Boynton Beach Personal Injury Lawyers
Serving Individuals & Families in Palm Beach County & Beyond
Florida’s personal injury laws allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit when you have been injured due to the negligent, reckless, or wrongful conduct of another. Depending on how the incident occurred, there are several things you must prove to have a successful personal injury case. At Smith, Ball & Báez, we assist individuals and families throughout Palm Beach County and the surrounding areas in seeking fair financial compensation and holding negligent parties accountable for the harm they cause.
Our Boynton Beach personal injury attorneys can assist you with all aspects of your case, from determining whether you have grounds to file a third-party claim to gathering important evidence in support of your case. We will even handle all communication with the insurance company on your behalf, allowing you the ability to focus on what matters most: healing.
Understanding Florida’s Personal Injury Laws
Before filing a personal injury claim, there are several important rules you should know. Generally speaking, anyone who has been injured because of someone else’s negligent or wrongful (i.e., unlawful) conduct may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida. However, the specifics of your case affect when you may file a claim, as well as what you will need to prove to successfully recover compensation for your damages.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Lawsuits in Florida?
The first thing you should know is that, like other states, Florida has what is known as a “statute of limitations” on personal injury cases. The statute of limitations is simply the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. Once it has expired, the defendant (or the defendant’s legal counsel) can request that any claims brought be dismissed by the court.
In Florida, the statute of limitations on nearly all personal injury lawsuits is four years. The clock typically begins running on the date of the injury. However, if the injury was not and could not have reasonably been discovered right away, the statute of limitations may be “tolled,” or deferred, from the date on which the injury was discovered or reasonably could have been discovered.
Other exceptions and deadlines may apply. We encourage you to reach out to a member of our team as soon as possible after an accident or injury so that you do not miss out on your right to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover the fair compensation you are owed.
Is Florida a No-Fault Car Insurance State?
Florida is one of a handful of states to follow a no-fault car insurance system. Under this system, most victims of motor vehicle accidents—including car, truck, and motorcycle collisions—are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other miscellaneous economic damages resulting from an accident regardless of who was at fault. You may file a personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) claim with your auto insurance provider and receive compensation.
However, no-fault insurance limits are relatively low. Often, victims’ damages far exceed their PIP and/or MedPay limits, especially after serious accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries. Additionally, no-fault insurance does not provide any compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. To go outside the no-fault system, one must prove that their injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold.
In Florida, a “serious injury” is defined as:
- A permanent injury
- Significant and/or permanent scarring
- Significant and/or permanent disfigurement
- An injury resulting in significant and/or permanent impairment or loss of use of a bodily function, member, organ, or system
In addition to proving that you have sustained a “serious injury,” you must also prove that the other driver (or another party) was at least partly at fault for the crash that led to your injuries and damages.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is a rule that applies when two or more parties share some portion of the blame for an accident or incident that led to bodily injury, property damage, and/or death. Under comparative negligence, an individual may still file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for damages resulting from an injury-causing event if they were partly at fault. However, depending on the type of comparative negligence rule in place, being more at fault than the other party/parties may bar an individual from filing a claim.
Florida follows a rule of “pure” comparative negligence, which allows an injured individual to file a personal injury claim as long as the other party was at least one percent at fault. So, even if you were mostly at fault for an accident, you can still be compensated for your damages. However, the amount you can recover in compensation will be affected by your percentage of fault. For example, if the insurance adjuster and/or court finds you 20 percent at fault, your recovery will be reduced by 20 percent. If you are seeking $10,000 in damages, this means you could only recover up to $8,000, or 80 percent of the total amount.
Do You Have to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
There is no law stating that you must hire a personal injury lawyer; however, there are many reasons to do so. Numerous studies have found that people who work with attorneys tend to recover better settlements than those who try to resolve their personal injury claims on their own. This is largely because insurance companies know that attorneys understand the law and what to do to maximize their clients’ recoveries. An attorney will also be able to represent your interests in court, if necessary.
In addition to improving your chance of recovering a higher settlement or better verdict, working with a personal injury lawyer allows you the opportunity to focus on your physical recovery without having to worry about your case. Your attorney can put together a powerful claim on your behalf, communicate with the insurance company so you don’t have to, and, if necessary, advocate tirelessly for you at trial.
When you turn to the team at Smith, Ball & Báez, you get the advantage of working with real trial lawyers with a long history of success in complex personal injury matters. We are known throughout the community for our willingness to go to court, as well as our many million- and multimillion-dollar results. Our Boynton Beach personal injury lawyers and dedicated support staff provide compassionate, personalized legal counsel every step of the way, all while fighting for the justice and full compensation you are owed. Whether you were involved in a motor vehicle or boating accident, injured by a defective product or unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, or lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, Smith, Ball & Báez is ready to fight for you.
Over $100 Million Recovered
Our results speak for themselves, and our team is dedicated to winning for you.
AV-Rated With Martindale Hubbell
We are ranked by the most prestigious peer review rating an attorney can receive for high ethical standards and professional ability.
Over 65 Years of Experience
With over 65 years of combined experience, our attorneys know what it takes to win for you while adhering to the highest ethical standards.
Our attorneys are committed to excellence and are recognized for their hard work with many accolades from the legal community.
We're Not Afraid to Litigate
We're trial lawyers at heart and don't shy away from the courtroom; we'll put our compassionate tenacity to work for you.
A Florida Firm With Extensive Resources
No case is too big; we'll utilize our large network of experts, connections in the legal community, and deep well of resources to help you win.