The last thing anyone wants is to get into a wreck on Boca Raton roads. However, regardless of how careful you are, someone else is not paying attention or is outright negligent; sometimes, it’s not another person that causes the wreck but poorly maintained roads or even the weather.
The roads in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County not only handle a lot of local traffic, but they also handle a lot of tourist traffic throughout the year. While the area does have a tourist season, because of the nice weather, it sees tourists throughout the year. The more people driving on the roads, the higher chance of getting into a wreck, especially on roads that are not well-maintained.
Dangerous Roads in Boca Raton
Roads in any city can be dangerous for several reasons, including poor road design, traffic congestion, and speeding. In Boca Raton, the most dangerous roads are also the busiest roads. Some of the most dangerous areas in the city include:
- Palmetto Park Road.
- U.S. 1 from 8th Street and Mizner Boulevard to Spanish River Road.
- Florida 808 and Glades Road to Florida 845 and Powerline Road.
- Military Trail from Florida 794 and Yamato Road to Clint Moore Road.
I-95 and Dixie Highway are also very busy but see fewer crashes than the other roads listed. Because of the amount of traffic on any of these roads, it pays to stay alert in the hopes that you can avoid a wreck.
Causes of Accidents in Boca Raton
Accidents can happen for many reasons. Most of those reasons are because a driver is negligent. However, in some cases, negligence doesn’t play a part. For example, if a driver has an unexpected heart attack and has no reason to suspect having a heart attack, the law doesn’t consider that negligence. On the other hand, if a driver is on medication for heart problems and has had a heart attack in the past but neglects to take the medication and has a heart attack, the driver could be responsible for your damages.
Common causes of road accidents include:
- Poorly maintained roads.
- Poorly designed roads.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Driving while distracted. Even talking to a passenger or looking at your children in the rear seat are distractions.
- Driving while tired. A fatigued driver cannot become alert after a nap, whereas a tired driver can stop and take a 30-minute nap to become alert.
- Poorly maintained vehicles.
- An auto tech doesn’t install parts properly. For example, if the tech forgets to tighten the wheel lugs, the wheels could come off the vehicle and cause an accident.
- Speeding and excessive speeding.
- Reckless and/or aggressive driving.
- Road rage.
- Hitting debris in the road.
Accident Injuries on Boca Raton Roads
About 96,000 people live and work in the small area of about 31.5 square miles that makes up the city of Boca Raton. However, the area is right on the shore, seeing tons of tourist traffic. Boca also sees a lot of trucks that deliver food and goods to the stores in the city and nearby areas. Additionally, Interstate 95 and US-1, both highly traveled, carry traffic along the coast—right through Boca Raton. People get off these highways to stop for lunch, visit friends, shop, and head to the beaches. All this traffic means the risk of accidents is higher, especially if drivers do not know the roads.
The severity of accident injuries depends on several factors, including but not limited to the size of the vehicles involved, the speed of the vehicles, and the number of vehicles involved in the wreck. Accident injuries include:
- Bumps, bruises, cuts, scratches, and punctures.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Chemical and thermal burns.
- Road rash.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Crushed bones and crush injuries.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Ear injuries, including deafness, if the accident causes an explosion.
- Internal injuries.
- Lung injuries if you breathe in smoke or fuel and other chemical fumes.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
- Psychological injuries.
You could also sustain secondary injuries, such as infections from open wounds. The infection could set into a wound you sustained in the accident or a surgical wound. The at-fault driver is responsible for the medical expenses and other losses or damages you suffer for either type.
Additionally, accident injuries could exacerbate existing illnesses or injuries. The at-fault driver is also responsible for the extra care and pain and suffering for the existing injuries, as the existing illness or injury is worse because of the at-fault driver’s negligence.
Finally, you could suffer psychological injuries such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder if the accident is severe or if you believe it is severe. For example, a driver pulls out in front of you. Even though you slam on the brakes, the driver still clips your front fender. Your two-year-old child is in the rear seat. All you can think of is that the at-fault driver is going to kill your child.
Even though neither you nor your child suffered anything more than some bumps and bruises, your mind saw a dead child—and that could affect you, and possibly your child, for the rest of your life. It could cause anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
In other cases, you might sustain catastrophic injuries in a car accident. You have a family of five that rely on you for housing, food, and clothing. Because it is taking so long to recover or because your doctors told you you might never return to work, you suffer depression. The at-fault driver is responsible for psychological therapy to help you through these events.
What to Do After an Accident on Boca Raton Roads
By now, you should have already seen a doctor to determine the extent of your injuries if first responders did not send you to the hospital at the time of the wreck. Your next steps are to start journaling the accident, your injuries, and your recovery process and contact a car accident lawyer to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Your journal can help your attorney, as it “reminds” you of facts you might forget while speaking to your attorney. In it, you should document the following:
- The date, time, and location of the accident.
- Names and contact information for others involved in the wreck and witnesses.
- Every doctor’s appointment you have and what you discussed, and the doctor’s instructions you received during the appointment. Include therapy appointments.
- Keep a daily recovery journal, including your pain, based on the pain scale and your emotions for the day.
Recovering Damages After a Boca Raton Car Accident
If you suffer injuries or lose a loved one in a car accident, you could recover two types of damages: Compensatory damages and punitive damages. Most people recover at least one form of compensatory damages—economic damages. Many recover non-economic damages. A court orders compensatory damages in an attempt to make you whole again.
Recovering punitive damages is more complicated. You can only recover punitive damages if the court orders compensatory damages. Because of this, Florida requires a bifurcated trial—a two-part trial. Since you can only recover punitive damages if the jury awards you compensatory damages, you have to wait until the end of the first part of the trial for the court to hear evidence on punitive damages.
Additionally, the court will only order a defendant to pay punitive damages if you can prove the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional. While it is a hassle to ask for punitive damages, in cases where your injuries are catastrophic or you lost a loved one, it is worth the extra time. You will have the same judge and jury for the second part of the trial if you plan to ask for punitive damages.
Sometimes referred to as general damages, economic damages have a monetary value. Most people injured in car accidents recover some economic damages, including:
Accident injuries can become very expensive to treat, especially if you have catastrophic injuries that cause long-term or permanent disabilities. You can recover medical expenses from the time of the accident through the time of settlement or a trial award and future medical expenses, including:
- Doctors’ appointments.
- Surgeries and follow-up appointments.
- Prescriptions and prescribed over-the-counter medications and medical equipment.
- Ambulatory aids and other medical equipment, such as oxygen tanks.
- Home health care.
- Nursing home and/or rehabilitative home care.
- Physical therapy appointments.
- Occupational therapy appointments.
- Psychological therapy appointments.
- Cognitive therapy appointments.
- Hand controls for your vehicle.
- Updates to your home to make it more accessible, including but not limited to wheelchair ramps, handrails, grab bars, and widened doorways.
You could recover compensation to replace or repair destroyed or damaged personal property, including your vehicle. If anything of value inside the vehicle was damaged or destroyed in the accident, you could also recover compensation to repair or replace those items. For example, if you were carrying a computer or a cell phone and the accident destroyed them, you could recover the cost of those items.
Accident injuries will most likely cause you to lose at least a few days of work if they are minor. Severe injuries could leave you without work for months. Catastrophic injuries and the death of a loved one could leave you without the income you need for the rest of your life.
You can recover lost earnings from the time of the accident through the time of settlement or a trial award. You could also recover loss of earning capacity until the date you or your loved one would normally retire.
Even if your injuries allow you to work part-time, you could recover the loss of partial earning capacity for the difference. And, if you can work full time, but your injuries force you to take a job that pays less than the job you had before the accident, you could also recover the loss of partial earning capacity for the difference in your salary.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you could recover burial and funeral expenses, cremation expenses, and certain probate court costs. If you retain a probate attorney, you could recover probate attorneys’ fees and costs.
Not everyone in a car accident recovers non-economic damages. In most cases, you must have injuries that cause long-term or permanent disabilities or must have lost a loved one in a car accident. While each insurance company might have its own definition of “long-term” or “permanent” disabilities, the Social Security Administration defines them as disabilities that will result in your death or last longer than 12 months.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to make lifelong changes, such as taking prescriptions or using ambulatory aids.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy time with your family or participate in family activities and events.
- Loss of consortium of you can no longer enjoy a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as an arm or a foot.
- Loss of bodily functions, such as your eyesight or bladder control.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, such as house cleaning, grocery shopping, lawn maintenance, and home repair and maintenance.
- Disfigurement and/or excessive scarring.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, contact a Boca Raton car accident lawyer as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.