These lawsuits attempt to compensate surviving family members for extensive economic damages. This includes the above-mentioned lost wages and medical expenses. However, it expands economic damages to include projected wages the decedent would have earned over their lifetime. It also covers funeral expenses, the value of services such as caretaking of minor children or a disabled spouse, and even speculative figures like what a decedent’s estate may have been worth if they had not been in the accident.

Wrongful death also encompasses non-economic damages, such as loss of parental companionship and guidance for the decedent’s minor children, loss of companionship for a spouse, and mental pain and suffering.

Intangible or non-economic damages like those based upon a relationship can require a significant explanation and have no exact calculations spelled out in statutes. These damages can be as speculative as what a minor child may have earned throughout their lifetime and can require good arguments to convince judges or insurance adjustors. 

People who sustain losses should claim all damages owed to ensure they are not left paying for them out of their own pocket or denied opportunities. A Boca Raton law firm could assess a car accident case and determine what it may be worth.

Vignette view of a courtroom from the judge's bench with a gavel in the foreground

Shared Fault in Boca Raton Car Accident Cases

Boca Raton is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, a pure comparative state, meaning that assessment of fault against a claimant can go from zero to 100 percent.

If a claimant is partially to blame for their collision, the court may reduce their compensatory award by their percentage of fault. For example, if a person is injured and their case is worth $1,000, but the jury finds them 75 percent at fault, they may still be able to recover the $250 that is remaining. Despite the downward adjustment, an injured party that is mostly at fault for the injury can still collect compensation. This means that a plaintiff who is 99% at fault for their injuries would still be able to recover 1%.

Comparative negligence comes into play when there is some dispute as to who did what to cause the accident. It is essential to get the most information in a case to properly argue who was at fault. If you have questions about fault and comparative negligence in Florida, consulting with a Boca Raton car accident attorney can help inform you on how best to proceed.

Florida Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits

Most lawsuits resulting from a car accident will be for negligence. In Florida, someone injured due to negligence will generally have two years from the date of the injury to file their claim. After this, it will likely not succeed.

In the event of a fatality resulting from a car accident, family members will have two years from the decedent’s death to file their claim.

Two people shaking hands over legal documents and a gavel

Contact our Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you have suffered injuries in a crash, the car accident lawyers in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County at Kogan & DiSalvo could help. We could advise you of your legal options, guide you on gathering evidence, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the entire claims process. We also could effectively negotiate with the insurance company so you may claim the compensation needed to adequately address your injuries and repair bills. We are also experienced in Uber accidents and uninsured motorist accidents. Call us today to schedule a free initial case consultation.

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