Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer
No matter where you are, driving requires extreme focus. However, driving in Florida is particularly challenging. The high volume on the roads, aggressive drivers, and bad weather makes it difficult to avoid an accident. Even the best drivers can find themselves involved in a collision.
If you find yourself a victim of a car accident, you could suffer from injuries and financial distress. But a car accident lawyer may be able to limit the consequences of your collision. Here at Friedland and Associates, we can discuss your options and handle your case.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
After a car accident, there are a few things you should do. First, you should call the police. Whether your collision is a fender bender or a serious accident, the police need to document the accident scene. They will record all of the pertinent information and will create a police report. If you have any injuries, be sure to mention them to the police officer.
You should also seek medical attention. Although you might not need an ambulance, you should still go to the doctor. Some injuries do not become obvious until long after the accident. However, a doctor may be able to identify your injury before it worsens.
As soon as possible, you should contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer. They can advise you on things you should avoid, such as posting about your accident on social media. Additionally, they can tell you what you should do. Instead of handling your collision alone, you can receive guidance. This improves your chance of receiving compensation for your injuries and other accident-related consequences.
Either before or after you speak to a lawyer, you should notify your insurance company of the accident. Depending on who was at fault, they may direct you to go through the other party’s insurance. Although Florida is a no-fault state, you can still go through their insurance or file a personal injury claim against the other driver.
Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Statistics
It’s difficult to understand the dangers of driving without knowing some of the local car accident statistics. Although the population in the city is only 182,595, there are many more people on the roads. In fact, the average household has two cars. The area is also a hotspot for tourists, and there are many people who commute to the city from nearby areas.
Due to the high volume of cars on the road, there are thousands of car accidents every year. In Broward County, there were over 41,300 car collisions in 2017. The city of Fort Lauderdale was the location of over 5,000 of those accidents.
In addition to being common, car accidents in the area tend to be dangerous. Of the thousands of crashes in Fort Lauderdale, 26 resulted in deaths. Almost half of them ended with injuries.
The Most Dangerous Roads
Certain roads are more dangerous than others. For instance, the intersection of A1A and Las Olas was the site for over 1,000 accidents in 2015. Another problem area is Atlantic Boulevard and U.S. 1.
If you’re a pedestrian, crossing any street in Fort Lauderdale comes with danger. In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that Fort Lauderdale ranked second in the nation for pedestrian fatalities.
Although the city is making strides to make the roads safer for both pedestrians and drivers, the risk of an accident remains high. You could be a safe driver but still find yourself involved in a serious accident.
What You Should Know About Car Accident Law
When it comes to car accident law, one of the most important things to understand is liability. Florida is a no-fault state. You need to try and file your claim under your own insurance regardless of who is to blame.
However, this can be misleading. You may be able to file a claim under the other individual’s insurance if the accident meets certain requirements. If you have questions, you can consult with a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer.
If the other driver was responsible for your accident, their insurance could pay for your medical bills and other losses. But they don’t need to be completely responsible for the accident to be forced to pay.
In Florida, the law relies on pure comparative fault. Even if you share some of the blame for the collision, you can still seek compensation. With a personal injury claim, you could receive a percentage of your damages. The court can only award you damages equivalent to the total damages of the accident minus your percentage of fault.
Consider this scenario. You are partially to blame for a car accident. After hearing about your case, the court determines you are 20% at-fault. They also determine that you have $100,000 in damages. According to comparative fault, you can only receive $80,000 in damages.
Statute of Limitations
It’s also important to know about the statute of limitations. In Florida, you have a set time to file a personal injury lawsuit against another party. While there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, most cases are dismissed if the individual files after the deadline.
Typically, you only have four years to file a personal injury claim. However, you have more time to resolve your case. Once you file the claim, the clock stops ticking. You should speak to an auto accident attorney to find out more about how much time you have to file.
Some people choose to keep the police out of their affairs. However, this could be against the law. In Florida, a driver involved in an accident must report the accident to the police if there is injury, death, or at least $500 of property damage.
If the accident occurs in a municipality, you need to contact the local police. In all other cases, you need to call the county sheriff or the Highway Patrol.
Common Car Accidents Causes
The most common cause of car accidents is driver error. But this comes in many forms. All of the following are examples of driver error:
If you’re glued to your phone while you drive, you’re guilty of distracted driving. Unfortunately, many other drivers are guilty of the same behavior. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents.
Driving requires a great deal of concentration. In a split second, anything can happen. A traffic light can turn red, a car can come to a sudden stop, or an unexpected curve can appear on the road. Because your attention isn’t on the road, you may not be able to react in time.
There are other forms of distracted driving. For instance, eating and driving keep your hands distracted. Without both hands on the steering wheel, you can’t control your vehicle as effectively or quickly.
This type of driving can result in many different types of accidents. However, it most often causes rear-end accidents. When a distracted driver swerves out of their lane, they can also cause a sideswipe collision.
This is also a leading reason for car crashes. Alcohol significantly alters your ability to drive safely. In addition to impairing your vision, alcohol also impairs your judgment.
Drunk drivers pose a risk to themselves and everyone else on the road. Although the police take drunk driving seriously, there are still many drunk drivers on the road. Their drinking can cause them to drive into oncoming traffic, swerve into other lanes, and hit objects alongside the road.
One of the most dangerous types of drunk driving accidents is the head-on collision. When a driver hits another vehicle head-on, the potential for damage is great.
Aggressive driving includes a long list of illegal actions, like speeding, tailgating, and failure to yield. When someone drives aggressively, they are more likely to lose control of their vehicle. They also make it difficult for other drivers to react to them.
The different accident causes all have one thing in common — they can cause serious injuries. Whether you’re in a head-on collision or a fender bender, you could have painful and long-lasting injuries.
Common Car Accident Injuries
If you’re in a car accident, you can experience injuries that range from minor to serious. Some of the most common accidents that occur during car accidents include:
Head or Brain Injury
In an accident, you could hit your head on a part of your vehicle or on debris. This can cause something as simple as a laceration, or something as major as a traumatic brain injury. If you experience a brain injury, you could require a lifetime of permanent care. Other consequences include memory loss and decreased cognitive ability.
Some people take whiplash lightly. However, it can be a serious injury. Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that often affects the neck. Due to your limited neck movement, you may be unable to work for weeks or months.
In some cases, a herniated disc requires surgery. The injury can occur naturally or can be caused by a forceful collision. In addition to being painful, the injury can keep you from being mobile. There are individuals who suffer from chronic back pain after suffering from this type of injury.
The force of an accident can easily cause one or multiple broken bones. Although the clavicle is the easiest bone to break, there are many other potential breaks. They all are painful, and they all have the potential to change your life.
Your broken bone could require months of rehabilitation therapy. Before you can receive therapy, you may need months of healing.
When a collision results in a fire, the outcome can be disastrous. A victim could suffer from serious burns. As a result, they may need skin grafts. Although those grafts can help the victim heal, they can also cause scarring. The disfigurement from a burn injury can plague accident victims for the duration of their lives.
Do I Really Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Some individuals underestimate the need for a Fort Lauderdale DUI or distracted driving accident lawyer. But you should avoid making this mistake.
After an accident, you have a lot on your plate. Most importantly, you need to focus on your recovery. You probably have multiple doctor appointments to attend, and you might not have time to deal with insurance companies. While you heal, your Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer can handle the insurance company. They can fight for you to receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Depending on the situation, your attorney will need to negotiate with the insurance company. The insurance company doesn’t necessarily have your interests at heart, and they could attempt to deny your claim. You also might not realize how much money to which you are entitled. Accident victims don’t always seek compensation for future medical expenses or lost wages. Instead, they put the financial burden on their own shoulders.
In addition to handling the insurance company, an attorney can file a personal injury claim. Someone with knowledge of car accident law in Fort Lauderdale understands the requirements of a lawsuit. They may be able to get you compensation for your past and future accident-related expenses.
You’re not limited to only receiving money for your injuries and vehicle damage. With a lawsuit, you could receive money for missed wages and lost potential earnings. You also have the potential to get money for non-economic damages. For instance, you can receive money for pain and suffering. If your injury affected your relationship, you can also seek compensation for that. In rare cases, a car accident victim can seek punitive damages.
Car Accident Lawyer – Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the most common questions we hear during free initial consultations and during our work with the victims of car accidents. Keep in mind that your situation will vary from other accidents, meaning that the specific answers to your own questions may differ depending on many different factors. In order to get a direct answer about your accident and injuries, contact us now for your free initial consultation.
Should I accept the insurance company’s offer?
Under no circumstances should you ever accept an offer from an insurance company without consulting with an attorney first. Whether or not the offer is fair for your injuries, you can approach the situation with the expectation that the insurance company is going to try to pay as little as possible for your accident. When you do accept a settlement from an insurance company, it comes with an added price: you will need to waive your ability to seek any future legal actions against the insurance company or their client for this accident.
When you have an attorney representing you, this initial offer will be the start of a series of negotiations, where your attorney will go through a series of counter-offers until hopefully reaching an agreement with the insurance company. If no agreement is reached, then the next still will be to file a lawsuit.
Who is at fault for my accident?
In Florida, as with many states, there is a term called “comparative fault” which declares that each person involved in an accident is liable for the specific amount that they contributed to the accident. Essentially, a percentage of fault will be assigned to each involved party. As long as a victim is less than 50% responsible, then they will receive a settlement amount that is comparative to their assigned fault. For example, if you are injured in a car accident that someone else caused while they were taking a left turn, but you accept 10% fault for not braking, then your final award will be reduced by 10%. If your damages amount to a $100,000 award, you will receive $90,000 in total.
The fact that your settlement amount will be reduced by the amount you are found to be at fault is another important reason why you should be working with a lawyer. As they are working to establish the full extent of your damages, they will fight to ensure that you do not suffer any losses because of improperly assigned fault.
Do I need to see a doctor even if I don’t think my injuries are very serious?
Regardless of how serious you think your injuries are, it is important that you see your doctor for any and all injuries that you experienced from this accident. There are many times where an injury may initially seem completely harmless or unimportant but will then evolve into a serious, even permanent injury. For example, whiplash is an extremely common injury in a car accident. Since the injury is to the soft tissues in the neck such as muscles and ligaments, it may take a few days before you fully understand the extent of your injuries. In other cases, you may be suffering from a minor traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding that a medical professional will be able to identify and assign an appropriate treatment plan.
Regardless of the nature or severity of your injuries, it is important that you see your doctor in order to establish a clear medical record of your injuries and treatments. These documents will be essential to proving your case and providing substantial evidence that your injuries were caused by the accident in question.
When should I hire an attorney after my car accident?
The sooner you hire an attorney, the better of a chance you will have that they are able to build a comprehensive case for you. Many people may believe that they do not need an attorney during the claims investigation process, but this time can be very valuable for your attorney since they will be able to use this extra time to identify all of the damages that you have suffered, calculate a fair amount, and be ready with a counter-offer as soon as the insurance company makes an initial offer.
Once your attorney makes a counter-offer, this will kick off a serious of negotiations that will hopefully avoid a trial. However, if negotiations fail and you need to pursue a full lawsuit, your attorney will have had ample time already to gather information and have a basis for your case. Essentially, you will be best served by hiring an attorney as soon as you are able to after your accident.
How much is my accident worth?
In order to come to a solid and comprehensive calculation about what your case is worth, it is important that you work closely with a car accident lawyer. There are many different factors that will go into determining how much money you are rightfully entitled to, including things like your medical expenses, income-related impacts of the injury, and more. In addition to these measurable costs and expenses, there are a variety of “non-economic” damages that will also need to be calculated, including the actual pain and suffering of your injuries, and the emotional impact that the accident has had on your life.
Contact us now so that you can speak directly with an experienced legal professional during your free initial consultation. While we will not be able to give you an exact calculation during our first consultation, we will be able to give you a better idea of how we will go through your case specifically. Our history of calculating damages for our clients will be extremely helpful in this situation and will give you some more insight into what to expect for yourself.
Why Choose Us?
Friedland and Associates have been working with car accident victims for years. Our firm’s experience makes us capable of handling the most complex car accident cases. With our aggressive legal representation, we can work towards the results you want. Contact us today for more information on working with a car accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.