According to studies, Americans spend an average of 294 hours driving in their car every year. This equates to over seven 40-hour work weeks per year that a person spends in a car. Based on these statistics, the auto insurance industry estimates you will be involved in a collision that results in an insurance claim every 17.9 years. On average, there’s a good chance you will be involved in a car accident three to four times in your lifetime.
Car accidents can happen anywhere. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies these car accidents and has reported that regardless of the circumstances or weather conditions, the vast majority of car accidents occur within 25 miles of the drivers’ homes.
Anyone that has ever been involved in an accident knows that gut-clenching feeling at impact. Your heart immediately races as you try to gather your bearings and process what just happened. Your mind starts spinning and you’re not sure what to do. These matters are only complicated when you’re injured as a result of the accident.
Car accident in Jupiter, Florida
The town of Jupiter is a family-friendly community that is one of the fastest-growing cities in Palm Beach County. Jupiter has become a hub for boating and water sports, dining on the water, major league baseball, and the iconic Jupiter lighthouse. All of these attractions have increased traffic and congestion along Indiantown Road and U.S. Highway 1. The increase in traffic leads to an increase in car accidents.
The law does not change no matter where your car accident occurs in the state of Florida. However, there are some slight nuances that change depending on where your accident occur that your car accident lawyer should know.
If your car accident occurred in Jupiter, then the responding police department to the scene of the accident will be either the Jupiter Police Department, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, or the Florida Highway Patrol. The difference between the responding police agency is important to know because each one has different video recording capabilities. For example, in some agencies all the officers have body worn cameras. These cameras capture the officer’s interactions with witnesses, the scene of the accident and the location of the vehicles. Other agencies, such as the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, only have in car dash cameras in some patrol cars. Your attorney needs to request and preserve these videos. Any delay or hesitation can result in the videos being recorded over or lost by the police departments. Unfortunately, this tends to happen more frequently than it should.
Most of the car accidents in Jupiter will be investigated by the Jupiter Police Department. If your car accident lawyer knows and has a relationship with the local police department and officers, then the lawyers can openly speak with the officers about the case and their investigation. At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh we are a Jupiter-based law firm with deep roots in the Jupiter community. We are regularly involved in functions with the Jupiter Police Department and the Jupiter Police Foundation. Our community involvement has allowed our lawyers to get to know the Jupiter police officers and vice versa.
Another slight difference of a car accident in Jupiter is where an injured party will be transported by ambulance. Except for traumatic injuries, injured parties will be transported to the Jupiter Medical Center. We regularly work with the Jupiter Medical Center and are familiar with their policies and procedures. This helps obtain your necessary medical records quicker. More importantly, if there is an issue with your medical bills from the Jupiter Medical Center, we know who to contact and how to handle these issues to maximize recovery for your car accident.
The other nuance of a Jupiter car accident is that if the at-fault driver is cited by the police with a traffic ticket, any court hearing for the traffic ticket will occur at the Palm Beach Gardens Courthouse. Our law firm can closely monitor these hearings as the courthouse is just down the street from our Jupiter office. If the at-fault driver contests the ticket and testifies, we can capture this testimony and use it to our advantage in the car accident case.
I WAS JUST IN A CAR ACCIDENT. WHAT NOW?
- Call the police and obtain a police report. This is a crucial step to document important facts about the accident. Details like the date, time, location, weather and roadway conditions, vehicle descriptions (make, model, year, and color), vehicular damage, injury, and any eye witnesses should be recorded immediately. Take pictures of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved. Make sure to get names of insurance companies and policy numbers of everyone involved in the accident.
- Safely move your vehicle from the roadway. If the accident is minor, and you can drive your vehicle, move it out of the lanes of travel to a safe location.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after an auto accident to document your injuries. Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 627.736, “an insurance policy will pay eighty percent of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary medical… if the individual receives initial services and care pursuant to subparagraph 1. within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident.”
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. It is necessary to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to assist you through the legal process. A personal injury attorney will be able to answer all of your questions and handle your claim from start to finish, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.
WHO PAYS MY MEDICAL BILLS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Ultimately, you are responsible for paying your medical bills. If the at-fault party has auto insurance and has bodily injury liability on their policy, you may be able to make a recovery to cover your medical bills. Your medical bills will be paid out of the proceeds of any settlement you receive. However, Florida is one of only two states that does not require bodily injury liability insurance coverage. If there is no bodily injury coverage available, you may be able to make a recovery against your own auto insurance carrier to pay your medical bills if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your policy.
I WAS IN A CAR ACCIDENT, BUT I DON'T HAVE CAR INSURANCE. WHO WILL PAY MY MEDICAL BILLS?
If you were involved in a car accident in your own car and you don’t have auto insurance, it’s okay. If you have health insurance, health insurance may cover your medical bills.
If you were involved in a car accident in someone else’s car and you don’t own your own car and also don’t have your own auto insurance, then you can get Personal Injury Protection benefits through the vehicle owner’s auto insurance carrier.
I WAS IN A CAR ACCIDENT. WHO WILL PAY TO FIX MY CAR?
If you were not at fault for the accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will pay to fix your car. If the at-fault party does not have insurance, your own insurance company may be responsible to pay for the damage if you have collision coverage on your policy.
I WAS Injured IN A CAR ACCIDENT, BUT I Don't HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
When you are injured and a car accident and do not have health insurance, the thought of expensive medical bills can be daunting. Do not let this deter you from seeking the proper medical treatment that you need. If you have auto insurance, Personal Injury Protection as mentioned above covers the first $10,000.00 of medical bills. For medical bills above this amount, an attorney can create a letter of protection with a medical treatment provider. This means that the treatment provider agrees to accept payment upon a recovery of your car accident case. This allows you to focus on your health and well being without the worry of a pending medical bill.
SHOULD I HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT ME FOR MY CAR ACCIDENT?
Yes. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to guide you through the entire process from making a claim to settling your claim, allowing you to focus on what matters—getting better. Your attorney will investigate your claim, obtain all official emergency reports, inspect the scene of the accident, take witness statements, gather your medical records and bills, communicate with all insurance companies involved, and give you legal advice to help you make the best decisions for your future.
An experienced car accident attorney can be the difference in whether you make a financial recovery in cases where there is disputed liability. In other words, where an accident occurs and more than one person may be at fault in causing a car accident a skilled attorney can illustrate the party that is more at fault for causing the accident. If is a common occurrence for an insurance company to deny that their insured(driver) was at fault only to reverse course once an attorney is involved and later settle the case for money. Often times, insurance companies base their decisions in car accident cases the belief that most an unrepresented person will not contact an attorney.
Insurance companies will even attempt deny coverage in some circumstances. However, insurance companies have to follow regulations required by statutes. A car accident attorney can carefully examine these requirements and force the insurance company to provide coverage even after an initial denial. It is important to remember that just because an insurance company tells you one thing, it does not mean that it is accurate or that they are treating you justly. Insurance companies are in the business of saving money on claims, not paying out claims fully and fairly.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?
Attorneys in the state of Florida are governed by the Florida Bar Association. Rule 4-1.5, Fees and Costs for Legal Services outlines the types of fees that attorneys can charge. Personal injury attorneys work on a “contingency fee” agreement, meaning you don’t owe your attorney a dime unless they make a recovery for you.
WHY SHOULD I HIRE A JUPITER CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER?
As discussed above there are nuances in your case that a Jupiter car accident lawyer will have a little more experience handling. The most important reason to hire a Jupiter car accident lawyer is because of their community involvement. We know where to go obtain surveillance videos. We know where there are dangerous intersections that contribute to car accidents. Any time you are involved in a legal dispute such as a car accident, you should want any advantage you can get in this adversarial process. The little advantages that a local Jupiter law firm can provide can be the difference-maker in your case.
At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we pride ourselves in being involved in the community and giving back. When we opened our law firm, our goal was to be the go-to law firm in Jupiter. We want to provide the best representation and fight for the rights of Jupiter residents. It is the individual residents that make up the Jupiter community. By helping individuals through their struggles and problems we are making the Jupiter community better and stronger.