Car Accident Lawyer in Pembroke Pines
Cars have become ubiquitous in society today. We use our automobiles almost daily, traveling to work and school, running errands, and taking family vacations. From SUVs and sports cars, to family sedans and pickup trucks, Americans love their cars. As of 2018, there were over 271 vehicles registered in the U.S.
Unfortunately, with so many cars, inevitably collisions happen. As more and more cars share the roads with other vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles, it’s not surprising that there are more and more collisions. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, there are over 38,000 deaths each year on our roadways and another 4.4 million travelers are seriously injured, requiring medical attention and costing the economy over $871 billion.
Not surprisingly, vehicle crashes rank as the most common reason for deaths for both children and adults, requiring over $380 in medical costs. This ranks the U.S as having more road crashes than any other developed nation.
If you were involved in a car accident, the costs can be astronomical. From medical expenses, property damage, and emotional stress, the costs quickly add up. But you’re not alone. The car accident lawyers in Pembroke Pines are here to help. The legal team at Schlacter Law understand the short-term and long-term costs, as well as the pain and anguish caused by a collision. Call us today so we can help evaluate your claim for compensation.
What to do After an Accident in Pembroke Pines
No matter how small a collision may seem, there are certain steps that should be taken to ensure that everyone is safe, and to protect any evidence should the need arise to file a lawsuit. This list is not exhaustive but certainly illustrates many important issues.
First and foremost, it is important to ensure that anyone involved in a car accident gets medical care as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the collision, this might require a visit to the hospital, and in cases where an injury is extremely serious, an ambulance might need to be called. Regardless of who is at fault for an accident, calling for help can help save a life.
Again, depending on the severity of the accident, it is best not to move anyone who complains of an injury. Following a car collision, oftentimes neck and spinal injuries can occur from whiplash, or a person’s head hitting the dashboard, window, or headrest. These types of injuries can be exacerbated if the victim is moved. It is best to call 911 and wait for professional medical technicians to attend to anyone who is injured.
Even in cases where it might appear no one was injured, calling 911 to report the accident can help ensure that the police are dispatched to the scene of the incident. A trained police officer will know if an ambulance is needed. And in instances where no additional medical treatment is required, having a police officer at the scene of the collision is useful for filing an accident report.
Accident reports are valuable tools for lawyers in car collision cases. Police officers will interview witnesses and record their version of what happened immediately after the accident happened. Oftentimes, our memories can fail, allowing us to forget important details that may be the difference between an accurate insurance settlement or a successful lawsuit, and an unsuccessful one. When filing a police report, be sure to get the following information from the police officer:
- His or her name
- The officer’s rank and badge number
- Which precinct or district they work out of
- Their phone number
- The names of any additional witnesses they may have spoken to
Once a police report is filed, it is important to get a copy for your records. Often, a Pembroke Pines officer will hand out a copy before departing the scene of the accident. In cases where a report is not received at the time of the accident, getting the officer’s information may make it easier to get a copy of the report at a later time.
Even though a police report should be filed, it is also recommended to write down any recollections you have of the collision as soon as possible. This might include:
- The weather conditions at the time of the accident
- The road conditions at the time of the collision
- Any traffic signs or signals present at the time of the accident
- The number of passengers in the vehicle
- The vehicle’s license plate number and state where the vehicle is registered
- The name of the car’s driver
- The driver’s address and license number
- The make and model of the vehicle involved in the collision
When one or more of the vehicles sustained damage, be sure to note the extent of the damage, and where on the vehicle the damage can be found. Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, a better idea would be to photograph any damage to have a more reliable record. With today’s use of cell phones, most of us have a portable camera with us at all times. Be sure to photograph not only damaged areas of a vehicle but non-damaged areas as well. This might prevent someone from making a claim for damage that didn’t occur at the time of the accident.
Even when immediate medical care seems unnecessary, always be sure to follow up with a medical professional, such as a primary care physician. Often what seems like a minor injury can be a sign of something more serious, and some medical conditions, such as an open wound, can get infected if left unattended.
Once medical care is attended to, and you have obtained as much information as possible, speaking with a car accident lawyer should be the next step. A vehicle can sustain significant and costly damage that might require an injured party to pay out-of-pocket to make the vehicle drivable again. And medical bills related to the accident could cost even more. When a car accident results in injuries a Pembroke Pines car accident lawyer can help by negotiating with insurance companies or filing a lawsuit to get you the compensation you need to be whole again.
Can I negotiate with an insurance company myself?
There are numerous costs to consider following a car collision. Some of these costs include:
- Repair quotes
- Damage repair
- Insurance deductibles
- Medical bills
- Hospital bills
- Doctor bills
Some of these costs need to be paid prior to receiving any compensation, requiring a victim to pay these out-of-pocket costs upfront. Insurance deductibles and damage repairs are also required to keep the vehicle on the road. There are numerous ways to get reimbursed for these costs and the first way to seek compensation is to file a claim with a vehicle’s insurance policy.
Depending on the circumstances of the collision, a claim would need to be filed either with the other party’s insurance, or your own insurance policy. Regardless of who might be at fault, a claim should be filed with the other driver’s insurance company. While initiating insurance claims does not require the help of an attorney, a car accident lawyer can help with initiating a claim, and will have the experience necessary to keep an eye out for issues someone without this experience might miss. For example, when a claim is made with the other driver’s insurance company, the company will be looking out for their own best interest. A car accident lawyer can help you by working with the insurance company and make sure that any settlement they offer you is fair.
There are instances where the other driver either doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all the costs associated with a collision, the other driver has no insurance at all, or possibly the other driver fled the scene of the accident, making it impossible to identify them to file a claim with their insurance.
Even when an insured driver has minimum coverage, that amount may not be enough to adequately compensate someone who was injured in an accident. In these cases, a driver may need to file a claim with their own insurance company through their underinsured or uninsured motorist policy. Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is added coverage a motorist can purchase in addition to the minimum coverage required under Florida law to help compensate a victim when damages and injuries sustained in an accident come to more than the other driver has for coverage.
Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult. From filing claims to negotiating a settlement, a Pembroke Pines car accident lawyer can help. We understand the details and the repercussions of failing to get adequate compensation following an accident. Call today for a consultation.
What deadlines exist for filing a lawsuit in Pembroke Pines?
In Florida, there is an important time limit placed on a victim to file a lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. In personal injury negligence lawsuits relating to automobile accidents arising out of negligence, the statute of limitations is four years, meaning an injured party must file their suit within four years from the date of the accident, or risk having the case dismissed. Once a case is dismissed for failure to file in a timely manner a claimant would lose their opportunity to receive compensation.
To avoid the dismissal of a lawsuit, it is important that you speak to a car accident attorney sooner rather than later. Gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, and adding up the costs associated with the accident takes time. The longer you wait to begin the process the less time that’s available for a lawyer to file a claim. Call a Pembroke Pines car accident attorney today for a consultation so we can ensure that no deadline is overlooked.
What if I was partially at fault?
Liability in car collision in Pembroke Pines isn’t always black and white. More often than not, both parties involved in the accident were at fault in some way. When both parties are partly responsible for what occurred, they would both be partly responsible for any injuries or damages. This could reduce the amount of compensation to one or more of the parties involved in the accident.
This shared responsibility is called comparative negligence, and Florida is one of several states that follow this legal concept. Comparative negligence is different from contributory negligence, which would completely bar an injured party from recovering compensation if they were even a little at fault for what occurred.
Luckily, Florida’s adherence to contributory negligence allows for some recovery of compensation even when someone was partly at fault. The law which defines comparative negligence is found in Florida Statutes, §768.81(2), which states that “in a negligence action, contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and noneconomic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.”
When a case is brought to trial the amount of negligence attributed to each party is established by a jury or a judge. It’s an attorney’s job to convince the jury or judge that regardless of their client’s fault, they should still recover some compensation. However, this compensation would be reduced by the percentage the client contributed to their injuries.
Contributory negligence is a complex area of law, requiring a car accident lawyer who will work with your best interests in mind. Even in cases where a client may have been partially at fault for an accident, a car accident lawyer may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Call a Pembroke Pines car injury lawyer today for an evaluation.
How much does a car accident lawyer cost?
The Florida Bar Association has set guidelines for attorney’s fees in the state. There are several ways a lawyer is paid for their work, including:
- Flat fees
- Hourly rates
- Contingent fees
Depending on the type of work involved, a lawyer may charge a flat fee for a specific service, or charge an hourly rate for their services. In car accident claims where an attorney is seeking to recover compensation on behalf of their client, a lawyer will often be paid on a contingent fee. A contingent fee would mean a Pembroke Pines lawyer would only get paid when they successfully win a case.
Contingency fees must be in writing and both the lawyer or law firm, and the client must sign it. Contingency fees are typically a percentage of the amount recovered, and the contract must spell out what percentage the lawyer would be entitled to. Contingency fees in car accidents would usually range from 33.33% to 40% of the amount recovered. In general, if a settlement with an insurance company is made before filing a lawsuit, the lower fee would apply. Once a lawsuit is initiated, the lawyer would typically receive a percentage closer to 40%, even if the case settles after filing the lawsuit.
There are other fees associated with a lawsuit that might not be included in the contingency fee. This might include court and filing fees. These costs are usually paid out-of-pocket by the attorney and may be deducted from a settlement after winning a case. This would be in addition to the percentage paid for successfully winning the claim.
When it comes to car accidents, the lawyers at Schlacter Law will work hard to ensure that you get the best compensation possible. Even before filing a lawsuit, we will attempt to get the best settlement available from an insurance company, and when a settlement fails, our car accident attorneys are prepared to fight hard to get an award that compensates you adequately. Call our Pembroke Pines car accident law firm today for a consultation.
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
What if I contributed to the accident?
As a state that follows comparative negligence, a claim in Florida does not bar a victim from compensation when they are partly responsible for an accident. In cases where compensation would have been awarded, the compensation would be reduced by the percentage attributed to the victims own fault. For example, if compensation would have been awarded in the amount of $100,000 but the victim was found to be 20% at fault, their compensation would be reduced by $20,000. Talk with a Pembroke Pines car accident compensation lawyer today for help determining how much money may be available.
How much money can I expect to receive?
Without knowing the specifics of a case it’s difficult to predict how much compensation might be available. Compensation might include money for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. In order to better estimate what types and how much compensation would be possible, talk with a Pembroke Pines car crash attorney today.
Do I need an attorney to deal with insurance companies?
While a lawyer is not required, a lawyer can help you negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that you get as much money as possible. With experience handling these types of cases, a Pembroke Pines traffic accident attorney understands the issues involved and the types of compensation needed to make you whole. Call us today for a consultation.