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How to Estimate Your Personal Injury Claims Damages

Car accident settlements depend on a few factors: the strength of your case and the extent of your losses (which are referred to as “damages”). When you are trying to figure out how much your personal injury claim is worth, you are better off speaking with a West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer.

But, there are things you can do to familiarize yourself with how losses are calculated in order to fully understand how those numbers are determined.

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The Strength of Your Claim Matters

Florida is a no-fault state, which means you can only recover damages after you have filed and exhausted your PIP claims.

Also, to recover damages, you must be able to prove the following occurred:

  • Rear ending a vehicle because the driver was not paying attention.
  • Making unsafe maneuvers in traffic.
  • Disobeying the rules of the road or ignoring traffic signals.
  • Talking or texting while driving.
  • Driving recklessly or dangerously for weather conditions
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating or cutting off another vehicle.
  • Reckless or overly aggressive driving practices.

While it’s important to note the details of your car accident case, particularly if another party was responsible, but it is just as important to ask yourself if you were partially negligent or responsible for your injuries. For example, you were not wearing a seat-belt.

What about Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is a different calculation that involves multiplying unknown factors and out-of-pocket expenses. For example, if you have a neck injury from your car accident, you may have encountered medical costs that reached $2,500. You also missed a week of work, which forced you to lose another $1,000.

Determining the Multiplier

Determining which special multiplier can be used to determine your settlement value depends on a few factors. These factors can include:

  • If there were aggravating circumstances, such as a drunk driver or someone driving while under the influence of drugs. These cases qualify for a higher multiplier.
  • If you or your passenger(s) suffered from serious injuries that will take longer to recover or leave you permanently disabled, then a higher multiplier will be used to determine a case settlement.
  • Some people will suffer from car accident injuries for the rest of their lives while others will only suffer a few weeks or months after filing their claim. The total length of recovery will determine the multiplier.
  • If you become permanently disabled due to your injuries, then a higher multiplier will be used than for a victim who will make a full recovery.

Getting a Settlement of Real Value Takes an Attorney

Car accident lawyers are skilled negotiators and they have handled multiple cases with insurance companies. They know how to get a verdict that is favorable and most importantly, they know how insurance claims adjusters work.

A car accident lawyer can assist in determining your car accident or personal injury case settlement. He or she can assess your injuries, potential future costs, and determine not only which multiplier should be used, but ensure that legal costs are also covered and that you get a fair settlement.

Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Fetterman & Associates, PA Today

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, you need the expertise of a car accident attorney. The law team at Fetterman & Associates, PA has helped countless car accident victims calculate their losses and ensure they get settlements based on what they really need.

You can meet with our West Palm Beach personal injury attorney for free consultation today. Call now at 561-845-2510 or visit us in our West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie offices to get started or fill out an online contact form an attorney will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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Car Accident Claims: Should You Just Settle Yourself?

You may think that there is no need to hire an attorney for those routine car accident claims. Thanks to the Internet, there is a plethora of information available regarding the legal process of a car accident claim.

While it is true a minor fender bender may be something you can handle on your own—especially if there are no injuries—even these minor accidents require the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.

Before you attempt to file and settle your own accident claim, consider a few things first.

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Contesting Fault: Insurance Companies Love to Play the Blame Game

Who wants to be to blame for an accident? No one. If you cannot prove that the other driver caused the accident, then this may impact your ability to recover damages. This is something you should not leave to chance, which is why you need to contact a car accident lawyer West Palm Beach for assistance. An attorney can help gather necessary evidence and prove the other party was at fault.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses Will Grow—and So Will Your Losses

If you do not hire an attorney, then you may notice that your out-of-pocket expenses and losses continue to grow. Most people do not realize just how much they lose in a car accident. But, if you sit down and start to add it up, you may be surprised. Just some of those unexpected costs can include:

  • Medical costs – From emergency room visits to follow up appointments to even medical supplies to care for your wounds at home; these can easily add up to hundreds (if not thousands).
  • Lost hours – To recover from your accident, you are most likely going to take some time off work. That time means less income or using your own personal sick leave, which you shouldn’t have to use when someone causes your own accident.

Serious Injuries Need Serious Representation

If you have suffered from a serious injury—such as a broken bone or even a herniated disc or whiplash—these types of injuries will affect you for a long time.

Permanent injuries could impact your quality of life. For some, you may not be able to ever work again, walk or even enjoy time with your children. These are the types of injuries that have the potential for very large settlements; therefore, you need a personal injury lawyer to assist you.

Personal Injury Lawyers for the Win

Bottom line: It takes years of experience filing and negotiating personal injury claims to acquire solid settlements for clients. Experienced and reputable car accident lawyers know how to negotiate with insurance claims adjusters and how to present your case in front of a judge or jury, should your case go to court.

Contact Fetterman & Associates, PA Today

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Fetterman & Associates, PA in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie or a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. Call us now for an appointment at 561-845-2510.

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Top 4 Reasons to Not Make an Agreement at the Accident Scene

Right after an accident, you may think that your injuries are not that bad, and the damage to your car isn’t a huge deal. You may be approached by the other driver who is willing to pay for the vehicle or your injuries out of pocket to avoid the hassle of insurance. While they are trying to make it right, agreeing to this type of situation can limit or even compromise your legal options later.

It is best to leave the discussions to attorneys after the fact rather than come up with an agreement at the scene. Because even though the deal seems great, it will end up not working out as you had hoped later on.

Accident Scene

Reasons to Not Agree to Anything

You may be offered a few hundred dollars in cash or you may even be offered a few thousand. But, there are still reasons to not agree to anything at the scene, including:

•    You Don’t Know Your Real Losses – You might feel great now, but what about a few days later when the real injuries show up? Soft tissue damage can take several days to weeks to manifest and by then, you’ve already accepted the low ball offer from the other driver.

•    Damage to Your Vehicle Could be Hidden – Even if your vehicle seems okay, do not accept an offer for cash until you have it looked at by a mechanic or auto body specialist. You could have damage hidden and while it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it could cost thousands in repair.

•    You Limit Your Chances for Compensation Later – If you make an agreement at the scene and accept money from the other party, then you could be limiting your chances for compensation later on when the real bills come in.

•    Compensation at the Scene Doesn’t Include Time Off Work – Think about all of the costs associated with your accident. You may have small medical bills, but that also means you will take time off work. The compensation someone offers at the scene is never enough to fully cover your losses.

Also Read : Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?

Want Compensation? Speak to a West Palm Beach Car Accident Attorney

Instead of making a deal at the scene, wait until you speak with a West Palm Beach car accident attorney. An attorney can assess your real losses and help you decide how much compensation you deserve.

The West Palm Beach car accident attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA are here to help you with your accident case. Call us at 561-845-2510 for a free consultation.

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5 Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving

Recent statistics have shown that distracted driving is quickly becoming more deadly than drunk driving. From eating in the car to talking or texting on a cell phone, distracted driving is a definite concern on the road. While you cannot control other drives, you can limit how distracted you are behind the wheel, which will also limit the chances you cause an accident.

Avoid Distracted Driving

Cell phones are for Emergencies Only

While driving, your cell phone should be put in your purse or pocket and you should not use or access it at all while driving. If you must, pull off to the side of the road before taking out your phone and only do so for emergencies.

If you have a hands-free or Bluetooth system, you should still only use those for emergencies. Research has shown that you may still be distracted even if both hands are on the wheel.

Never Drive Drowsy

Drowsy driving is distracted driving. Did you know that while you are drowsy, you increase your risk for an accident by over four times? Nodding off at the wheel even for a few seconds is all it takes to veer off the road or hit someone else. So, pull over and get some rest rather than risk driving home.

Limit Activity Inside the Vehicle

Try to limit the distractions inside your vehicle, which means limiting how many people are in the car at once, radio playing, and background noise. These are all distractions that can keep you from fully focusing on the road ahead. For teen drivers in the house, do not let them have friends in the car for at least six months after getting their license.

Also Read : 10 Need-to-Know Facts About Teen Drivers

Don’t Eat and Drive

All too often you will see someone behind the wheel eating a meal while driving. Driving and eating don’t mix. Regardless of how busy you are, you can stop to finish eating before you start driving. Eating can easily distract you because you are focusing on the food – not the road.

Don’t Multi-Task While Driving

It doesn’t matter how busy you are, there is no reason to multi-task behind the wheel. There is enough to focus on while driving, you don’t need to start scheduling appointments, sending text messages or checking your schedule for your next meeting. Everything else can wait until you pull over.

Injured by a Distracted Driver? Call a Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, then you may be entitled to a settlement for your injuries and losses. Schedule a free consultation with the attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA today. We will evaluate your case and we can tell you right away if you have a valid claim.

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Wrongful Deaths and Car Accidents

A car accident can be lethal. Whether it is on the city streets or on the highway, a fatal accident is tragic for those involved as well as their loved ones left behind. As surviving family members who have lost a loved one, you still have options.

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Deciding Who You Can Sue for Wrongful Death

When someone dies in a car accident, it turns into a wrongful death case. But, you and your personal injury attorney must first decide who is legally at fault for the accident; thus, causing the death of your loved one. If the other driver is at fault, such as running a red light to cause the accident, then they are liable for the damages and losses they created.

But, there are other times where the liable party is not that easy to determine. Sometimes it is not the driver, but the manufacturer of the vehicle or even a government entity. For example, a large pothole caused a vehicle to swerve out of control or an airbag failed to deploy.

Deciding What to Sue For

Fatal car accidents are still personal injury cases. Under the personal injury laws in Florida, surviving family members can sue for wrongful death or product liability, depending on who was responsible for the accident. The most common claim in these types of lawsuits is negligence.

Negligence is when one person fails to act reasonably and causes someone to be injured. In a wrongful death case involving vehicles, which could mean a person didn’t follow the rules of the road; therefore, caused the accident.

Negligence is not just on the driver though. Manufacturers can be negligent as well, but they are held to a higher standard than car drivers. For example, if a manufacturer releases a defective product or vehicle component that causes the accident or death, then the manufacturer is negligent.

For wrongful death cases, the loved ones of the victim can sue the responsible party, whether it is the driver, manufacturer or a mixture of the two. These lawsuits allow loved ones to recover compensation to help with:

  • Medical Bills
  • Funeral Costs
  • Lost Wages of the deceased
  • Loss of companionship

If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you still have legal options. Contact the lawyers at Fetterman & Associates, PA today for a free consultation. There is no obligation to meet with us and our attorneys can tell you right away if you have a wrongful death claim.

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PIP Reform Weeds Out Fake Car Crashes

Fake Car CrashesThe PIP law was only in effect for two years before the state changed it. The reform came after a large volume of fake claims were filed with PIP.

In fact, the number of claims dropped from 712 in 2012 to just 328 in 2013. Also, any false claims that were filed or questionable claims dropped by eight percent per year. But, why was Florida forced to change this law and what types of fake car claims were filed?

Understanding PIP or Personal Injury Protection Insurance

PIP is used in no fault states as a way to cover medical expenses after an accident. Because Florida is a no fault state, drivers needed a way to cover their medical bills regardless if they or the other driver was at fault for the accident. However, PIP insurance is not for property damage.

Florida requires drivers to purchase PIP insurance. But, the amount they receive can vary. While this type of insurance only covers your medical expenses, it can also handle substitute expenses as long as they are related to your injury. For example, you can hire in-home care or even a cleaning service while you are recovering because you cannot do so yourself due to your injury.

Bodily injury liability insurance and PIP is not the same thing; but are often confused with each other. PIP only covers medical expenses, while bodily injury liability can cover legal fees as well as other payments to the parties you injured.

The original law said that insurance must be up to $10,000 for immediate coverage, which would reduce the number of personal injury claims seen in courts. But, Florida quickly noticed that drivers were abusing this insurance and seeking medical treatment for injuries they did not receive in the accident.

The Changes to PIP

Florida reformed their law in 2012 and it now requires injured parties to see a physician within two weeks (14 days) after the accident. Non-emergency claims are also limited to only $2500; therefore medical providers who were trying to engage in PIP schemes will be unable to receive the full $10,000 as they did before. And, if caught, providers will get a five-year license suspension on top of a ten-year suspension from accepting PIP claims.

Injured? Call an Attorney Right Away

While PIP insurance provides you with emergency funds, it will not cover the costs of your accident. You need to use other legal remedies to pay your extensive medical bills, long-term medical costs, and even your lost wages. The attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA can help you pay for those losses. Call us today at 561-845-2510 for a free consultation and let us help you with your car accident claim.

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Top 4 Notes to Take Immediately After an Accident

car accidentWhether you were injured in a car accident or even a boating accident, the details matter. Even the smallest detail can change the outcome of your injury lawsuit later on; therefore, it is best to write everything down after an accident.

Having the right notes will remind you about what happened and make your account of the event easier to prove in court. Keep a notepad nearby, in case details start to come back that you may have forgotten to add the first time.

Accident Details

You need to write down everything you can recall about the accident, including:

  • How it happened
  • What you were doing or where you were going
  • Any people that were with you
  • The time, date, and weather conditions
  • Details of what you heard, felt, and saw
  • Anything you remember hearing

Injury Details

Next, you need notes about your injuries. These notes will grow over the next few days as injuries become more apparent. Some things you need to list include:

  • When the pain or discomfort started and where.
  • Other suffrage you have, such as anxiety, trouble sleeping, etc.
  • How severe the pain is on a scale of 1-10 each day.
  • Medications you take to alleviate the pain.

It is important to see a doctor immediately after your accident. Even if you write down details, having a professional diagnose and confirm your pain will help your case in court.


After an accident you are likely to experience some losses. These can include loss of wages, family time, education time, etc. Write down any losses you encounter and be specific. Missing out on family events because you are recovering is also a loss that you will want to document carefully.

Conversations with Others

Any time you speak with someone about the accident, including your own attorney and doctor, write down the date, time, whom you spoke to, and the details about your discussion.

Injured? Call an Experienced West Palm Beach Personal Injury attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, then you need professional assistance. The team at Fetterman & Associates, PA can help you with your accident case. Whether you were injured in a car accident, truck accident or even because of a malfunctioning product, we can assist you with your claim. Call us now at 561-845-2510 for a free consultation.

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Can You Sue for Lost Wages in a Car Accident?

Lost Wages in a Car AccidentAfter a car accident, your car accident attorney will calculate the damages. These damages are then requested in the injury lawsuit. While lost wages and potential future earnings are often included, the situation regarding your injury does come into play.

Lost wages are requested when you have taken time away from work (due to the injury) as well as the time away from work during the trial. If your injuries are more extensive, future wages could be added to the bill.

But, there are several factors that determine when you can request lost wages as well as future wages (also known as your earning capacity).

Requesting Compensation for Lost Wages

Lost wages are considered a special damage category. This category includes all out-of-pocket expenses you incurred due to your injury. Special damages often have a clear monetary amount. After all, you can calculate how much money you didn’t make while you were away from work.

You can request lost wages through your attorney by proving that the injury minimized how often you were at work, took away from your sick leave, vacation time, and so on as applicable.

Requesting Loss of Future Wages

Requesting compensation for the loss of future wages is more difficult than lost wages. When an injury results in you being unable to work or you will be working less than you had in the past, you may request earning capacity damages.

Your future earning capacity amount, however, is harder to calculate. The court will first take a look at past earnings. Then, they will consider your age, life expectancy, and your occupation or skill. If you can prove that you were injured in a car accident and you are permanently disabled, then the courts will then determine how much money you would have made up until your retirement age.

If you are only partially disabled, then the courts will then consider how much you can earn on minimal hours or if you’re forced to change jobs.

It is Best to Consult an Attorney

Requesting lost wages requires the assistance of a personal injury attorney. If you have been injured in a car accident, then your attorney can determine the amount of wages you can seek for compensation, and the likelihood your claim will be approved by the courts.

The West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers at Fetterman & Associates, PA can meet with you for a free consultation regarding your car accident lawsuit. Call us now at 561-449-2372.

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4 Things the Insurance Company Doesn’t Want You to Know

Insurance Company Insurance companies are often quick to offer a settlement after reporting an injury. But, if you receive a settlement offer, do not accept it without speaking to a personal injury attorney first. Insurance companies are for-profit, meaning they don’t make any money when they pay money. That is why they instruct their insurance adjusters to do everything they can to reduce payout amounts and resolve claims quickly, often before the injured party knows the extent of his or her injuries.

If you have an insurance settlement offer coming in, do not accept it until you speak to an attorney. Be sure to also keep these things in mind that the insurance company doesn’t want you to know.

Insurance Companies are Not Your Friend

An insurance company, despite how nice they are, is not your friend. They are in the business of making money; therefore the less they give you after an injury, the more they will have in their pocket. Adjusters try to trick you into thinking they are your friend. They will be nice, pretend they understand what you are going through, but in the end it is their job to give you the lowest settlement possible.

They Don’t Want You to Hire an Attorney

If you have an attorney, insurance companies know they have to pay you more. That is why they will go out of their way to make attorneys seem greedy, lazy or as an unnecessary component to getting a settlement. Despite what they say, never accept a settlement without consulting an attorney.

Insurance Companies Will Tell You You’re Not Eligible – Even if You Are

Insurance adjusters are known for telling you injuries you cannot claim after an accident, even if they are legitimate and acceptable. They do this so that they can lower the amount they have to give you. They may also try to tell you that certain medical bills are not covered or that you are not entitled to pain and suffering compensation.

Read more about why you need to see a doctor after an accident.

Insurance Adjusters are Negotiators

An insurance adjuster is a practiced negotiator. They know how to get bottom dollar and they will do whatever it takes to do that. But, if you have an attorney, you can level the playing field because you have a skilled negotiator by your side.

Protect Your Rights and Receive Fair Compensation – Call a West Palm Beach Car Accident Attorney

You are not obligated to accept a settlement and you have the right to consult an attorney. Do not discuss your claim or injury with insurance agents; instead, call a West Palm Beach car accident attorney from Fetterman & Associates, PA today. We offer free consultations and we can help you receive the settlement you deserve for your injuries. Call us at 561-845-2510.

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Why You Need to Visit a Doctor After a Car Accident

The aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming. It’s often difficult to determine where to begin dealing with the mess. Many are often confused whether to call their insurance company, visit the doctor or wait for the mess to be sorted out, or the order in which to tackle these steps.

West Palm Beach Car Accident lawyerVisiting the doctor immediately after an accident has occurred can be one of the best things for, not only your situation, but for your health.

Health Benefits

Visiting a doctor after a car accident is one of the safest decisions for your health and body. This will help to determine if any injuries are serious or if any injuries are internal.

While you should never leave the scene of an accident, head to the emergency room immediately after the police have been notified of the accident. If you experience any soreness or feel you have been seriously injured, it’s best to seek medical attention right away.

Even if you feel okay after an accident, it’s still wise to visit a doctor. Many internal injuries aren’t always obvious from the beginning. In fact, some injuries don’t show immediate side effects, but still can be serious to your health.

Legal Benefits

Your health takes obvious priority over anything else. If you have sustained any injuries after an accident, visiting a doctor can also help with any legal issues you may encounter from the accident.

For example, if you were injured in an accident and were not at fault, then you can file a lawsuit against the driver at fault to pay for any damages that your own insurance may not cover.

In the state of Florida, you only have a certain window of time to file a lawsuit for your injuries after an accident, even if the injuries worsen. So it is important to immediately see a doctor who can explain the severity of your injuries and determine if you will need long term care or any expenses that may go above and beyond your allotted insurance.

Legal Process for Injuries

After you have visited a doctor and contacted a qualified and skilled West Palm Beach car accident attorney, the process of filing a lawsuit for your injuries is a lot easier.

An attorney will review all details associated with an accident as well as your injuries, including medical expenses such as treatment, obtaining your medical records, gathering evidence that proves how you sustained these injuries, negotiating and more.

Getting a Settlement for Your Accident Injuries

Getting injured during a car accident is a scary and tough situation to handle on your own. After you have contacted and visited a doctor, contact Fetterman & Associates, PA to hire a skilled team of attorneys who will fight or you, evaluate your case, and help you see the settlement you deserve for your accident injuries.

Call us for a free case evaluation at 561-845-2510.


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