After a West Palm Beach accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have been unfairly impacted by damages related to your accident injuries. If your health, financial stability, or quality of life have been compromised in an accident caused by someone else’s reckless or careless behavior, you can seek compensation for damages in a personal injury claim.
In the midst of a painful recovery from accident injuries that strain your finances, the last thing you need to worry about is the risk of jeopardizing the value of a potential settlement. You can safeguard your ability to recover damages by obtaining an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer.
KMW Legal Can Help With Your Personal Injury Claim
At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we have spent the past decade leveraging our hard-earned experience to reliably recover fair settlements for our personal injury clients. Our exceptional legal services are distinguished by our relentless work ethic and consistent ability to deliver beyond expectations in the form of maximum damages.
Unlike many personal injury lawyers, our founding partners have prior trial experience that gives us the edge when it comes to pursuing a fair settlement at trial that encompasses costs like medical expenses, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, and mental anguish.
Reach out to our team today to schedule a free strategy session with our West Palm Beach team to discuss the steps of constructing a strong personal injury claim and the types of damages you may be entitled to recover.
When Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
The goal of a personal injury lawsuit is to recover compensatory damages from a liable party or parties that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. In order to do so, your lawyer must first determine and then prove liability. The first step is to use the available evidence to substantiate that you, as the injured party, were owed a duty of care.
The Relationship Between Duty of Care and Liability
In personal injury lawsuits, an allegation of negligence alone is insufficient to reclaim compensation. Your lawyer must also show that the negligent party- most commonly a property owner, manufacturer, another driver, healthcare worker, or government department- owed you a duty of care and failed to fulfill it.
A duty of care is defined as the obligation to act towards certain categories of people and the public at large with the level of attention and conscientiousness that a reasonable person would use under comparable conditions. The failure to satisfy this responsibility is referred to as a breach of duty in personal injury law. Together, these concepts lay the foundation for pursuing damages in a personal injury lawsuit by establishing liability.
Connecting Links in the Chain of Causation
After liability is demonstrated, a personal injury lawyer must then draw a clear causal line between the liable party’s breach of duty and the incident that caused the injury. Then, it must be connected to the resulting damages claimed. When filing a personal injury lawsuit, the injuries and damages claimed must be attributable to the accident caused by the breach of duty.
What Are the Types of Personal Injury Claims?
The type of personal injury claim you file will be influenced by the relationship between you and the negligent party, the circumstances of the accident, and the type of damages you are seeking.
Even within a particular category of personal injury claim, there may be multiple parties who are at fault and require separate lawsuits to recover damages, such as in a multi-car pile-up. A skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to help you navigate a claim involving multiple liability parties.
Common types of West Palm Beach personal injury claims:
- Car Accidents
- Construction Site Accidents
- Rideshare Accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Train Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Slip/Trip and Falls
- Medical Malpractice
- Wrongful Death
- Nursing Home Negligence
- Negligent Security
- Dog/Animal Bites
What are Common Personal Injuries?
Accidents can cause injuries that range in severity from minor cuts and bruises to disfiguring burns or paralysis from a severed spinal cord. The trauma of the accident and the recovery from physical injuries can also manifest into mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety.
Examples of common injuries claimed in a personal injury lawsuit:
- Brain Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Organ Damage
- Fractured or Broken Bones
- Deep Lacerations
- Severe Burns
- Crush Injuries
- Whiplash injuries
The consequences of sustaining an injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence often go beyond the surface level. Treatment for injuries can set off a chain reaction of complications, cause pain and suffering, and completely disrupt daily routines.
You may never completely regain your prior senses or abilities, which can impact your self-image and long-term career prospects. A personal injury attorney will be able to review your medical records and expected recovery to project the costs of future treatments and accommodations you will require.
What Do I Do After Being Injured By Someone Else’s Negligence?
Your first priority should be to seek medical assistance once you are out of harm’s way. This has the dual benefits of making sure your injuries are identified before they deteriorate and protecting your right to pursue compensation for the costs of care. If you didn’t seek treatment for your injuries, an insurance company would likely pounce on that fact as an indication that you are exaggerating your injuries, which could result in a lower settlement payout for you.
Report Your Accident and Personal Injury
Regardless of how minor you think your injuries may be, you should report your accident before the evidence is destroyed or key details are forgotten. Weather conditions may wash away evidence, new construction may change the landscape where the accident occurred, and spills can be cleaned up, erasing the proof of negligence.
In the aftermath of an accident, witnesses can be prone to fumbling details or confusing timelines. Your own memory may omit facts that are important to demonstrating liability. That is why it is critical to have another party, such as law enforcement, maintain a record of events that can be referenced at a later date.
Keep a Record of the Accident and Your Injuries
If possible, you should obtain your own pictures and video of the scene for your lawyer to review. We recommend keeping a folder of witnesses’ contact information, an outline of events, medical records, receipts for repairs or treatment, pain journals, and any communication with bill collectors or insurance companies. If you speak with a bill collector or representative from an insurance company, take notes about the call, including the time and date.
Never Admit Fault After Suffering a Personal Injury
Do not preemptively take responsibility for the accident, even if you believe it was partially your fault. There are many conditions that go into determining liability in an accident resulting in a personal injury, and personal injury lawyers are one of the few parties qualified to make that call.
Never engage in speculation about the accident or the extent of your injuries, even with bystanders or other injured parties. Even something as seemingly innocuous as “I’m sorry” can be used as an omission of fault. When it comes time to settle, an insurance company won’t hesitate to use it against you. You also want to avoid giving other insurance companies any statement before consulting your own personal injury lawyer, otherwise, you may compromise your ability to reclaim damages.
Chose a Respected Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent You
If you have cause to believe that your injuries were the direct result of negligence, seek out a personal injury lawyer with the resources and knowledge to handle your case. Don’t just take their word, or their advertisements, as truth. They should offer a list of references from former clients that can attest to their ability to consistently recover maximum compensation. You should also be briefed on what to expect in terms of the services they offer, the process of filing a personal injury claim, and the potential settlement outcomes.
What is the Process of a Personal Injury Claim?
If you are seeking damages in a personal injury lawsuit after being injured in an accident caused by negligence, you can expect the process will generally follow the steps.
- File a claim for personal injury: During this initial action, your lawyer issues a notice to the negligent party and their insurance carrier that you intend to recover your damages in a personal injury lawsuit. They will also indicate their intent to represent you and request insurance information in a letter of representation, giving the other side a point of contact for your claim.
- Issue a letter of Demand prior to formally filing a lawsuit: A letter of demand spells out your injuries, the treatments you have undergone, and a summary of past and anticipated costs of care. It also identifies the negligent party’s liability in the claim, which is understood as their exposure as a result of their breach of duty.
- Settlement Negotiation: Your lawyer will bargain with representatives from the insurance company to try and come to a consensus on a fair settlement figure.
- File a Lawsuit: After failing to come to a compromise between what the injured client is requesting in compensation and what the negligent party’s representatives are willing to agree to payout, the next option for the injured client is to file a Complaint.
- Discovery: During the discovery stage of a personal injury lawsuit, the representatives for the injured party and the negligent party collect evidence to support their positions. Injured clients should be prepared to write a formal statement that outlines the chronology of events, the circumstances of the accident, and a description of their injuries. They will also be asked to answer questions in a deposition and be assessed by a medical professional to verify their injuries.
- Mediation: Following the collection of evidence used to establish events, representatives and the parties they represent convene to once again attempt to agree on a fair settlement. A third party with no vested interest in the outcome will act as a referee while both parties attempt to resolve the settlement dispute. Most personal injury cases don’t get this far and are settled prior to trial.
- Trial: If the two parties are unable to come to a resolution through mediation or arbitration, a personal injury lawsuit will move on to trial. Fact finders, like a judge or jury, will analyze the evidence presented to them and make a determination on what the value of the settlement should be.
Who Pays for Personal Injury Medical Bills and Lost Wages?
In most Florida accidents involving drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, you will be able to collect compensation from your Personal Injury Protection insurance, regardless of fault. These benefits are limited in that they only apply to $10,000 worth of medical bills and a portion of lost wages.
Once your PIP benefits and health insurance are applied, you may still have remaining expenses. In cases of severe injuries, it’s not uncommon for medical debt and lost wages to exceed the bounds of the injured party’s insurance, to say nothing of invisible costs like emotional distress or persistent pain.
What Happens After My Insurance Kicks In?
To offset the additional expenses you have acquired as a result of someone else’s negligence, you can seek compensatory damages from the liable party in a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, you won’t collect a settlement directly from the negligent party, like the drunk driver who hit you. Instead, as the injured party, your lawyer will negotiate with the negligent party’s insurance carrier, who will pay out the settlement.
In some cases, negligent parties are forced to pay for an injured party’s damages when they have the resources to do so and their insurance is inadequate. This most often applies to large companies or other wealthy parties facing accusations of gross negligence.
How Much Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The amount you recover in a settlement is determined by several variables. Settlements are not one-size-fits-all because injuries can have different ramifications based on the person’s prior lifestyle, occupation, and responsibilities. A mother who is the sole caregiver for her wheelchair-bound child or a construction worker would incur a different level of disruption from a broken arm than most office workers. A skilled personal injury lawyer will ensure that these differences are acknowledged in the settlement.
The negligent party’s insurance company will deploy an agent to assess your claim, including the task of validating the extent and impact of your injuries. It’s not their goal to compensate you fully for all of your damages but instead to compensate you only as much as they are legally obligated to so they can turn a profit.
To combat this agenda, you’ll need a personal injury lawyer you can trust to protect your right to receive compensation for your injuries. At KMW Legal, we have a track record of securing our clients the fair settlements they are entitled to.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
After a serious accident, most people consider themselves fortunate to walk away with relatively insignificant injuries. However, an injury like a broken bone can mean more than a cumbersome cast. You may have to take time off work for additional doctor appointments and miss out on a promotion after being temporarily placed on modified duty.
In some cases, you may be completely unable to resume a fulfilling career or be forced to abandon a favorite hobby. Whether you can show a bill to verify your suffering or not, your losses are legitimate. In order to determine what amount to claim in a settlement, a personal injury lawyer will help assess the value of your losses.
Understanding Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Most economic damages fall under the category of special damages, which essentially means anything with an assigned monetary value that can typically be shown on a receipt. Think of costs like medical bills for surgery or physical therapy, car repairs, lost paychecks, and home renovations for accessiblity. You can also recover the costs of economic losses you will sustain in the future, such as lost earning capacity due to a disabling injury.
Evaluating Non-Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Non-economic damages are typically classified as general damages, which may require an expert like a psychologist to evaluate for a dollar amount. If your injuries have compromised your quality of life, such as in the case of disfigurement, physical pain, or paralysis, you can claim that as a non-economic cost to be compensated. Other emotional losses, like mental anguish resulting from the accident or your injuries can also be claimed in a personal injury lawsuit.
In cases of wrongful death, families can be compensated for costs like the loss of companionship or loss of parental guidance. Many factors go into determining what the value of damages like these should be. For example, the age of the deceased, the type and quality of the relationship, and any economic ramifications for the survivors. Estimating the value of non-economic losses is often difficult, but a capable personal injury lawyer will have the experience and connections necessary to conduct an accurate assessment.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you have been injured by another party’s negligence, you should not delay in exploring your legal options. It takes time for both sides to conduct investigations, interview witnesses and experts, and consolidate their cases, which only increases the time you spend burdened by costs like medical bills and lost wages. You also risk losing out on your right to file for compensation if you wait too long.
Don’t Delay Seeking Compensation in Personal Injury Claims
The average personal injury lawsuit is settled in nine to twelve months during pre-trial negotiations, although this timeframe is not necessarily indicative of all personal injury claims. Personal injury lawsuits that go to trial often lengthen the process by months or years.
For the majority of personal injury lawsuits based on accusations of negligence, injured clients will need to abide by the Florida statute of limitations. The window to file a claim is four years, or two years for lawsuits involving a wrongful death claim. A personal injury lawyer will be able to help you keep track of critical deadlines and keep your case moving at a respectable rate to get you the compensation you need in a timely manner.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
As personal injury lawyers, we do not receive compensation for our services until you are compensated for your losses. Our contingency fee is deducted from your settlement or court awards we recover, so we have a stake in the outcome beyond our reputation.
You won’t be asked to pay for any services upfront or resort to paying out-of-pocket. The system is intentionally designed this way so victims of negligence have a path to recover their damages without being intimidated from pursuing their rightful compensation due to hefty legal fees.
Why Do I Need a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer?
While you may be hesitant to initiate a lawsuit due to the perceived inconvenience or persisting stigmas, personal injury lawsuits provide the best opportunity to be properly compensated for the actual expenses you have incurred. After an accident caused by the negligence of another party, you shouldn’t be left to shoulder the burden of medical debt, a struggling career, and mental anguish alone.
The personal injury lawyers of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh offer comprehensive services to our injured clients in the pursuit of recovering a fair settlement. We will serve as your point of contact for inquiries from law enforcement, debt collectors, and insurance companies looking for statements about your accident.
Additionally, KMW Legal will stand up for your right to claim compensation, investigate the liable parties and the accident, deflect lowball settlement offers in negotiations, and help you anticipate what costs you will need to be compensated for in the future. We won’t accept less than you are owed just to settle a claim; instead, we’ll fight for maximum compensation.
KMW Legal is Proud to Serve Personal Injury Clients in West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach is a coastal city with a population of 117,415 residents. Its lauded arts scene, shopping opportunities, and history attract tourists and locals alike. KMW Legal has worked tirelessly to earn the trust of West Palm Beach residents who were injured by someone else’s negligence.
At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we have honed our expertise in personal injury law to become a force to be reckoned with. Our West Palm Beach clients count on our ability to provide valuable legal insight, protect them from insurance agents’ attempts to devalue their claim, and negotiate a fair settlement that reflects the scope of their losses.
Contact KMW Legal for Help With Your Personal Injury Claim Today
Dealing with the fallout of an accident caused by a negligent person or company can feel frustrating and isolating. You may be struggling to balance your budget with the burden of medical bills and reduced income, all while coping with chronic pain and the responsibilities of everyday life. With relentless representatives like KMW Legal by your side, you can recover these costs in a personal injury lawsuit.
KMW Legal takes pride in making you a priority, which is why you can expect to remain in close contact with your lawyer throughout the claims process. You’ll receive advice that has been customized to your individual needs and the reassurance that our team is more than qualified to take on powerful insurance companies in negotiations and in court.
You can reach us at our West Palm Beach office to schedule a no-cost, no-commitment strategy session. A KMW Legal lawyer will take the time to listen to your story, inform you of your legal options, and discuss the benefits of our services.