Have you been in a car accident in Fort Lauderdale? Do you believe that you have a right to recover damages from the other driver, because the other driver caused the accident that left you injured? If you are dealing directly with the other driver’s insurance company, you may have already found out that an insurance company will do everything in their power to avoid making a fair payment to the injured party. Instead, they will work to complicate the process, and place as much blame as possible on you, even if you were not found to be at fault. Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys offer free initial consultations, and will work with you to make a full and fair financial recovery, and hiring a car accident lawyer could be the leverage that you need in order to hold the culpable parties accountable.
1800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. We connect Fort Lauderdale car accident victims with accident attorneys who know the ins and outs of car accident litigation in Broward County. Contact us immediately to be connected with an experienced car accident attorney near you.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Florida
Being in a serious accident that causes you to sustain injuries can be a traumatic experience. There’s a good chance that you can go into shock as your body attempts to compensate for your injuries.
However, it’s essential that you make the right decisions regarding your safety and wellbeing at the time of the accident as well as in the hours and days immediately following it.
What to do at the scene of a car accident
- Call 911 and wait for police and fire rescue to respond to the scene.
- Remain in your vehicle unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave (i.e. gas or chemical spills, vehicle submerged in water, et cetera).
- Check on other injured parties, but do not move them.
- Allow paramedics to examine you on scene, even if you intend to see your own doctor later.
- Allow paramedics to transport you to the hospital if they recommend it.
What to do in the first 24 hours after an accident
- If you are transported to the emergency room, allow the doctors to perform any tests or scans that they recommend. Early detection of an injury can be the key to a faster recovery.
- If you are admitted, remain at the hospital until you’re released under the recommendation of a doctor.
- If you aren’t able to return to work by the start of your next workday, notify your employer.
- Fill all prescriptions that you’ve been issued.
- Contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney as soon as possible. A professional accident lawyer who handles car accidents can give you valuable advice as to how you should proceed. Additionally, they can help you document evidence for future courtroom testimony should litigation become necessary.
It’s also important that you DO NOT sign a waiver in exchange for a check from an insurance company without speaking to a lawyer. Fort Lauderdale area insurance companies have been known to send adjusters to meet with accident victims at the scene of an accident or at the hospital where an accident victim is receiving treatment to negotiate settlements right after the crash. These offers may seem generous, but they nearly always fall short of an appropriate settlement amount.
Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Statistics
With the population of Broward County approaching 2 million, and an additional 4 million combined residents in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, driving through Fort Lauderdale can feel like traveling through a much larger metropolis. When you consider that approximately 75.5% of Florida residents are drivers, Fort Lauderdale has millions of drivers crossing through our city on major thoroughfares like I-95, US 1, and east-west boulevards, like Broward, Sunrise, and Oakland, on any given day, and if you’ve ever driven down to Fort Lauderdale Beach on a holiday weekend or when the Tortuga Music Festival is in town, it will be no surprise to you that Fort Lauderdale leads the county in car accidents.
In the most recent crash data available from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Broward County experienced:
|Crashes with Injuries||24,762||25,361||23,473|
According to statistics, Fort Lauderdale was number two in the state of Florida for all three categories, with only Miami-Dade County having more crashes, fatal crashes, and crashes with injuries.
Common Car Accidents Types and Causes in Fort Lauderdale
What’s the most common cause of car accidents? Distracted driving? Speeding? Construction Zones? Inclement Weather? Fort Lauderdale may be one of the most dangerous places to drive because drivers must contend with nearly every leading cause of car accidents.
Here are a few of the most common causes for car accidents and the types of crashes that occur because of them:
According to the NHSTA, distracted driving cost 3,450 lives in the United States in 2016. Oftentimes, the driver doesn’t see a red light, stop sign or stopped vehicle ahead of them, which can lead to rear-end collisions, t-bone collisions at intersections, and even head-on collisions.
Driving at high speeds may or may not directly cause an accident, but it can certainly make it worse. When driving at high speeds, the driver has less time to react to the movements of other cars, which increases the chance of a collision or that the driver will loss of control of the vehicle. All accident types can occur at high speeds, including rear-end collisions, lane-violation collisions, sideswipes, rollovers, single-car accidents, et cetera.
According to the Federal Department of Transportation, 21% of all crashes are weather-related. Even after a few minutes of rain, the roads become slippery enough to drastically reduce vehicle traction, which extends stopping distance. In addition, a moderately heavy downpour markedly reduces your visibility. Rain and thunderstorms can result in rear-end collisions; collisions at intersections; vehicle impacts with offroad objects, like streetlight posts or barricades; and head-on collisions resulting from vehicles sliding out of control on turns. Fort Lauderdale is a city that is frequently hit with rainstorms. Thus, inclement weather is often a contributing factor in a large percentage of car accidents that occur in Fort Lauderdale every year.
Alcohol and DUI
According to the Center for Disease Control, one in three traffic fatalities involve a drunk driver, and in 2017, the Florida DHSMV reported 1,946 alcohol confirmed injury crashes resulting in 3,035 injuries. We know that drinking and driving causes accidents, and a large percentage of the alcohol-related accidents in Fort Lauderdale result in injury and even death. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, a car accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Ask any server or bartender in Fort Lauderdale, and they will tell you that the tourist season begins around Thanksgiving and ends around Easter. While this is a tremendous boom for the local economy, it also means that there are far more people on the roads, and many of them don’t know their way around town. This causes a seasonal spike in the number of reported car accidents, and many of those result in injuries.
Do I Really Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Not all accidents require a professional car accident lawyer. In many cases, the value of the damage caused by a parking lot accident or a minor low-speed fender bender may not even be enough to make paying your insurance deductible a cost-effective option.
In most instances, however, even low-speed accidents with moderate damage can result in injuries, such as whiplash. If you or anyone in your car has an injury, you may need a lawyer. If you contact 1800-Injured, we can connect you with a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer who can determine whether or not you require representation, and there’s no charge for this service.
The following list represents some of the questions that a car accident lawyer will ask you during your initial consultation:
- Are you or other individuals in your car injured?
- Did the police come to the scene and make a report?
- Were you treated by paramedics on the scene of the accident?
- Did you go to the hospital?
- Have you been to your doctor since the accident?
- Are you able to work?
- Has anyone from yours or the other party’s insurance company contacted you?
- Have you accepted any settlement offers from an insurance company?
It’s important to note that these questions are just to establish a starting point. Even if you feel that your answers aren’t favorable to your case, you should still contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney through the 1800-injured service immediately.
What a Car Accident Lawyer Can do for You
If you and an attorney decide that your case requires representation, they are able to provide many helpful services in addition to assisting you in your pursuit of compensation for your injuries. Some of these services include:
- A review of your case
- Analysis of all of the evidence and testimony from witnesses
- Calculation of all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, et cetera
- Professional negotiations with the responsible insurer
- Courtroom litigation if necessary
- Point of contact for your employer, should you be out of work or require an accommodation
Your attorney will be the sole point of contact for the insurance company, their attorneys, and their claims adjusters. If someone has a question regarding your claim, your car accident lawyer will answer it.
What Am I Owed After a Car Accident?
No two car accidents are alike. Meaning, the process for handling each claim is unique. Depending on the nature and severity of your accident, however, there are common factors that will cause you to pursue damages against the at-fault driver’s insurance company:
This is a fairly simple number to figure out: if your car is not totaled, then you will need to get a repair estimate from a trusted mechanic. If it is totaled, then you will calculate the replacement value of your car. In addition, you will include the value of any other property that was damaged in the accident, such as a bike on your roof rack, a television you were transporting, or anything else of value.
Calculating the value of the injuries you sustained as a result of the accident can be somewhat more complicated than calculating your property damages, but an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney will be able to walk you through each of these steps and determine the proper amount of compensation that you should seek to recover from the at-fault driver by analyzing the types of damages you have incurred such as:
Economic damages are include anything that has a specific price attached to it. This will include your past medical bills and a realistic estimate of future medical bills, plus the cost of any other physical recovery-related expenses. In addition, you will include any current or projected lost wages incurred due to your injuries. Moreover, you and your attorney will work to calculate the long-term impact your injury could have on your life, such as an inability to return to your field of employment or a diminished ability to earn what you could before your injuries. These are extremely important factors to include in your settlement or lawsuit because they have a very real negative effect on your quality of life.
If you were in an accident because of another driver’s negligence, there is no reason for you to suffer financially because of it. Contact a Fort Lauderdale accident attorney today to discuss your monetary loss.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate in a personal injury case, but they are just as important. Together with your attorney, you will determine a fair and just amount of money that will properly compensate you for things such as your pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, emotional trauma, or loss of enjoyment of any number of activities. It is extremely important that you employ the services of a legal professional who can assist you in determining the various types of non-economic damages you have incurred and who will work with you to ensure that you are properly compensated for these damages. Keep in mind, as soon as you begin the process of a personal injury claim against an insurance company, they will bring out their top legal team — make sure you come prepared.
Important Aspects of Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Law
Car accidents in Fort Lauderdale fall under the laws of the state of Florida. Law enforcement and judicial processes vary from region to region, which is why you need to be represented by an attorney who knows the processes, judges, and other key components of the Broward County legal system.
Car accidents occurring in the city of Fort Lauderdale are investigated by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, or the Florida Highway Patrol, depending on where they occur. Most civil cases resulting from a Fort Lauderdale car accident are litigated in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Florida’s Civil Division. Law enforcement and judicial processes vary from region to region, which is why you need to be represented by an attorney who knows the processes, judges, and other key components of the Broward County legal system.
Florida Damage Caps
The state of Florida has no caps for compensatory damages in personal injury lawsuits. That means that you can be fully compensated for your damages, including pain and suffering, lost wages, and diminished capacity without interference from a statutory cap. Punitive damages, which are not always awarded, are limited to the greater of three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000.
Statute of Limitations
For most Fort Lauderdale car accidents, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the accident. If the case involves wrongful death, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the person’s death. Most Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys, however, would prefer to begin the process as quickly as possible. That ensures that there’s time to negotiate with the insurance company in the event that an out-of-court settlement can be reached.
Other Important Factors in Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Cases
Medical Factors in Your Recovery
Healthcare in South Florida is never cheap, but if you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be surprised at the extent of the services that you’ll require to make a full recovery. Even a moderate car accident injury can require:
- An ambulance ride to the hospital (Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue charges $750 and $13 per mile)
- Emergency Room Services
- X Rays, MRIs, and other scans
- Prescription medications
- Follow-up appointment with specialists
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
It’s easy to see how these costs can quickly accumulate. If you’re out of work from your injuries, you could be fighting a financial battle on both fronts. That’s why it’s essential to have legal representation from a qualified personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.
The state of Florida requires a minimum of $10,000 of personal injury protection and $10,000 property damage liability.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP will cover medical expenses and lost wages incurred as a result of your injuries or the injuries of uninsured passengers in your vehicle at a rate of 80% up to the limit of your policy. If your passengers own a car and have insurance, their policy will cover them at the same rate up to the limits of their policies. PIP coverage will pay for these expenses regardless of whether or not you were at fault. As stated, anyone who ones or operates a motor vehicle in Florida is required to carry at least $10,000 PIP insurance coverage by law.
Property Damage Liability (PDL): This covers damage to other people’s property (i.e. other vehicles, fences, et cetera) caused by you, and similar PIP insurance, the state of Florida requires all drivers to carry at least $10,000 in PDL insurance.
Bodily Injury Liability (BIL): This insurance covers injuries or death to other individuals. It is not required under Florida law.
As you might already be aware, the $10,000 minimum PIP will, more than likely, not be enough to cover your medical bills if you are involved in a serious crash and as a result, sustain serious injuries. Your attorney can assist you in pursuing a civil claim for the full amount of compensation for these injuries from the responsible parties and their insurer.
Liability in Florida Car Accident Cases
You may have been told that Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to car accident liability. That means that regardless of who is at fault, each party is compensated to a certain degree by their own insurer. In the event that your damages exceed your insurance limits, however, you can pursue damages from the at-fault driver.
This is where a car accident lawyer comes into play. They can review your case and determine the degree to which the other driver was at fault for causing the car accident.
FAQ for Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Cases
The following are five frequently asked questions that the attorneys in the 1800-Injured referral service have submitted and answered:
- What are my out-of-pocket costs when hiring a car accident attorney?
$0. Car accident attorneys offer free consultations and are only paid if you get a settlement or court-ordered award.
- What if the police found me at fault for the accident?
You may still be able to recover damages. While police officers are trained to investigate accident scenes and determine who was more than likely at-fault, their word is not final. You should have a trained car accident lawyer review your case.
- Why shouldn’t I accept the insurance company’s settlement?
The insurance companies want to limit their exposure to large settlements and lawsuits. That means that they’re willing to pay a lower amount of money in exchange for you to sign a waiver, which will prevent you from seeking additional compensation.
- What if I thought I was fine after the accident, but my injuries surfaced later?
If you delayed seeing a doctor, you could still have a case. Contact 1800-Injured, and we will connect you to a car accident lawyer.
- What are the contingency fee limits for attorneys in Florida?
- 33? percent of up to $1 million for any settlement before filing suit
- 40 percent of up to $1 million for any settlement after filing suit
- An additional 30 percent on any settlement or verdict award for the portion of $1 million to $2 million
- 20 percent of any portion above $2 million
Injury Accident Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
Whether you’re a tourist, part-time resident, or you call Fort Lauderdale your year-round home, you should be aware that it is a dangerous place to drive. If you are injured in a car accident, you could be facing astronomical medical expenses and months of recovery time. 1-800-INJURED is a referral service for car accident attorneys and medical service providers. Contact us immediately to be connected with one of our network attorneys.