Boca Raton Personal Injury and Accident FAQs

Below are some of the most common initial questions our clients have about their personal injury or accident cases. We are always adding new questions as they arise, so we may not address your particular issue.

If you have a question that’s unique to your car accident, truck accident, or medical malpractice case, you can request a free consultation by calling us directly at (561)372-3800 or by submitting the confidential form below. 

Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption coverage is a particularly complex area of insurance law. But one thing is simple: Insurance companies are beholden above all to their bottom lines, and they will use any excuse to deny your claim. 

For this reason it’s important to understand some of the reasons that might give for denying or delaying payment of your business interruption insurance claims. Reviewing the language of your specific policy will be the first step in the process.

Physical Damage Standard

To begin with, in some cases the courts have held that business interruption coverage only applies if there has been physical damage to the premises. During most natural disasters (e.g. hurricanes), this standard seems reasonable.

However, the current coronavirus pandemic, which is no less a disaster, isn’t causing physical damage to storefronts. As such, there are questions about when or even if interruption caused by coronavirus will qualify as physical damage. This issue is by no means settled, but insurance companies will use it as an argument against paying you.

Excluded Damages

A more underhanded means to avoid paying out a business interruption insurance claim could be hidden deep inside your current policy. After the 2003 SARS outbreak, some commercial insurance policies began to include clauses that explicitly excluded damages caused by biological and microbial agents.

If you read your policy closely, you might see clauses stating that you aren’t covered for losses caused by “bacteria” or losses caused by “a virus or bacteria.” The good news is that an experienced lawyer can use these language nuances against an insurance company (e.g. a bacterium and a virus are not the same thing). Because the exact wording of your policy is critical in these instances it’s important to speak with an attorney who can carefully review your policy.

If your company has been hurt by a natural disaster or the current coronavirus pandemic, your business interruption insurance policy might be your path to recovering some of your economic losses. Call the Personal Injury & Accident Law Center today at (561)372-3800 for a free insurance policy review.

Your commercial insurance policy should have “business interruption coverage” that covers you for revenues that are lost due to forced or unforeseen closures. Business interruption insurance is designed to offer financial protection to companies that have suffered a loss of income as a result of a disaster. 

In the Sunshine State, these disasters are more often than not natural disasters: hurricanes, floods, or windstorms. However, the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the current COVID-19 pandemic are also instances in which businesses have been forced to close and suffer economic losses.

The standard formula for determining the value of a business interruption insurance claim is:

Operating Costs + Net Profits + Approved Add’l Costs.

The numbers are calculated for a specific timeframe during which the disaster was ongoing. For natural disasters, these timeframes are fairly easy to compute. The ongoing battle with the coronavirus pandemic may prove to be more difficult. Business owners and insurance companies will definitely disagree on the extent of the damage.

Insurance companies are loath to shell out money for your claims, and they will use any excuse to deny you, so the more meticulously catalogued the costs the better. Having an experienced insurance lawyer review your policy can increase your chance of a successful business interruption insurance claim.

Our firm can help you assess and file your business interruption insurance claim. Especially if your business has been hurt by the COVID-19 outbreak, you should get advice from a qualified attorney. Call us at (561)372-3800.

Car Accidents

Unfortunately, if you drive with any regularity, it’s a near statistical certainty that you will be in a car accident at some point. With over 1,000 car crashes taking place on Florida roads every day, drivers should know these five critical Florida car accident laws.

1. Report Car Accidents with Over $500 in Damages 

Any driver involved in a car or motor vehicle collision is required by law to stop at the scene of the accident. More importantly, Florida law (§316.065, F.S.) also requires drivers to report the accident to law enforcement if injuries or damages “appear to exceed” $500. If anyone is injured, you have to stay at the scene of the accident, and you must also exchange information (e.g. name, address, vehicle registration) with all parties involved.

2. Florida Is a No-Fault Insurance State

As one of only a handful of “no-fault” insurance states in the county, Florida law requires drivers who have been in an accident to turn first to their own insurance plans to pay for their repairs and recovery costs—regardless of who is responsible for the accident! These “no-fault” insurance plans are also referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage. If an accident causes more damage or injuries than a driver’s insurance policy covers, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed to seek additional damages.

3. $10k Minimums for PIP and PDL

Before registering a vehicle, Florida law requires all drivers to show proof of an auto insurance policy with a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage. Again, should a car accident occur, each person would turn to their individual PIP coverage first. PIP coverage pays:

  • 80% of crash-related medical bills up to the policy limit,
  • 60% of lost wages if the injured person cannot work,
  • $5,000 in death benefits, in addition to the benefits provided under the policy.

To further complicate matters, if you do not have an “emergency medical condition,” PIP will not pay out more than $2,500 in benefits.

4. Pure Comparative Liability Principle

There is no hard and fast way by which is asssign fault in a car accident. In fact, each state has its own laws regarding how liability is assessed and determined.

Florida operates according to the principle of “pure comparative fault” for assigning responsibility in an accident. Under this system, both parties in the accident essentially share fault or liability. For example, if one driver makes an aggressive left turn in front of an oncoming driver who was speeding, there will be a discussion of what percentage of the fault to assign to each driver. These percentages of liability will then directly determine the amount of damages recoverable by each party.

5. Four-Year Statute of Limitations

If you are injured by a negligent driver, you are allowed by Florida law to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek damages. However, such personal injury claims must be filed within a specific time frame. In general, the Florida statute of limitations for car, truck, and motorcycle accident cases is four years from the date of the accident. However, the statute of limitations for seeking medical attention is only fourteen days. And PIP will not cover any medical bills if you do not seek treatment within 14 days of the accident.

Get Help and Start to Recover

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in South Florida, you need to seek out an experienced Florida car accident and injury lawyer who will guide you through the claims process.

The personal injury lawyers here at Personal Injury & Accident Law Center would love to speak to you about your case and tell you how we can help you get on the path to recovery. Call us today at (561)372-3800 to schedule a free case evaluation or fill out the confidential form below.

Most car accidents are not “accidents.” Instead they are caused by a range of factors often attributable to another driver’s negligence. If you’ve been in a car accident in Florida, it was likely caused by one of these 6 factors.

1. Distracted Driving

Distractions come in three types: visual, manual, and cognitive, which means distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or mind off driving. Drivers who are texting or talking on cell phones, adjusting the radio, eating and drinking, putting on makeup, or interacting with other passengers can he held liable for damages caused by their negligent behavior. Even at 50 mph, a focused driver will need roughly the length of a football field to come to a complete stop.

2. Aggressive Driving

Aggressive drivers make the roads less safe for everyone by their risky behavior. You can identify aggressive drivers by their excessive speeding, tailgating, quick and unannounced lane changes, “rolling stops,” or just general disregard for the rules of road and the other drivers. This dangerous driving style, together with even minor distractions, can cause tragic accidents.

3. Drunk or Impaired Driving

Drunk driving is one of the top causes of road fatalities in Florida and it is entirely avoidable. On top of that, there is a growing threat posed by drivers who are impaired by drugs and prescription medications. In fact, traffic stops for impaired driving have outpaced DUI stops recently. Impaired drivers can be on the road at any hour of the day since many drivers who are pulled over taking doctor-prescribed medications. However, these drivers are no less dangerous than someone who has been drinking.

Drunk or impaired driving accounts for a disproportionate number of fatalities each year. In 2019, Florida had:

  • 379 impaired driving crashes
  • 307 impaired driving fatalities

That is an 81% fatality rate!

4. Hazardous Roads

Occasionally, car accidents are caused by unsafe conditions of the roads themselves. Potholes and uneven pavement, poorly designed shoulders or exits, or improperly maintained road safety measures can all contribute to car crashes. In these instances, state and local government entities, property management companies, and private businesses can sometimes be held liable for the damages.

5. Weather Conditions

Anyone who lives in the “Sunshine” state knows that the sky can go from clear and blue to grey and rainy at the drop of a hat, especially during hurricane season. When sudden downpours or more violent storms pass through, they create acutely hazardous road conditions. High winds and rain can decrease visibility and control and increase the likelihood of a car accident, especially on crowded highways and interstates.

6. Improper Vehicle Maintenance

Regular oil changes help keep a car’s engine running smoothly. The same is true of other critical components of a car’s mechanical skeleton. Florida does not have state-required car safety inspections, but cars need regular maintenance to ensure they work properly and can be driven safely. If drivers choose to drive with bad brakes, worn down tire treads, or poor windshield wipers, they can be held liable for accidents caused by their failure to maintain a car’s essential safety measures.

Get Help and Start to Recover

Whether your car accident was caused by one of these common factors or something else, you need to seek out an experienced Florida car accident and injury lawyer who will guide you through the claims process.

The personal injury lawyers here at Personal Injury & Accident Law Center would love to speak to you about your case and tell you how we can help you get on the path to recovery. Call us today at (561)372-3800 to schedule a free case evaluation or fill out the confidential form below.

Regardless of what causes a car accident or how severe the damage to the vehicles, drivers and passengers can suffer an array of bodily and emotional injuries. While some car accident victims are lucky enough to escape with only minor aches and pains, others sustain life-altering injuries.

These are the 4 most common types of car accident injuries we see in Florida car accident victims.

1. Neck and Back Injuries

The rapid deceleration caused when two cars collide can wreak havoc on the bodies of drivers and passengers. One of the most common injuries sustained is whiplash. The sudden and violent jerking movements can damage vertebrae, ligaments, or discs. Minor whiplash can simply cause neck pain and stiffness, but more severe cases can lead to longer-term effects such as blurred vision, headaches, memory problems, and depression.

Neck and back injuries are much more common in read-end collisions.

2. Head and Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions are some of the most serious and overlooked car accident injuries. Concussions are caused by the head smashing against a part of the vehicle itself such as the airbag, headrest, or steering wheel. The short-term effects of TBIs include nausea and vomiting, numbness, or blurred vision. But TBI can cause long-term damage as well such as chronic headaches, depression, behavioral changes, and seizures. While TBI symptoms may occur immediately, they could also take days to manifest. Therefore, we recommend that anyone who has had head trauma in a car accident should seek medical attention immediately to assess the damage. Medical treatment for brain injuries is complicated and costly, it is critical to have secure records to detail the impact of the injury on your life and wellbeing.

Head-on collisions are particularly likely to cause brain and head trauma.

3. Bone Fractures and Tissue Damage

The sheer force involved in a high-speed collision is enough to fracture bones and tear muscles and ligaments. Simple bone fractures can take months to heal and result in lost wages. Multiple or complex fractures, muscle tears, and ligament damage often require surgery and extensive physical therapy, which will be a more significant financial burden on you and your family.

Your chances of suffering serious bone fractures or ligament damage increase significantly in head-on collisions, sideswipe or “T-bone” crashes, and in high-speed accidents.

4. Psychological and Emotional Injuries

Unless you have suffered a serious car accident before, you may not fully appreciate the range of psychological and emotional effects such an experience can have on a person, especially children and young adults. In fact, a recent meta-analysis of previous studies concluded that over 22% of car crash survivors develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These psychological harms won’t be immediately obvious like cuts or fractures; they may take days or weeks to manifest. And you can be sure the insurance company or at-fault driver will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying for such damages.

Any type or severity of car accident can psychologically scar a victim.

Get Help and Start to Recover

If you have suffered any of these four common car accident injuries or some other injury in your car accident, you need to seek out an experienced Florida accident and injury attorney who will guide you through the claims process.

The personal injury lawyers here at Personal Injury & Accident Law Center would love to speak to you about your case and tell you how we can help you get on the path to recovery. Call us today at (561)372-3800 to schedule a free case evaluation.

In July 2019, Florida passed The Wireless Communications While Driving Law (Florida Statutes 316.305), which made “texting” (e.g. text messaging, emails, and social media apps) while driving a primary traffic offense.

Not only will having fewer distracted drivers make Florida’s roads safer for everyone, but the new texting and driving law will also affect negligence and liability assignments in car and motor vehicle accident claims.

Florida’s Comparative Liability Standard

In some cases, determining driver fault and negligence is clear-cut. But more often, it isn’t so simple. Drivers should know that Florida operates according to the principle of comparative liability. Under the comparative liability system, both parties in the accident essentially share fault. For example, if one driver makes an aggressive left turn in front of an oncoming driver who was speeding, there will be a discussion of what percentage of the fault to assign to each driver. These percentages of fault will directly determine the amount of damages recoverable by each party.

As such, shifting the liability onto the other driver is important to increase the amount of compensation you can recover. To do that, though, you must prove the defendant acted in a negligent manner. A personal injury attorney can benefit you by marshalling facts to prove that you bear a smaller percentage of fault (i.e. less comparative liability) and deserve a larger percentage of compensation.

Proof of Negligence

In particular, the new texting and driving law includes a provision (F.S. §316.305(3)(d)) stating that cell phone billing records can be used as evidence to show that the driver violated the new law in the event of an accident that results in death or personal injury. This provides your personal injury lawyer with another tool to prove the other party’s liability in your car accident case.

Navigating the Florida liability laws and assigning negligence in a car accident can be tricky. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your case is a sensible move because they are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and—importantly—in building legal cases.

The Personal Injury & Accident Law Center offers free case evaluations for car accident victims so you can feel confident that you’re getting the legal counsel you deserve. You can call us at (561)372-3800 or fill out the confidential form below to speak a team member about your car accident case.

In July 2019, Florida passed The Wireless Communications While Driving Law (Florida Statutes 316.305), which made texting while driving a primary traffic offense. This new law allows law enforcement officers to pull over and ticket drivers specifically for texting while behind the wheel. Previously, drivers could only be ticketed for texting if they were pulled over for another violation first, e.g. speeding.

The primary reason for the new law is combat distracted driving. In fact, a 2016 study ranked Florida as the second worst state for distracted driving. That same year distracted drivers in Florida caused nearly 50,000 accidents, 233 of which resulted in death.

Because texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive distraction, reducing such distractions will:

  • Increase the safety of all drivers, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other people using the roads.
  • Decrease the injuries, deaths, property damage, medical costs, and insurance rate increases that result from car and truck accidents.

The new law specifically prohibits operating a motor vehicle while “manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device.” So, “texting” includes email, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media apps.

However, the new law does not apply in two important situations. First, devices used for navigation are exempt from the law, both smartphones and built-in navigation systems. Second, drivers are allowed to text while vehicles are “stationary,” which includes being stopped red lights or stop signs.

If you’ve been in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, it is still a sensible move to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your case. A personal injury attorney can benefit you by proving that you bear a smaller percentage of fault and deserve a larger percentage of compensation. You can call us at (561)372-3800 or fill out the confidential form below to speak a team member about your car accident case.

Yes. You have nothing to lose by seeing a doctor after a car accident and everything to gain.

Health Risks

First, one of the biggest mistakes car accident victims make after an accident is self-diagnosing headaches, blurred vision, and other problems as stress induced. Dealing with insurance companies, police reports, and car repairs is enough to make anyone feel run down, but sometimes these various aches and pains are signs of more serious injuries. You could have a traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, or even internal bleeding that self-diagnosis will miss.

Legal Risks

Second, from a legal standpoint, Florida has specific laws that govern how long car accident victims have to seek medical care after an accident, if those injuries are to be covered by an insurance policy.

Under Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) law (Florida Statute 627.736), you have 14 days to see a doctor after an accident if you want to receive compensation for your medical expenses or other damages. If you do not get medical treatment for your car accident injuries within the 14-day window, the insurance company may deny your accident claim.

Additionally, if you plan on filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in the accident, medical records detailing your injuries, diagnosis, treatment regimen, and medical costs will act as some of the most important forms of evidence in your injury case. All of this will have a significant impact on your ability to collect compensation.

Once you’ve seen a medical professional about your car accident injuries, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss the next steps. Seeking legal representation for personal injury claims can help ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation.

The Personal Injury & Accident Law Center offers free case evaluations for car accident victims so you can feel confident that you’re getting the legal counsel you deserve. You can call us at (561)372-3800 or fill out the confidential form below to speak a team member about your car accident case.

If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident that was caused by a negligent driver, Florida law states that you may be able to seek financial compensation from the at-fault party. However, an injured party must file a personal injury lawsuit within a specific time frame or their right to file the injury claim “expires.”

These expiration dates are known as “statutes of limitations,” and it’s critical that you be aware of what time limitations apply to your particular case and take the right steps at the right time to successfully recover the compensation you deserve. Failing to file your lawsuit on time could result in your injury claim being rejected by a judge, regardless of the proof you have.

In general, the Florida statute of limitations for car, truck, and motorcycle accident cases is four years from the date of the accident. However, wrongful death plaintiffs only have two years to file a lawsuit in Florida, including accidental deaths due to car, truck, and motorcycle crashes. Because the stakes are so high, it is always in your best interest to speak to a qualified personal injury and accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Your window to get compensated for your losses is closing. Call us at (561)372-3800 to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.

Personal Injury

Attorneys have the option to use three primary fee arrangements: hourly rate, fixed fee, and contingency fee. The first two fee arrangements require the client to pay money to the attorney either up front (fixed fee) or on an ongoing basis (hourly rate).

Most personal injury attorneys, however, including the Personal Injury & Accident Law Center, exclusively bill on a contingency fee basis. Basically, this means that our clients are not charged attorneys’ fees unless they recover money—either from a settlement, judgment, or jury verdict. The contingency fee arrangement benefits injured clients by removing the financial barrier to bringing a personal injury lawsuit, which could disincentivize some seriously injured parties from seeking the legal help and monetary recovery they deserve.

Contingency Fee Amounts

The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct has policies limiting the size and scope of contingency fees. That being said, the contingency fees charged by most personal injury lawyers are:

  • 33.3% for cases that settle before a lawsuit is filed
  • 40% for cases after a lawsuit is filed.

Because attorneys’ fees are contingent on your recovery, your personal injury lawyer has a tremendous incentive to work hard on your case and obtain a favorable settlement or jury verdict. Costs may still be owed, however, which could include filing fees, court costs, and administrative expenses that were incurred.

If 30–40% seems high, remember that you will not be involved in the majority of the work required to investigate, prepare, negotiate, and manage your case. According to a 2013 study by the Court Statistics Project, attorneys devoted 196 hours to an average car accident case and 472 hours to an average professional malpractice case. (If lawyers were to charge an hourly billing rate, let’s say $300, that 196 hours would cost a client $58,000!)

This is why we offer free case evaluations to potential clients. It’s essential that we review the general aspects of your case and discuss your legal options up front.

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