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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.

Losses

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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Articles about Car Accident:

 

Wrongful Death Lawsuit in a Car Accident

Dealing with a car accident can be difficult enough, whether you are the driver who caused the accident, a driver who was involved or simply a passenger. Through such a tough time, handling the loss of a loved one can simply make things unbearable.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit in a Car Accident
Wrongful Death Lawsuit in a Car Accident

If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be able to seek a settlement with the driver who was found at fault for a wrongful death claim. Continue reading Wrongful Death Lawsuit in a Car Accident

3 Excuses Your Auto Insurance Company Will Give to Deny Your Claim

Auto Insurance CompanyAfter an auto accident, it is only natural to turn to your insurance carrier. After all, you have paid your premium on time for years, been a great driver, and now it’s their turn to pay you back. But, after going through the extensive claims process and paying out of pocket while you wait for reimbursement, you find that your claim was denied.

Insurance companies do not always approve claims. Often this is because they are looking for ways to get out of paying for someone else’s damages. In fact, the same three reasons they often use for denying most of the U.S. drivers come down to the following:

Fault

Liability is something that helps determine who should pay for another person’s losses and injuries in an accident. Your auto insurance carrier is legally required to pay if you are responsible for the accident. But, to avoid paying out on your behalf, your insurance carrier may try to deny that the accident was your fault.

Even if it was obvious you were at fault, your insurance agency may still try to put some of the blame on the injured. While this seems like it is in your favor, what your insurance company is doing is getting out of their responsibility to pay – leaving you to pay for the other party’s injuries and repairs from your own pocket.

Read Also: How To Read An Auto Insurance Policy

Denying Extent of Injuries

If your insurance carrier or the other party’s insurance carrier cannot put fault on someone else, they may try to deny the extent of your injuries or the injuries of the other party. This means they could try to refute that you were injured as bad as you claim, or have their own experts undercut your documented injuries. By performing their own in-house medical review, they will attempt to get out of paying any medical costs.

Denying the Accident Led to Your Injuries

If the injuries are present, but insurance carriers cannot deny their extent, they may turn to cause. This means they may try to claim that the accident did not cause your injuries. Soft-tissue damage, for example, is one injury that insurers will often try to deny, especially because your physician cannot prove it is accident related. Read more about whiplash following an accident.

What to do When Insurance Keeps Denying Your Claim

If your insurance company refuses to pay, regardless if you were at fault or not, you need to get the assistance of a skilled car accident lawyer (learn more about why you may need an attorney). The team at Fetterman & Associates, PA can help you with your accident case.

We will represent you against insurance companies, help you get your claims paid, and ensure your insurance carrier doesn’t try to abandon their responsibility. Call us today for a free consultation at 561-845-2510.

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