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West Palm Beach Car Accidents
Tourist towns are unique places to visit, especially when they’re in a climate where the tourism season never ends. A perfect example is West Palm Beach. Located in southern Florida, people visit this town to enjoy the beaches, shops, and restaurants year-round.
While this is great for the economy of West Palm Beach, it also creates some problems. For one, the streets are often filled with more cars, trucks, and buses than a town of this size is designed to handle. Unsurprisingly, all this extra traffic can result in an abnormal number of car accidents.
If you were the victim of a car accident in West Palm Beach, you deserve compensation to cover your losses and potential medical expenses. But due to the red tape involved with car accident claims, you may never see the money you deserve. The reputable car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, from Morgan & Morgan can help you get that money.
So before you file a claim with your insurance company, contact the car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, at Morgan and Morgan to schedule a free case evaluation and learn about your legal options.
How to Handle a West Palm Beach Car Accident as a Local
If you live in West Palm Beach, you should handle a car accident differently than you would if you were visiting the city. Because you live locally, you should be more familiar with regional medical options and have an easier time scheduling doctor visits and attorney consultations.
However, complications can arise even if you live locally. You should keep these potential issues in mind and act accordingly, or you could find yourself on the hook for major medical bills or other expenses.
Immediately after an accident, your first move should be to get medical attention. Unless it is dangerous to stay where you are, you shouldn’t move from your vehicle until medical personnel have arrived at the scene and evaluated your injuries. Even relatively minor injuries can be fatal if not identified and treated quickly.
Once you are certain it is safe to move around, gather contact information from the other drivers in the accident. Hopefully, all other drivers are also locals. If they are, it will be easy for your attorney from Morgan & Morgan to contact them and their insurance company if necessary. Unfortunately, there is a good chance at least one of the other drivers will be a tourist.
This creates a problem because they’ll likely be leaving town soon. And once they leave, your car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, may have difficulty contacting them. However, this will be less of a problem for Morgan and Morgan attorneys because we have offices in every state in the country.
But even though we’re able to easily communicate with people who live in other states, that doesn’t mean you should be careless when gathering contact information. You should take pictures of all documents that are shared with you and be certain to get all of the following information:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number and issuing state
- Registration card
- Insurance policy number
- Insurer’s name
- Car rental company and contract, if applicable
- Hotel where the person is staying, if applicable
- License plate state and number of car
It is a lot of information, but it is important to record everything. If you don’t insist on seeing documentation for everything, the other driver might lie about their contact information, making it impossible to track them down later. This could slow down the claims process or even limit the amount of compensation you receive.
Once you have all the information you need, the next thing you should do is contact car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL. There is no such thing as consulting with an attorney too early after a crash. A lawyer can help you with every step of the process, and the longer you wait to contact them, the more difficulties you will face along the way.
Finally, you should file a claim with your insurance company. If possible, do this while at the scene of the accident. If you can’t (for medical reasons or otherwise), you should file the claim as soon as possible. A family member or friend should be able to start the claim for you if you are incapacitated, using the information you collected.
How to Handle a Car Accident if You Are Visiting West Palm Beach
While much of this advice is similar to the advice for residents, there are some very significant differences if you don’t live in Florida. To begin, it is critical that you inform the car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, at Morgan and Morgan that you are not a resident of the area.
This won’t prevent us from taking your case, but it will affect how we approach it. For example, we will quickly contact the attorneys at our office near where you live so that they are aware of your case and can easily provide you with updates throughout the process. This also lets us know that we need to quickly schedule your initial meeting.
Also, since you likely aren’t familiar with the local hospital system, we can help you navigate the local medical options and get whatever treatment you need before you return home. Exactly like with locals, it is essential that you wait for a medical evaluation before you move around after an accident.
When sharing contact information, be very clear to other drivers that you are visiting, and make sure to provide both your local contact information and contact information for your home. If you fail to share this information, you could be charged with fleeing from the scene of an accident.
Also, because you are likely far from home, you should send the pictures of your contact information to your car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, shortly after you take them. This will provide a backup of that information to ensure it doesn’t get lost during your travels.
There are two possible steps that you can take next. If you are driving your personal vehicle, file a claim with your insurance company, even if you think the other driver was at fault. In Florida, insurance claims are typically covered by the insurance company of the driver, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
Since part of filing a claim is telling the insurance company where the accident occurred, your insurer will be aware that you are in Florida and will know what fault rules apply. You should also ask for contact information for a local insurance agent—if one exists. This could potentially help speed up the claims process.
If you are driving a rental vehicle, before you contact your insurance company, you will want to inform the rental company of the accident. Depending on the contract you have with them, your claim might go through their insurance instead of yours.
They’ll also probably want to arrange for the car to be towed and will likely provide a replacement car for you to drive for the remainder of your trip. Your rental contract requires you to inform the company of any incident, and the sooner you do it, the quicker they can help you.
After speaking with the rental company, file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. If you are using the rental company’s insurance, this may have been done already when you informed them. Even if your claim is going through another insurer, you should also advise your insurance company, in case you later need to make a claim with them as well.
Recovery After an Accident While on a Trip
Recovering after a car accident is usually difficult and stressful. Typically, you visit multiple doctors or have an extended stay at a hospital. Even if you aren’t stuck in a hospital, you may be bedridden for days or even weeks. As rough as that may sound, it can be even worse if you don’t live locally.
The first thing to determine after an accident is whether you can continue with your trip. If your injuries are too severe, you should make immediate arrangements to return home, if it is safe to do so. Typically, you will recover better while at home, surrounded by friends and family, than you would in another state.
It’s unfortunate if you have to end your trip early, but car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, from Morgan and Morgan might be able to get you compensation for costs related to parts of the trip that you missed out on. You should document those costs immediately so your lawyer can add them to your claim.
If your injuries aren’t so bad that you need to end your trip early, then you need to incorporate medical treatment into your schedule. This is usually challenging, especially if you aren’t familiar with local medical options.
West Palm Beach has three major hospitals to choose from: Oakwood Center of the Palm Beaches, Good Samaritan Medical Center, and St. Mary’s Hospital. Those hospitals also have associated urgent care facilities that are the perfect choice for follow-up appointments after your initial hospital visit.
Except for the emergency room visit you may have needed immediately after the accident, you should try to schedule all other medical treatment. This will make it more likely that these visits don’t interfere with your vacation schedule. When scheduling medical procedures, let doctors know that you are not a local and that your time is limited.
You will probably also need to purchase medical equipment or services to assist you during the remainder of your trip. For example, you might need:
- A wheelchair or crutches
- The services of a nurse
- A device that automatically medicates you
- Medical sunglasses
Additionally, you should advise any places you are visiting about the medical accommodations you will need before you arrive. This will give them a chance to adjust for your visit so that you can enjoy it more.
Finally, regardless of how much you want to do something on your trip, don’t push yourself more than your body can handle. For example, if you go water skiing on an injured knee, you could exacerbate the injury. And since you took an unnecessary risk, your attorney won’t be able to get you compensation for treatment for the complications you suffered.
How Car Accident Lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, Can Help You Get Compensation
Since Florida law doesn’t take fault into account, you may be wondering what benefit car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, can even be. However, these legal experts can be incredibly helpful, especially if you want to maximize your compensation after an accident.
The reason you need an attorney is that your car insurance company will do everything possible to pay you as little money as possible. After all, the main way your insurer stays profitable is by denying claims or underpaying the true value of an approved claim.
On the other hand, since many of them work on a contingency fee basis, lawyers make money by maximizing the compensation you receive from insurance companies. So as you can see, your Morgan & Morgan attorney has every incentive to get you as much money as possible and will do everything possible to achieve that goal.
We can start helping you from the moment you first contact our law firm. Even before your initial case evaluation, we can provide advice on how to deal with the police, your insurance company, and the other drivers. We’ll also attempt to schedule that free case evaluation as quickly as possible so that you are armed with our expertise from start to finish.
Once we accept your case, our investigators will gather as much evidence to support your claim as possible. This is important because the insurance company also has investigators that are trying to find reasons to deny your claim or limit your compensation.
Even if you have to leave Florida before the claim process finishes, our attorneys will still be in Florida, pursuing your case. Once all of the evidence has been collected, we will provide it to your insurance company to ensure that it doesn’t unfairly deny your claim.
But the main reason why you need car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, is that once your claim is approved, the insurance company will offer you a settlement. If you aren’t represented by an attorney, this settlement will typically be a fraction of what you deserve.
On the other hand, our experienced attorneys understand the true value of your claim. We will negotiate with the insurance company to get you compensation for:
- All current and future medical bills
- Pre-paid trip expenses for events you missed out on, if applicable
- Lost wages due to missing work
- Assistance services and ongoing therapy
To ensure that you are properly paid for these expenses, we need to document every expense that you incurred due to your accident. This can be a nuisance if you are a visitor to West Palm Beach instead of a resident, but it’s still worth doing because it will result in greater compensation in the long run.
Another part of our job is to estimate your future expenses. This is where we usually get the most pushback from the insurance companies. Your insurer will typically try to use the most conservative estimate to determine your future costs.
Conversely, we will try to accurately determine all upcoming expenses by comparing your injury to similar injuries suffered by past clients. Using the extensive records we have accumulated in over 40 years of practicing law, we can correctly estimate nearly every cost you will face due to your injury.
Once we have calculated that figure, we won’t allow the insurance company to give you a lowball settlement. We will demand fair compensation based on our figures. If the insurer refuses to make a fair offer, we are prepared to go to trial on your behalf to get you the compensation that you are rightfully owed.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can render any number of injuries to your person. For example, thanks to the rapid shift in momentum, one of the most common injuries in any car accident is some form of whiplash.
However, whiplash is far from the only injury you might experience in a car accident. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you could suffer anything from minor bruises to death. Some of the most common serious injuries are:
- Brain trauma (including concussions), usually as a result of whiplash
- Spinal cord or neck damage
- Nerve damage
- Broken, shattered, or crushed limbs
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Permanent scarring
- Second- or third-degree burns
Many of these injuries can lead to a lifetime of treatment and therapy. And due to their severity, there’s a good chance that you will be unable to work for weeks after most of these injuries. The worst injuries may prevent you from ever working again. When you are looking at the lifelong consequences of an accident that wasn’t even your fault, you need enough compensation to support you for the rest of your life.
However, even if you aren’t facing lifelong pain and suffering, that doesn’t mean your injuries won’t require significant money to recover from. For example, a broken leg may only take a few months to heal, but unless you work from home, you could easily be out of work for that entire time.
This is why we believe that there is no such thing as a small case at Morgan and Morgan. When seemingly minor injuries don’t get the treatment they need, they often worsen and end up requiring more extensive and expensive care in the future. If we were willing to settle for less money than you need, it could cost you dearly in the long run.
How to Avoid Accidents in West Palm Beach
While we can usually get you compensation after you suffer an injury in a car accident, it would obviously be better if you didn’t get into a crash in the first place. So whether you are a local or a visitor to West Palm Beach, the following tips can help you avoid accidents in this busy city.
Walk When Possible
The easiest way to avoid getting into a car accident is to not be driving a car in the first place. West Palm Beach is well-designed for foot traffic and has nice weather on most days. If you give yourself a little extra time, you can walk almost anywhere. Just make sure to put on some sunscreen before going out.
If you plan to visit the city, take walking distances into account when choosing a hotel. With a little research, you may be able to visit almost every attraction you’re interested in without ever getting into a car. This could even potentially save you money by making it so you don’t need to rent a car.
Drive in the Morning
A lot of the traffic in West Palm Beach is due to tourists, and as a rule, tourists generally like to sleep in. This means that the roads are usually much less crowded in the morning. Conversely, due to the many nightclubs and restaurants, the roads are usually packed once night falls.
Avoid Okeechobee Blvd
Running through the middle of West Palm Beach, Okeechobee Blvd is one of the most crowded roads in the city. It typically has the most accidents of any street in West Palm Beach, and many of the intersections are well-documented as dangerous. When traveling, tell your GPS to avoid this road if possible.
Morgan & Morgan
Is There Any Charge for the Initial Evaluation and Consultation?
No, we never charge for your first meeting with our car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL. During that meeting, we evaluate the merits of your case and explain your legal options. Even if we don’t decide to accept your case, we won’t charge you for the meeting.
How Much Will Car Accident Lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, From Morgan & Morgan Cost Me?
That depends on whether we can win you money. If we lose the case, no matter how much work we put into it, we won’t charge you any fee for our services.
However, if we win the case, then our fee will be a percentage of the money we can get for you. That means the more money we get you, the more money we earn. This is how you can be confident that we will do everything in our power to get you the most money possible for your case.
Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Do After a Car Accident?
The main thing you should avoid doing is sharing information about the accident on social media. We know this can be challenging, especially if you are on vacation when an accident occurs. You want to let people know what happened and that you’re healthy and safe.
While it’s understandable to want to assure friends and family about your well-being, this could cost you significant amounts of money. For example, if you say that you’re feeling great or publish pictures that suggest you’re completely healthy, the insurance company could use that information to deny your claim.
Instead, if you feel it is necessary to share information on social media, you should provide only the facts of the accident and ask people to contact you directly for more information. That prevents greedy insurance companies from turning your social media accounts against you and limiting the money they eventually have to pay out.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
Your case will only go to trial if you decide you want it to go to trial.
Typically, if the insurance company makes a reasonable offer, we will recommend that you accept it. If the offer is too low, we will advise you to refuse it. However, we can’t force you to act. The final decision of whether or not to go to trial is always yours.
If you choose to take the case to trial, our car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, will fight zealously to win you as high an award as possible. Generally, jury awards are higher than settlement offers. However, if you lose the trial, you win nothing, so since there’s no guarantee that you will win the trial, you might choose to take a lesser offer just to be certain you get paid.
How Long Will I Have to Wait to Get My Money?
If you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, you will typically receive the money within just a few weeks. Sometimes, it takes a few months for a negotiated settlement to get paid, but this is uncommon.
However, if the case goes to trial, you should be prepared to wait a long time to receive money. Most trials take at least a year to complete, and some may take multiple years before all appeals have been exhausted. And unfortunately, until the appeals are done, you won’t be paid a dime.
What Should I Do if the Other Driver Flees the Scene of the Accident?
Other than reporting the hit-and-run to the police, you don’t need to do anything. Florida is a no-fault state, which means your insurance will pay you compensation, regardless of whether the other driver fled or not.
Can I Have My Lawyer Present When I Give a Statement to the Police?
The police might not ask you for a statement, but if they do, you always have the right to be represented by counsel while providing a statement. If you don’t feel ready to provide a statement while at the scene of the accident, give the police your contact information and schedule a meeting to give a statement when your lawyer will be present.
Where Can I Get Help With Medical Bills Before I Receive Compensation?
If medical bills are piling up before you’ve received your compensation, the car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL, at Morgan & Morgan can help by sending a letter of intent to your creditors.
A letter of intent legally informs your creditors that you have taken legal steps to get compensation for your injuries and that you intend to pay your bills as soon as you get the money. Usually, this will result in your creditors halting bill collection until your case is complete.
Is It Legal for Me to Leave Town if My Claim Is Still Pending?
We get this question a lot from people who get into a car accident while on vacation. They worry that if they leave West Palm Beach before their claim has been completed, they will either get into legal trouble or won’t get paid compensation. Thankfully, neither is true.
If you need to return home for any reason—including the scheduled end of your vacation—all you need to do is tell your attorney. We will inform the insurance company and authorities if necessary and provide them with your new contact information. As long as you can still be reached in some way, it doesn’t matter whether you are physically present.
Morgan and Morgan Helps Clients Like You Get Fair Compensation From Insurance Companies
Every day, we meet new clients that are in distress. They’ve gotten into an accident, possibly in a city far from home, and they’re terrified about how they will pay for medical bills. Their insurance company, which they thought would help them, has either denied their claim or is offering them a minute amount in compensation.
At Morgan & Morgan, we refuse to let you be abused by the greed of your insurance company. We will fight fiercely to ensure that you get every dime you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn about your legal options.