Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers is a Florida legal practice handling the full range of personal injury matters affecting individuals and families, from car accidents to wrongful death. We take our clients’ well-being very seriously at Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers and are determined to provide the best possible representation and obtain the best possible outcome in every case. This means that in the office, you’ll find approachable legal professionals genuinely concerned with understanding and meeting your needs. But when it comes to litigating your personal injury claim, you’ll have a tenacious, aggressive lawyer fighting for your rights and interests. This combination distinguishes Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers among personal injury lawyers.
Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers is an English and Spanish-speaking legal practice available 24/7 to talk about your case and answer your questions.
Board-Certified and Recognized for Excellence in Personal Injury Law
Scott Smith is a board-certified civil trial attorney, focused exclusively in the area of personal injury law. He has represented injury victims in cases involving every type of loss, including catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, as well as injuries involving defective products and medical malpractice. Many of these cases have resulted in million-dollar settlements and verdicts, double and triple the amounts generally offered by insurance companies when injury victims don’t have strong legal representation.
Proven Results in a Wide Range of Personal Injury Matters
Personal injuries can result from endless scenarios and circumstances. However, the cases we handle most often at Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers involve motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and—their water equivalent —boating accidents. Undeniably, drivers make numerous and frequent bad decisions behind the wheel, from speeding to cellphone use to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, causing avoidable collisions and injuries as a result. But we don’t handle car accident cases simply because they are numerous. We care about holding negligent and reckless drivers accountable for their actions, which in many cases have significantly changed and devastated our clients’ lives.
Our firm also handles personal injury cases involving premises liability, products liability, and medical malpractice. Premises liability claims include slip and fall accidents, trip and fall accidents, and other injuries resulting from poorly maintained and/or hazardous property. If you or a loved one was injured or became ill due to a dangerous or defective product, you may have a products liability claim against the parties responsible for releasing the product into the marketplace. And for medical malpractice, we’re looking at injuries and illnesses caused by a medical professional’s mistake or oversight, such as surgical errors, misdiagnoses, and birth injuries.
With all these types of accidents, the most disastrous and overwhelming outcome is the death of a family member. At Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers, our Palm Beach County & Treasure Coast personal injury lawyers help families recover fair compensation in the event of a wrongful death, with a thorough understanding of Florida wrongful death law and utmost sensitivity to our clients’ grief.
Florida Personal Injury FAQs
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or suffered a personal injury because of someone else’s negligence, you probably have a lot of questions about how you’ll get compensation for your injuries, especially if the driver who hit you was uninsured or if you’re being blamed for causing part of the accident. As a Florida Bar Board Certified civil trial lawyer, Palm Beach Gardens personal injury attorney Scott B. Smith has the answers to your questions and can help you get the compensation you need and deserve. See below for answers to some frequently asked questions about personal injury law in Florida, and contact Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers if you have other questions of your own or need help pursuing a claim for damages in Palm Beach County.
What does it mean to be Board-Certified as a civil trial specialist?
Florida Bar board-certified attorneys must have at least five years of experience in the practice of law, including devoting 50% or more of their practice to their field of specialty (like civil trial law) in the past three years. A civil trial specialist must have handled at least 15 contested civil cases, including conducting cases before juries as lead counsel. Specialists have also completed 50 hours of continuing legal education in the field of specialty and completed a peer review process. Finally, a certified specialist in trial law must pass a seven-hour written exam covering topics such as litigation skills, knowledge of rules of evidence and civil procedure, and ethics.
About five percent of Florida attorneys are certified as specialists by The Florida Bar.
What happens if the driver who hit me is uninsured?
This is not just an academic question. Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country, with more than one in four drivers on the road driving without insurance to cover their liability if they hit and injure someone in a crash.
If you’re injured in a crash, even if the driver was uninsured, you can still recover some compensation for medical expenses from your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. However, PIP may only cover $10,000 in damages, or as little as $2,500 if your injury did not qualify as an “emergency medical condition” under the law.
Beyond PIP benefits, you can also apply for Uninsured Motorist benefits from your insurance coverage, assuming you opted for UM coverage when you purchased bodily injury liability. If this is the case, you can recover compensation for more types of damages than PIP allows (pain and suffering, lost wages and disability, loss of enjoyment in life, etc.) and at much higher policy limits. The insurance company may try to limit their exposure to you by disputing who was at fault or how extensive your injuries are, so it’s wise to have an experienced car accident attorney negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive full value for your claim.
Can I get punitive damages?
Punitive damages are monetary awards aimed more at punishing the wrongdoer than compensating the victim for a direct economic loss. Punitive damages are also sometimes called exemplary damages, as they can be used to make an example out of the wrongdoer to deter others from engaging in such conduct. Under Florida law, punitive damages are limited to cases of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
“Intentional misconduct” means the person knew the conduct was wrong and highly likely to cause injury but intentionally did it anyway. “Gross negligence” means the person was so reckless or careless that it showed a conscious disregard or indifference to another person’s life or safety. For example, punitive damages could possibly be appropriate for injuries caused by the following:
- Drunk driving
- Street racing
- Drunk boating
- Running a bicyclist off the road
- Choosing not to recall a known dangerously defective product
Intentional misconduct or gross negligence must be proven by “clear and convincing evidence,” which is a tougher standard than is required for other elements of a personal injury case. Nevertheless, Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers invests the time and effort to pursue punitive damages in appropriate cases, in order to hold responsible parties fully accountable and to maximize the compensation for injury victims.
What if I was partly to blame in causing the accident?
Florida personal injury law follows a rule of “pure comparative negligence.” What this means is that any percentage of blame assigned to you will result in a proportionate reduction in the amount of compensation you can recover, but it does not keep you from pursuing a claim against another negligent party. So, if your damages are $100,000 but you are ten percent to blame, you’ll only recover $90,000. If you are 40% at fault, you’ll only recover $60,000, and so on.
Insurance companies like to tell you how much of an accident was your fault, and juries like to compromise. At Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers, we apply years of experience negotiating personal injury settlements and litigating personal injury jury verdicts to make sure you are not unfairly assigned any portion of the blame for an accident. We’ll defend you against unwarranted claims of negligence while proving a strong case for the other party’s liability to you.
The Best Ratings in the Legal Profession
Over the course of his career, Scott Smith has earned the best ratings in the legal profession, including Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and an AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. These ratings consider an attorney’s ability and ethics, as well as the confidential opinions of other lawyers and judges. These honors are bestowed only upon lawyers who demonstrate extraordinary legal capability and conduct themselves with dignity in the practice of law. Scott Smith has been proven to meet these requirements, while providing bold, aggressive representation that gets results.
Representing Injury Victims in Palm Beach County & Across Florida
Our firm represents injury victims throughout Florida, including Palm Beach County (our home base), West Palm Beach, Treasure Coast (Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce), and Naples. Members of our team speak English and Spanish, and we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and discuss your case. As an accident victim, you weren’t planning to be involved in a legal matter or hire an attorney. So, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t owe us any fees until we obtain compensation on your behalf.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident in the Palm Beach County area, please contact Smith, Ball & Baez Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. Our Florida personal injury lawyers are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve—a meaningful recovery that delivers justice in addition to money.