Auto Accidents FAQs
Answers from Our West Palm Beach Car Accident Attorneys
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Trucking accidents versus car accidents
Trucking accident claims are similar to standard car accident claims, but
tend to be more complex. This is due, in part, to the fact that there
are often multiple liable parties, including the driver, the trucking
company, or even another driver. Our attorneys have extensive experience
with these claims, and know how to get results.
My auto accident case settled, but I haven't received a check. Why Not?
In some cases, a settlement check will come within about 2-3 weeks, but
this isn’t always the case. Many adjusters will not issue a check
before physically possessing your release. Some insurance companies have
adjusters in Florida, but handle all settlement drafts and releases in
another state. Each case is unique, so you’ll want to consult with
your West Palm Beach car accident attorney to discuss your situation,
especially if you are without a check for 4-5 weeks after the settlement.
What can I do to prevent getting into an auto accident in Florida?
While there is no guaranteed way to avoid a serious car accident, there
are many habits and behaviors you can adopt which will help prevent such
a crash. It’s important to always follow the rules of the road,
avoid distractions, and pay attention to your surroundings. Make sure
to keep a safe following distance, and NEVER assume that another driver
will yield or move out of the way.
Does Your Teen Driver Know Enough About Florida Work Zone Hazards?
A speeding ticket is expensive enough, but if it occurs in a work zone,
the fines will be doubled. Teens and adult drivers alike should take extra
care in these areas to avoid injuring a worker. It is crucial to pay attention
to posted signs, as these zones often have lower speed limits than the
What is "GAP Insurance"?
GAP insurance, or “Guaranteed Auto Protection” is a type of
policy which will cover the difference between your car’s actual
value and the amount you still owe on it. It’s common knowledge
that a brand-new car loses a large amount of value when you drive it off
the lot, and gap insurance will protect you if you crash while still “upside
down” on your loan. For example, if you still owe $20,000 on a car,
but the value of your car is just $18,000, gap coverage will cover the
$2000 difference you would otherwise owe.
Can I Be Found Liable If My Car Is Rear-Ended?
The answer to this question is a bit complex, as Florida is a “no-fault”
insurance state. This means that if you are rear-ended, even due to no
fault of your own, your insurance will be responsible for covering your
injuries and damage - at least up to the limits of your policy.
If you’ve suffered permanent serious injuries exceeding the value
of your coverage, you can then file a claim against the at-fault driver.
The driver who rear-ended you is almost always presumed to be at fault,
although you could be found partially liable in some conditions - if your
brake lights weren’t working, for example.
Is the car making a left turn always at fault in a crash?
In a left-hand turn accident, where one driver crashes into another car
that is making a left turn, the turning driver is almost always at fault.
This is because drivers are required to wait to make the turn until they
can do so safely. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule - if
the other car was speeding excessively or ran a red light, you may be
able to prove that they were at least partially at fault for the crash.
Who pays for my property damage after a car accident?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means you must pursue compensation
through your own insurance company. If you carry the minimum coverage,
your insurance company will cover up to $10,000 worth of damage to your
car or other property. If your car is worth more than this, you will be
financially responsible for the difference - this underscores the importance
of carrying sufficient insurance.
I was in a car crash, but I don't think I'm injured. Do I have to see a doctor?
It is ALWAYS a good idea to see a doctor after a car accident. One of the
most common car accident injuries, whiplash, often goes unnoticed for
days after a crash, and there are a wide range of other injuries you could
have suffered unknowingly. If it turns out that you were injured, your
visit to the doctor is strong evidence for your West Palm Beach car accident claim.
What damages can I recover for injuries sustained in an auto accident?
In a West Palm Beach car accident claim, you can seek compensation for
a variety of damages. The most common ones include the cost of medical
bills and rehabilitation, lost income and loss of future earnings, and
pain and suffering damages.
Can I sue to recover some compensation?
Due to Florida’s no-fault insurance system, you may only file a car
accident injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver if your injuries meet
the state’s serious injury threshold. Injuries which are permanent,
leave significant scarring, or cause disfigurement may be considered “serious”
for the purposes of filing a lawsuit against the liable driver. Due to
the vague description of a “serious injury,” it is crucial
to retain a skilled West Palm Beach car accident attorney who can help
you prove your case.
What do you mean by truck when you say truck accident?
When we refer to “trucking accidents,” we aren’t talking
about F150s or Silverados. We’re referring to vehicles like commercial
trucks, 18-wheelers, semi trucks, tractor-trailers. These trucks are notoriously
big and heavy - often more than 50 feet long, and typically weighing in
at up to 80,000 pounds. When these trucks crash, the resulting damage
and injuries can be catastrophic, which is why it’s crucial to retain
a West Palm Beach truck accident lawyer if you’ve been hurt.
18-wheelers are so heavy and unwieldy - why aren't drivers more careful?
This is the $64,000 question - or a lot more, depending on the injuries
you’ve suffered. There are many reasons why truck drivers are motivated
to drive faster and more recklessly, not the least of which is the pressure
to make deliveries on time. The trucking industry is highly regulated,
yet trucking companies who are focused on profits instead of people often
push their drivers to the extremes.
What are the insurance requirements in Florida?
Drivers in Florida are actually required to carry two different types of
car insurance coverage. The first, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is
designed to cover injuries you have suffered. The second, Property Damage
Liability (PDL), covers your non-injury-related expenses such as car repairs.
In Florida, you are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP, as
well as $10,000 in PDL coverage.
Why do Florida trucking accidents involve such serious injuries?
The serious injuries commonly inflicted in a trucking accident are largely
the result of the immense weight and size of these trucks. Weighing up
to 80,000 pounds, these trucks are capable of causing far more catastrophic
damage than your average passenger car. The length of these trucks also
makes them harder to avoid, which is why many trucking accidents involve
more than two vehicles.
Do Florida truck drivers have to follow any regulations?
Absolutely! The trucking industry is one of the more highly regulated industries
in the nation. There are a number of restrictions imposed by the state
of Florida, set forth in the
Commercial Motor Vehicle Manual. Additionally, these drivers must comply with the extensive regulations
imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If they fail
to follow these regulations, both the truck driver and the trucking company
could be found liable for an ensuing accident.
I Was Hurt In A Car Crash & Need Compensation. Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may need to file a lawsuit
to obtain fair compensation. In most cases, Florida’s no-fault insurance
laws require you to recover compensation through your own insurance company,
but this will only cover you up to the extent of your policy. If the injury
you’ve suffered meets the “serious injury” threshold,
you will likely need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to
recover the compensation you deserve.
Can I be compensated even if the accident was my fault?
Florida’s no-fault insurance laws allow you to recover compensation
from your own insurance company if you have been injured in a crash -
regardless of who was technically at fault. If your injuries are serious
enough to warrant a lawsuit, however, your ability to recover further
compensation could be compromised.
Florida also uses a “pure comparative negligence” standard
for determining damages in a lawsuit. This means that the amount of money
you can recover will correlate directly to your percentage of fault. If,
for example, you are suing for $100,000 in damages, but were 70% at fault,
you would essentially be able to recover a maximum of $30,000.
Can I accept a check from my insurance company?
can accept a check from your insurance company, but you absolutely should
not do so without consulting a West Palm Beach car accident attorney.
This is because insurance companies are businesses like any other, and
may try to mitigate the value of your claim simply to save a few dollars.
If you accept the first check, you essentially have no recourse if you
discover your injuries are more severe. In some cases, individuals will
accept a small check after claiming whiplash, only to discover later that
they have suffered more severe spine or vertebrae damage. Unfortunately,
they have forfeited their right to sue by accepting this check, and must
pay for future medical bills on their own.
How is the fault of an automobile accident determined?
In a car accident injury claim, fault is based on the legal concept of
negligence. To establish that a driver was negligent, you must prove the
following four elements:
- The other driver owed a duty to you (for example, they are required to
stop at red lights)
- The driver did not live up to this duty (they ran the red light)
- This breach of duty caused your injuries (you must prove you were injured)
- You suffered losses as a result (medical bills, loss of income, etc.)
When is the right time to get a lawyer for my Florida car accident case?
When it comes to a car accident injury claim, you should retain an attorney
as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb, P.A., we
work on a contingency fee basis, so it won’t cost you any extra
to retain a lawyer early in the process. By starting early, your attorney
can work to gather important evidence, and can help shape your case before
it even starts.
How do I know what my case might be worth?
The value of your injury claim is based on a wide range of factors, including
the severity of your injuries, the cost of care and future care, and many
more. Your West Palm Beach car accident attorney will need to work with
doctors and other experts to accurately assess the value of your claim.
To get a better idea of how much your case may be worth, contact our firm
today for a free case evaluation.
Would I have to go to court?
Many car accident injury claims are actually settled out of court, and
don’t require you to appear at all. At the Law Offices of Craig
Goldenfarb, P.A., we have proven our ability to recover fair settlements
on behalf of our clients. In some cases, however, it will be necessary
to go to court to recover the compensation you deserve. If you want to
reduce the likelihood that you will need to go to trial, retain a high-quality
car accident attorney who knows how to get results.
What if my loved one has been involved in a fatal automobile accident?
Losing a loved one is never easy, but it can be especially hard to deal
with when they are taken unexpectedly. Family members have the right to
pursue fair compensation for medical costs incurred, funeral expenses,
and more through a wrongful death claim. Pursuing legal action is probably
the last thing on your mind, but it is important to hold negligent drivers
accountable, and to ease the financial stress you and your family are
Where would my compensation money come from?
In a successful Florida car accident injury claim, you will be able to
recover compensation from all parties found liable. In a typical car accident,
this typically includes the insurance company and/or the at-fault driver.
If the driver was drunk, however, you may also receive compensation from
the bar or even private household that overserved them. In trucking accidents,
liable parties often include not only the truck driver, but also the trucking
company that hired them.
Do I need to retain an attorney if I am injured in a car crash?
While it is technically possible to handle a claim on your own, an attorney
is an invaluable resource during this process. Insurance companies often
fight these claims tooth and nail, and a single mistake can be the difference
between receiving fair compensation, and receiving nothing. Furthermore,
insurance companies are typically more willing to negotiate and offer
fair compensation when they know that you have retained legal counsel.
You’ll want to hire an attorney for the same reason you’re
being treated by a doctor - experience and knowledge make a big difference.
How are damages determined?
In a car accident injury claim, you may seek compensation for a wide range
of damages. These damages are essentially losses you have incurred, and
can include both financial losses, as well as emotional/physical losses.
Your attorney will need to prove not only that these damages exist, but
must also prove the financial value of the damages to determine fair compensation.
Will my auto insurance rates go up after my car accident claim?
Although Florida is a “no-fault” car insurance state, fault
still plays a big role in many cases. If you are found to be at least
partially at fault for a car accident, it is likely that your insurance
rates will go up. If you were completely at fault for the crash, it is
virtually a given that your rates will increase. If the accident was completely
the fault of the other party, however, you can expect your rates to remain the same.
What should I do if I am involved in a truck accident?
After a truck accident, the safety of you and other passengers is of utmost
importance. Act quickly to report the accident via 911, and do not attempt
to move any injured parties without help from emergency responders. If
you are severely injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If you are able, you should make an effort to gather as much information
as possible. This includes taking pictures of the accident scene, jotting
down the license plate numbers of all cars involved, etc. Do not divulge
more information than is necessary. This includes not speaking with adjusters
from other insurance companies, and keeping your police report factual
and free from opinions.
After treating your injuries, seek counsel from a truck accident attorney
immediately. The earlier you retain counsel, the better your lawyer will
be able to build a strong case for compensation on your behalf.
How long would I have to file my suit?
Florida is relatively generous with their statute of limitations for car
accident injury suits, as you have four years to file a lawsuit from the
date of the accident. The exception is a claim against a government agency,
for which the statute of limitations is 3 years.
The longer you wait, however, the weaker your case typically becomes. Starting
the process while the tire marks are still fresh will allow your attorney
to build a stronger case for compensation by working with accident reconstruction
experts and other valuable resources.
How long will my Florida car accident case take?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as each
claim is unique. Insurance companies are typically willing to settle more
quickly if you have a strong case, or if they are facing a particularly
large payout. Although these claims often take several months to a year
to be resolved, they should not be rushed - the goal is fair compensation
for, in many cases, a lifetime of medical care and treatment. One surefire
way to help expedite your claim? Hire an experienced Florida car accident attorney!
What should I do if the insurance adjuster is not paying my claim?
When you purchase insurance, you are essentially entering into a contract
- as long as you pay your premiums on time, the provider has an obligation
to pay out your qualifying claims in a timely fashion. If you believe
your insurance company is acting in bad faith, contact an experienced
car accident attorney immediately. Oftentimes, a simple letter showing
that you are represented is enough to change their mind.
I was a passenger, & the driver caused a car crash. Who pays for my injuries?
Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, you may have the ability
to pursue compensation from a number of parties. You may file a claim
under the insurance coverage of:
- The responsible (or partially responsible) driver
- The owner of the car the at-fault party was driving
- Your own car insurance coverage
- Your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Many people are hesitant to file a claim against their family member or
friend, but it’s important to remember that insurance companies
are almost always the ones who are actually paying out these claims. You
deserve fair compensation, and our firm can help you get it.
What constitutes a wrongful death?
In order for a person’s death to be considered “wrongful,”
it must be the result of the negligent or intentional actions of another.
In a car accident wrongful death claim, negligence can include running
a red light, speeding, or driving under the influence, among many others.
While exceptionally rare, intentional actions (such as running someone
off the road) can also lead to a wrongful death claim.
Should I sign the forms from the insurance adjuster?
If you’ve been injured, you should never sign forms from the insurance
company without counsel from a West Palm Beach car accident attorney.
It’s important to remember that insurance companies are businesses
motivated by profit - even the most kindhearted insurance adjuster is
paid to deny or mitigate the value of claims whenever possible.
There are a number of forms you may be asked or pressured into signing
after an accident, including releasing your medical records. Signing these
forms can not only weaken your claim, but can also prevent you from filing
a lawsuit if necessary!
What can I do if I am the victim of a staged car accident?
Staged car accidents, when someone intentionally causes an accident to
make it seem like you’re at fault, are unfortunately common these
days. One of the most important things to do after a staged car accident
is to jot down as much information as possible, including driver’s
license numbers, license plate numbers, descriptions of the other drivers,
and photos of the accident and damage.
It is also important to contact the police if you believe the accident
was staged. DO NOT agree to any on-site cash settlements - scammers will
often try to get money from you at the scene of the crash rather than
test their luck with an insurance company.
What is pain and suffering? Do I qualify for these damages?
In a Florida car accident claim, pain and suffering can be either mental
anguish (fear, depression, etc.) as well as physical suffering (pain,
discomfort, etc.) that the victim experienced. To claim pain and suffering
damages in your lawsuit, you must typically rely on doctor’s testimony,
medical records, and other important pieces of evidence. Each case is
unique, so you’ll want to consult with an attorney to determine
your ability to claim these damages.
I was the passenger in a car driven by a drunk driver - can I file an injury claim?
As in any other car accident, passengers have the ability to file a claim
under the coverage of the at-fault driver, the owner of the at-fault car,
as well as your own insurance coverage. In some lawsuits, however, your
ability to recover compensation may be affected by your decision to get
into the car with a drunk driver. If you can prove that you did not know
the driver was intoxicated, you will typically have stronger grounds for
I didn't cause the crash, but I don’t have insurance. Who pays for
Due to the fact that Florida is a no-fault insurance state, drivers without
their own insurance have limited recourse to recover compensation. In
most cases, you will have to pay for your damages out of pocket. If your
injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold,
however, you do have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
How long do I have to file a claim against a drunk driver?
While drunk driving accident claims are different than regular claims in
some ways, they both share the same statute of limitations. You have four
years to file a claim from the date of the accident. If the drunk driver
was an on-duty government employee, you may only have three years to file
the claim, so you should always consult a Florida car accident attorney
as soon as possible to learn your options.
My child was injured in a car accident. What are my options?
If your child was injured in a car accident, you will typically be able
to recover at least some compensation through your own car insurance company.
If your child’s injury meets the serious injury threshold, you then
have ability to file a civil claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Who can claim damages in a drunk driving accident?
In a drunk driving accident, just like any other type of car accident,
only parties who have suffered some sort of loss may claim damages. These
damages will most commonly include things like medical expenses, damage
to a vehicle, and loss of income, but can include many more.
What should I do if I'm involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver?
The very first thing you should do after a drunk driving accident is to
tend to your own injuries, and get help for other injured parties. It
is never a bad idea to call 911 after a serious crash, and this is especially
true if you suspect that the other driver was intoxicated.
If you can, you should try to gather as much information as you can, including
pictures of the scene/damage, license plate numbers, and the names and
information of any witnesses. Keep your police report brief and factual,
avoiding phrases like “I didn’t see him coming” that
could suggest you are partially at fault.
You should also contact a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer as soon as
possible to begin building a strong case for fair compensation. Starting
early in the process is key, as much of the evidence is still fresh.