If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’re entitled to recover damages, but you may not realize how difficult that can be without the assistance of a diligent car accident attorney. You might assume that your expenses are covered between your car insurance policy and your medical insurance, but that’s not always the case. And even when your damages are covered, you may be facing a number of immediate challenges, such as paying insurance deductibles, getting your car back from the tow yard before you accrue storage costly storage fees, identifying witnesses to your car accident, collecting medical records, gathering information on doctors and rescue workers — the list goes on. Part of a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer’s job is to coordinate and execute many of these tasks on your behalf. Without an attorney in your corner, you may find it very difficult to recover compensation from a hospital bed or even from your home while you recover from your injuries.
If you have been in a car accident in Fort Lauderdale and you believe the other driver is at fault, then you may be entitled to compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. While it may seem straightforward to file a claim against someone else’s insurance — especially if it is clear that you are not at fault — the reality is that getting the money you deserve is more complicated than meets the eye. Insurance companies focus on paying as little as possible for any given claim, and you will need to negotiate aggressively to get a settlement that accurately reflects the damages you have incurred.
Fortunately, 1-800-Injured can connect you with experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys who offer free initial consultations and who will work with you to make a full and fair financial recovery.
Hiring a car accident lawyer could be the leverage that you need in order to hold the culpable parties accountable.
Contact 1-800-Injured For a Free Consultation Today
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. We connect Fort Lauderdale auto accident victims with car accident lawyers who know the ins and outs of car accident litigation in Broward County. Contact us immediately to be connected with an experienced personal injury attorney near you.
What To Do After a Car Accident
After a serious accident in Fort Lauderdale, you can understandably be overwhelmed as you try to make sense of what to do. The following information is general guidance for how to proceed in a way that prioritizes your health and sets the stage for fair compensation for your injuries. Your adrenaline can cause you to not notice your injuries right off the bat, and sometimes people may accidentally make statements that come back to haunt them — things such as denying medical care or apologizing to the other driver (implying fault).
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. Take a moment to collect yourself and check in with your passengers, and then take these steps. Remember that if your injuries are so serious that you are unable to perform these steps, you should prioritize your health above all.
You should call 911 immediately to make sure that first responders are dispatched to the scene and so the other driver doesn’t try to convince you to handle the situation without involving the authorities. Many people may try to bargain with you, offer cash on the spot, or otherwise try to keep from going through the proper channels, all of which can impact you getting the compensation you deserve.
If your vehicle is leaking gas, smoking, or otherwise seems like it is adding to your risk of injury as you wait for 911, you should get to a sidewalk, median strip, or another area of safety. Otherwise, it may be appropriate to remain in the vehicle to avoid any complications or additional injuries.
Get Medical Care
After motor vehicle accidents, it is essential that you get checked, whether or not you have a serious injury. First, you may have an injury that does not show itself immediately that a medical professional may be able to recognize. Secondly, personal injury lawyers will use all of the documentation relating to your medical care, starting with the initial check by the EMTs at the scene. Many people try to avoid working with EMTs because they are worried about the costs, but these costs will be included in your accident claim.
Seek Follow-Up Medical Attention
If you take an ambulance to the hospital, this will already happen, but if you leave the scene of the accident on your own, you will need to schedule a follow-up with your primary care physician as soon as possible. Auto accidents can cause a wide range of injuries that may or may not be obvious to you from the start, and your attorney will be able to recognize them and hopefully avoid a serious injury that could arise from lack of treatment.
Contact A Lawyer
Car accident victims deserve fair compensation for their injuries, but too often, they wait until after their claims investigation is concluded to consider working with personal injury lawyers. After your car crash, you should think about hiring a lawyer as soon as possible, so a legal professional is handling your claim from the start, giving you time to focus on your injuries while they fight to get you the money you deserve.
Never Sign Anything
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 after any car accidents. 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, FL can feel like traveling through a much larger metropolis. When you consider that approximately 75.5% of Florida residents are drivers, it comes as no surprise that areas like Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, FL, and the surrounding municipalities have millions of drivers passing through on major thoroughfares like I-95, US 1, and east-west boulevards, like Broward, Sunrise, and Oakland, on any given day.
In the most recent crash data available from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida had a total of 401,867 crashes involving 689,474 drivers. This averages to 1,101 crashes every day. Of those statewide accidents, 41,114 took place in Broward County, with a total of 214 fatalities and 23,671 injuries reported. As you can imagine, Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyers have a lot of experience handling South Florida crashes and will be able to help you recover the compensation that you deserve.
COMMON CAR ACCIDENTS TYPES AND CAUSES IN FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
The following are a few examples of the most common auto crashes in Fort Lauderdale, FL, but whether or not you see your specific type of car crash mentioned below, contact us now for a free consultation and to connect with an accident lawyer.
Fort Lauderdale is home to many injury attorneys, but 1-800-Injured can help you skip the hassle and find a lawyer who is ready to take your case today.
According to the NHSTA, distracted driving was a factor in 3,142 wrongful death accidents in the United States in 2019. 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 lose control of the vehicle.
Alcohol and DUI
According to the Center for Disease Control, one in three traffic fatalities involve a drunk driver, and in 2019, the Florida DHSMV reported 136 alcohol confirmed injury crashes resulting in 59 injuries and 16 fatalities in Broward County alone. 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 wrongful death. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, a Fort Lauderdale car crash lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
The Benefits Of Working With a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are complicated, and the legal process following your Fort Lauderdale auto accident can be overwhelming as you try to recover from your injuries while fighting with the insurance company for the money you rightfully deserve. Fortunately, car accident lawyers have years of experience handling these processes, meaning you can stay focused on your recovery without having to take on the psychological burden of negotiating fair compensation for your injuries.
Determining Fair Compensation After Fort Lauderdale, FL Car Accidents
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:
Economic damages 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 partner with an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney who can assist you in determining the various types of damages you have incurred and who will work with you to ensure that you are properly compensated. Keep in mind that as soon as you begin the process of a personal injury claim against an insurance company, they will bring out their legal team — make sure you come prepared.
Important Aspects Of Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Law
Car accidents in Fort Lauderdale fall under Florida laws. Law enforcement and judicial processes vary from region to region, which is why you need to be represented by an attorney who knows the laws, statutes, and other key components of the Broward County legal system.
Fort Lauderdale auto accidents are investigated by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, or the Florida Highway Patrol, depending on where the accident happened. 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 a car accident attorney who understands the process for accidents in Broward County specifically.
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 earning ability, without worrying about arbitrary limits. Punitive damages, which are only awarded by a judge or jury in particularly egregious accidents, 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 lawyers, however, would prefer to begin the process as quickly as possible. An early start ensures that there’s time to negotiate with the insurance company in the event that an out-of-court settlement can be reached. Statistically, most personal injury cases are settled before going to court, and even then, the majority of cases are settled before trial. Of course, this is no guarantee for your own situation but is a great reason why you should be working with a Broward County car accident attorney as soon as possible.
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 suffered a car accident injury, you may be surprised at the extent of the services that you’ll require to make a full recovery. Even seemingly minor car accidents can result in:
- An ambulance ride to the hospital (Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue charges $700-750 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 Broward County to recover compensation.
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 is a no-fault insurance coverage that 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 is “no-fault” insurance, meaning that it will pay regardless of who caused the accident. . As stated, anyone who owns 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 South 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 can be 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 attorney 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 Auto Accident Cases
The following are five frequently asked questions that the attorneys in the 1800-Injured referral service have submitted and answered:
Do I really need an attorney after car accidents?
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 that have a serious, measurable impact on a victim’s life. 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 for a free consultation who can determine whether or not you will benefit from their support.
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 due to Florida’s “comparative negligence” laws, as well as the fact that further inspection of the crash may change the initial decision. While police officers are trained to investigate accident scenes and determine who was likely at-fault, their word is not final. You should have a trained car accident attorney 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 after car accidents. 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
Always remember: when you sign a contingency fee contract with a lawyer, your attorney isn’t paid unless you either settle your claim or are awarded damages at the conclusion of a trial. These fees make comprehensive legal representation more accessible for the average Floridian and can help you get the money you deserve for someone else’s reckless or negligent driving.
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.