Car Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Important Information from a Fort Lauderdale Lawyer about Car Accidents
Car accidents are a huge problem in the United States and one of the most common causes of unintentional injury. Right here in Florida, there are more than 236,00 injuries and nearly 3,000 fatalities occur on our roads each year . This is particularly due to Florida’s ample tourism industry. Unfamiliar roads and care-free vacationers could be the perfect combination to cause many of the car accidents we commonly see on our roads. Car crashes resulting in serious injury occur in more than half of the accidents reported yearly, which means many people may need to fight for their rights after these serious injuries or wrongful deaths.
Our car accident lawyers understand the impact of motor vehicle wrecks on the lives of our clients. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a Florida car accident and suffered damages caused by the reckless or careless acts of another, our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer at Schlacter Law will work to protect your rights to compensation. Our award-winning firm will aggressively fight to prove your case, including using leading experts to establish liability and build your compensation claim.
Explaining Damages in Fort Lauderdale
A Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer can assist injured victims in recovering “damages.” These damages are the relief that a party may be entitled to as part of a lawsuit, as required by Florida law. The following damages may be obtainable with the help of a motor vehicle accident lawyer like ours at Schlacter Law:
- Past pain and suffering, which is valid from the date of the vehicle crash all the way to the date of the award or settlement
- Future pain and suffering, from the date of award or settlement to the injured person’s end of the estimated life expectancy
- Medical bills, both past and reasonably proven future expenses
- Lost wages that occur from being unable to work and/or having to take time away from work for doctor’s visits
- Lost future earnings if a victim is unable to continue working in the same line of work and has to take a pay cut due to personal injuries
- Loss of consortium, affection, or services from spouses, children, or dependents which means being unable to spend normal and customary time with loved ones
- Equipment and medical devices, such as wheelchairs or prosthetics
- Modifications necessary to a vehicle or house, such as a chairlift
- Property damage
- Other damages caused by your automobile wreck that our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer could help you obtain
These damages, especially when involved in auto accidents and especially for personal injury cases, are usually compensatory in nature. A Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer can help a victim receive this compensation.
What are the Most Common Injuries in Auto Accidents?
With over 1,100 car accidents occurring each day in Florida on average , there are numerous injuries and trends in common injuries that automobile accident lawyers witness. Auto accidents could see injuries that range in terms of seriousness, from painful to permanent and catastrophic.
The most common injuries seen from motor vehicle accidents include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralyzes such as paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Broken bones
- Burns and fire injuries or explosion injuries
- Nerve injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Loss of eyesight
- Organ damage – includes heart, lungs, liver, or kidneys
- Significant scarring and/or disfigurement
- The need for painful hardware in surgeries – spinal fusions
- Emotional damages
- Any other physical damages related to a vehicle wreck that a lawyer could obtain for you
All personal injuries from a vehicle wreck are important. Under the law, you may be entitled to car accident compensation for any of them. It is important to have a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer protect your rights to these different types of compensation to maximize what you may be able to recover.
Fatal Car Accidents
Wrongful death is the most severe type of personal injury, one that cannot be reversed. The entire family experiences the aftermath and toll of the wrongful death of a loved one. Because of this, the family must seek the advice of a car accident lawyer in order to protect the rights of the entire family.
Why? Because Florida law allows a family to stand in for their deceased loved one in order to fight back against defendants who have wrongfully caused a car accident. In doing so, the family may prosecute a claim for damages against the negligent driver, vehicle owner, or entity such as a trucking company or municipality. This is essential to guarantee that a family can remain financially stable.
In a wrongful death case, some damages that a family may be entitled to include:
- Pain and suffering of the deceased loved one before their passing
- Medical bills and expenses
- Funeral, burial, and end of life costs
- Emotional harm
- Lost wages the family may have depended on
- Property damage
- Loss of society and consortium – loss of their loved one’s presence in their life
- Punitive damages for egregious conduct, rare but possible
- Other damages a car accident lawyer may find appropriate to seek for your case. Always ask for a lawyer to help when any person dies in a motor vehicle crash
Duties of a Driver Under the Law
When a user operates a motor vehicle, Florida law requires the motorist, no matter the type of vehicle, to use reasonable care in the use and operation of their motor vehicle. Whether the user is operating a truck, personal vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or any other vehicle, they must adhere to this standard. Even the many vacationers throughout Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, must follow Florida law while operating a vehicle, regardless of state or country of residence.
This standard in Florida law is a flexible one, which means that even typically legal conduct may be unreasonable in particular circumstances. An example of this is seen when considering care while driving during inclement weather. If there is dense, heavy fog and a driver is still operating a vehicle at 40 MPH in a 55 MPH zone and causes a collision, the driver may still be found negligent under Florida law, as the scenario depicts violating the duty of care to other motorists. This is particularly an issue during hurricanes or tropical storms where the standard becomes heightened as conditions worsen.
What are other common duties?
- Being vigilant while driving and seeing what there is to be seen
- Keeping in control of the vehicle
- Maintaining the vehicle properly in order to avoid dangerous mechanical defects
- Staying alert and sober
- Following Florida vehicle and traffic law
- Other duties of safely driving a vehicle
How Do These Car Accidents Occur?
Car accidents may occur due to numerous causes. Unfortunately, most motor vehicle accidents occur at the hands of other reckless and careless drivers, whose negligence could have been avoided. In Florida, the most common recorded causes of car wrecks include:
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Distracted driving, which includes the use of a cell phone while driving to make a phone call or send a text message
- Driver inexperience
- Fatigue and being tired
- Failing to stop at a red light
- Driving while sick or ill
- Failing to yield to the right-of-way
- Unsafe lane merges or changes
- Failing to stop at a stop sign
- Improper left turns including last-minute turns
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Aggressive driving
- Drag racing
- Other common causes which could result in reckless crashes that should be reviewed by our lawyer
If you or a loved one experienced a car accident due to any of these causes, contact our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer to find out how you may be able to obtain car accident compensation.
What Does Florida Say About Negligence in Car Accidents?
These common causes of car accidents may allow you to obtain compensation for any personal injuries incurred as a result of the accidents. To do so, you will need to establish the negligence of the other party. Negligence is a common law principle that is flexible and has evolved and changed over time and may be interpreted differently by judges and lawyers from state to state. If a person fails to exercise a standard degree of care that others of sound mind would have in similar situations, that person could be deemed negligent.
A car accident lawyer needs to help you establish four elements related to the duties of a driver to prove the negligence of another:
- You were owed a duty of care
- That particular duty of care was breached
- That breach of duty proximately caused
- Damages to you
A car accident lawyer understands these elements and will work to help you prove negligence.
After a Car Accident: Steps to Take to Protect You, Your Family, and Your Claim
While no one wants to prepare to ever be in a car accident, everyone must have a plan or know what to do in the event that this unfortunate circumstance occurs. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer has several tips to help you protect yourself in the event of a motor vehicle accident. By following these tips, you could help to protect your rights to compensation should you suffer personal injuries due to another’s negligence.
- If possible, remove your vehicle from the roadway. This prevents further collisions, especially in times of decreased visibility. If moving the car will cause further injury to you, a passenger, or other involved in the incident, do not move the car
- Call 911. Even if the damage or injuries do not seem severe, call for police and medical assistance. By reporting the accident and creating a record, you could help yourself in the future if injuries manifest themselves, such as injuries due to whiplash or closed head injuries, which could be critical
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. This is considered a crime in most instances. However, you may be faced with using your best judgment if someone is seriously injured and a hospital is within the vicinity of the accident. If you must leave, leave as much of your information as you can with the other motorist. Leaving is only a last resort. Never drive away if you are the one seriously injured and cannot operate the vehicle safely
- Get medical attention for your injuries, whether you believe them to be serious or not. Minor pain could end up being a herniated disc a few days later, and this could require complicated surgeries. If there’s a record of the accident, you could be protected
- Take photographs and/or videos of the scene if you are able to do so. This includes anything related to the crash, including both vehicles, all motorists and occupants, traffic patterns, traffic signs, and anything else that may be related to the accident
- Follow police instructions. To the best of your ability, answer all of their questions, but be careful when explaining yourself. In your explanations, take care not to incriminate or implicate yourself as a cause. Do not speak with an insurance representative at an accident scene or afterwards without consulting a lawyer
- Never accept an insurance company’s offer, whether they give one, two, or more offers. Don’t fall for their aggressive tactics, which get you to admit fault and minimize your injuries. Insurance representatives are trained to do this before you are able to get to a lawyer
- Follow the doctor’s orders. Failure to follow treatment and orders to stay out of work could worsen your injuries, making them become more persistent or permanent. Make healing become your top goal, working with your doctor or doctors who are doing their best for your specific case. If you neglect to follow their treatment recommendations, protecting your legal case may become more difficult once you break the physician-client relationship
- Hire your Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer and protect your rights to compensation. After an accident, there are a lot of elements to consider, but retaining legal counsel is free. Lawyers such as ours at Schlacter Law take a contingency fee arrangement, which means they will only get paid when you get paid, so there is no risk to protect yourself
Insurance Concerns in Florida Car Accidents
Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, meaning all drivers must carry insurance with a minimum coverage amount of $10,000 to cover their medical bills and lost wages. That minimum coverage can be increased depending on coverage, and our Fort Lauderdale lawyer recommends also having additional coverage with underinsured or uninsured (UM) insurance.
No-fault insurance is beneficial to the victim because they can turn to their insurance carrier to seek out immediate assistance paying for the medical expenses that occur right away. In this way, a victim is allowed compensation for injuries that they may not typically be able to afford.
A victim may be able to take action against the at-fault party’s insurance company. At this point, a car accident lawyer may be necessary to recover this compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. In order to do so, the victim and their lawyer will be required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was liable for your injuries and caused your injuries. This standard is lower than the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, and only requires a car accident victim to establish that it is more likely than not that he or she is telling the truth. This means that a car accident victim could win a case by being as low as 51% persuasive, which is much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt which is thought to be between 98% and 100% confident. Considering that medical bills are capable of being proven with receipts, the battle is usually over liability and causation. Therefore, having a lawyer help you with this claim can be imperative to protecting your rights to compensation.
What is the Permanent Injury Threshold for Car Accidents in Florida?
According to Florida law, an injured person is able to file a claim against a negligent driver for non-economic damages if he or she has suffered serious and permanent injuries. This section of Florida law is often known as the “permanent injury” standard. There are four categories of injuries that will satisfy this threshold. They are:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than disfigurement and scarring
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Wrongful death
A lawyer can help you prove that you meet this permanent injury threshold, which can protect your motor vehicle accident claim and expand on the compensation that you may be entitled to.
Our Car Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale Can Help
Whether you have suffered a personal injury or experienced the wrongful death of a loved one from a car accident due to the negligence of others, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer understands how these accidents can be life-changing. The contingency fee arrangement used by our lawyer means that there is no risk to have us represent you, as you only pay for services if we receive compensation for you. Call (305) 999-1111 for a FREE consultation today to have our car accident lawyer help you protect your rights.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to commence a car accident lawsuit in Florida?
Four years for a car accident against a negligent party such as a person or business. If the car accident claim is against a government agency like a state, county, or municipal entity, the time to file a lawsuit is shortened to three years. There is also a notice of claim requirement which is required to be filed before commencing an action. However, if a person was wrongfully killed in a car accident, the family must commence an action within two years of the date of death. Given all of these different timeframes, it is important for victims to always consult with a lawyer such as our experienced Fort Lauderdale lawyer at Schlacter Law.
If the other driver violated the vehicle and traffic law, is he liable?
Usually, the driver who violates the vehicle and traffic law and causes a negligent accident is liable under the doctrine of negligence per se. This is a legal doctrine that may automatically find a defendant-driver liable if the law that was violated was meant to protect the victim from the harm that was caused. By showing the violation of the law and that the violation caused the injuries, a victim may be able to establish liability and focus on proving damages. Even though this sounds simple, any attempt to use this legal doctrine will be sharply rebutted by the defendant’s lawyer or the insurance’s lawyer. This is why you need to have your own lawyer to protect your rights.
Are there special rules for truck drivers that could help a victim prove a car accident case?
Yes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a federal agency that has promulgated regulations which apply to all truck drivers no matter what state they are in, traveling through, or going to. These regulations create restrictions on truck driver conduct, equipment requirements, and obligations on a truck driver and trucking companies. Many of these regulations involve the safety of others on or around the roadway. If a truck driver caused a Fort Lauderdale car accident due to the violation of an FMCSA regulation, it may result in a finding of negligence against the truck driver and trucking company.
How much does a car accident lawyer cost in Florida?
We do not charge anything upfront. Here at Schlacter Law, we understand the confusion and frustration that typically occurs when a reckless, careless, or negligent driver causes you personal injuries or the loss of a loved one. Not only are there serious physical and emotional repercussions from this, but know how devastating the financial effect can be. When we accept your case, we conduct a free investigation and collect evidence to support your claim at no cost to you. We work hard to settle your case but, if the defendant’s lawyer or the insurance company’s lawyer will not cooperate, we will seek your remedies in court. It is only once we have recovered money for you in a settlement or court award that you will owe us a percentage of the total amount owed. We do this to keep money in your pocket now to pay for medical bills and other household expenses, especially when you may be out of work and not earning your full income.