Personal injury lawyers routinely deal with all kinds of issues related to car accidents and securing the largest possible sum of money for their clients. An accident in the West Palm Beach area of Florida can be used as a point of instruction related to how attorneys assist their clients in these kinds of cases.

A fatal accident occurred in Lake Worth, Florida just south of West Palm Beach.

Driver makes blind turn and their passenger is killed

The Florida Highway Patrol released a statement that the crash occurred on a Friday night near Lake Worth Road and 2nd Avenue North. The elderly driver of the car was attempting to make a left turn and did not see a car travelling in the opposite direction on 2nd Avenue North. The passenger of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene shortly afterward. The driver of that car was in critical condition at a local hospital in the area.

A person in the other car that hit them as they were making the turn also needed to be treated for injuries. Additional information related to the accident would be released pending an investigation.

An overview of personal injury cases

Most automobile accidents that are handled by attorneys will result in a couple of different kinds of civil lawsuits. Keep in mind that even if a driver is charged criminally for an act such as reckless driving or given traffic citations, the civil lawsuit filed against them is a separate matter meant to award the victim with monetary damages rather than punish the defendant, as in a criminal case.

Most car accident lawsuits are actually negligence cases. This is one of the most common types of civil cases and a large section of tort law. A negligence case essentially provides a victim with an amount of money related to the harm caused by another person. In cases related to automobile accidents, the elements of negligence are proven by showing that the driver at fault breached their duty of care on the roads and caused injuries or property damage to other people.

Economic and non-economic damages

The most important element of a negligence case is damages. This is because plaintiffs want to be paid for their injuries and other problems.There are two types of damages that can be claimed after an accident. They are economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are calculated based on the amount of actual harm a person has suffered because of an accident. For example, things like damage to a car, missed time from work, and costs of medical treatment can all be added up to come up with the economic value of an accident. Attorneys can use various documents to prove this amount of damages and ask for them to be paid back to the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit when the defendant is found to be at fault.

Non-economic damages are less straightforward, but they also give an attorney more room to argue. This is essentially a way to tie emotional pain and suffering and psychological trauma caused by the accident to a monetary value. Accidents that result in severe injuries, permanent disfigurement, or death often cause chronic or long-term problems for a person’s stress levels and mental health. As an advocate, a lawyer will attempt to assign the highest monetary value possible to the continued stress produced by the accident.

Wrongful death cases

A situation like the news story above also presents an opportunity to discuss a certain type of personal injury claim, known as wrongful death lawsuits. When a person dies in an accident they are no longer around to file a lawsuit, but certain family members can still bring a case on their behalf. Florida’s wrongful death statute allows spouses, children, or those who were financially dependent on the victim to bring an action to recover certain expenses. These can be related to funeral costs, medical treatment, the person’s future lost wages, and the value of any other services they would have been able to provide. Future lost wages are especially important, as this can equal a person’s annual salary multiplied by the number of years they would work until retirement.

Learn more about personal injury cases

Remember that each accident is different and it is impossible to give specific advice without knowing the facts of your personal situation. A conversation with a lawyer is the only way to give concrete numbers related to damages or a probability of success in any lawsuit. Your lawyer will be able to provide more detailed information about a brief consultation.

Get help from a lawyer in your area today

If you have been hurt in a car accident in West Palm Beach or anywhere nearby, there is legal help available. The attorneys at Smith and Vanture provide local clients with legal advice and assistance after all kinds of injuries.