Hit-and-run Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Hit-and-run accidents are more common than you might think. Florida encountered over 102,000 hit-and-run incidents in 2018, with over 200 fatalities and over 21,000 injuries. Being involved in a hit-and-run incident can cause serious injuries and severe financial strain due to medical bills and lost wages. If you were injured by a vehicle in a hit-and-run, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Call Schlacter Law today for a consultation.
What to do after an accident in Fort Lauderdale?
A hit-and-run incident can be stressful. It’s bad enough that an injury occurred but add to that the fact that the vehicle driver fled the scene, it’s understandable how an accident victim may suffer from shock.
Following a hit-and-run accident, first and foremost, be sure to seek medical attention. Even if you suspect your injuries might only be superficial, it is possible that an injury is far more severe than you realize. Additionally, some symptoms may take time to develop and far-reaching consequences may have been prevented if proper medical care was received immediately following the accident.
Once proper medical care has been administered, try to recall the situation that led to the accident. Any information provided to a hit-and-run lawyer may be helpful in establishing liability and receiving compensation. Be sure to note:
- What were the weather conditions at the time the accident occurred
- Were there any witnesses to the accident
- Were there any signs or street lights present
- What was the make and model of the hit-and-run vehicle
- What state was the other vehicle’s license plate from
- Do you recall the license plate number
- What did the driver look like
- How many passengers were in the vehicle
- How many vehicles were involved in the accident
If you were in another vehicle at the time of the hit-and-run, be sure to note the damage done to your automobile. Be sure to use a cellphone camera and photograph any damage. This might include physical injuries sustained during the accident, damage done to your vehicle, as well as any property damage and personal items that were in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Finally, be sure to contact a hit-and-run lawyer as soon as possible following an accident. In cases where a lawsuit would need to be filed for compensation, the amount of time an injury victim has to file a lawsuit is limited. This time limitation is called the statute of limitations, and in Florida, a lawsuit typically needs to be filed within four years of the injury for a negligence claim. Failing to file a lawsuit on time could result in a dismissal of a claim, and no compensation would be available.
A Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run lawyer understands how important it is to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations. Talking with a hit-and-run lawyer sooner rather than later is essential in ensuring that a lawsuit is filed within the statute of limitations and can help evaluate the potential compensation available under the circumstances of your case. If the claim is with your own insurance company for an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim through a breach of contract claim, the statute of limitations is 5 years.
What if I was partially at fault?
Florida is one of several states which adheres to the principle of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence allows an award for compensation to be reduced by the percentage that the plaintiff was responsible for their injuries.
Comparative negligence is found under Florida Statutes, §768.81(2), and states that “the court shall enter judgment against each party liable on the basis of such party’s percentage of fault and not on the basis of the doctrine of joint and several liability.”
Speaking to a hit-and-run lawyer is essential in evaluating how much at fault a plaintiff may have been following an accident. When considering the amount of compensation that may be available, these important questions require the experience that a hit-and-run lawyer from Schlacter Law can provide.
Can I negotiate with the insurance company myself?
Following a hit & run accident in Fort Lauderdale, it may be difficult to identify the party responsible for the accident. Under these circumstances, filing a lawsuit would be difficult since the liable party is unknown. When this happens, it may be necessary to file a claim with your own insurance company to seek compensation for any injuries or property damage.
When seeking compensation through an insurance company, it is possible to negotiate a settlement on your own. However, seeking the assistance of a hit-and-run attorney may result in a larger settlement. Understanding that insurance adjusters are working for the insurance company, and not looking out for your best interests, they may attempt to settle for an amount that does not adequately compensate for any damage or injuries.
A hit-and-run lawyer with Schlacter Law has experience negotiating with insurance companies. We understand the complexities that come with calculating the extent of an injury, and how these costs can carry on into the future. If your insurance company is trying to settle a claim following a hit-and-run accident, a consultation in Fort Lauderdale will cost you nothing now and could result in a settlement amount that is far greater than you could have achieved on your own.
Following a hit-and-run accident, costs can add up. These costs could include:
- Medical bills
- Long-term medical care
- Lost wages
- Damaged property
- Future lost income
These types of costs are generally known and are called economic damages. Compensation for economic damages would add the value of all known costs. In addition, economic costs may attempt to look into the future and predict any additional costs associated with the injury. These costs may include physical therapy, future doctor visits, and future lost wages.
An additional type of compensation available in hit-and-run accidents is called non-economic damages. These types of damages are more difficult to calculate since their dollar value depends greatly on the severity of the injuries. These costs may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost Limbs
When an accident results in a severe injury, such as losing a limb, the pain and suffering associated with that injury is harder to calculate. Generally, a hit-and-run lawyer may propose a dollar value to compensate you for non-economic damages by multiplying the value of known costs. For example, if known costs were $10,000, non-economic costs might be estimated between two and five times the economic costs, or between $20,000 and $100,000.
The third type of compensation available is punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the plaintiff acted recklessly or grossly negligent. This type of compensation is awarded as a way to punish a defendant for their behavior, in an attempt to prevent this type of behavior from happening again. Punitive damages are uncommon, but in cases where a defendant in Fort Lauderdale acted with complete disregard for their actions, such as a drunk driver severely injuring someone before fleeing the scene of the accident, a court may consider adding this type of compensation to a successful lawsuit.
Calculating damages following an accident can be complex. Talking with a Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run lawyer can help you evaluate the severity of your injuries, and the potential compensation available through a lawsuit or an insurance settlement. Call a hit-and-run lawyer with Schlacter Law today.
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
The cost of a hit-and-run victim attorney varies based on the circumstances of each case. However, most personal injury lawyers dealing with hit-and-run damage or injuries, or dealing with no insurance would come down to a contingency fee, where the lawyer is paid upon receiving successful compensation for their client. This fee is usually between 33.33% and 40% of any award received on their client’s behalf. Call today for a free consultation.
Even in cases where there were no injuries, there may be other damage sustained in an accident. This might include damage done to a vehicle, as well as any other personal items inside the vehicle at the time of the accident. Talk with a Fort Lauderdale hit-and-run lawyer today to see if there is potential compensation available.
In the event that you have no insurance coverage at the time of the accident, it may be difficult to get compensation for injuries and damage. However, if a police report was filed in Fort Lauderdale, and the police are able to locate the individual who caused the accident, you may be able to recover from their insurance company or even file a lawsuit against them. Further, Schlacter Law can hire investigators on your behalf to canvass the local areas for CCTV (surveillance footage) to identify the at-fault driver. In these cases, typically hit and run charges are filed, even if there were no injuries. Contact Schlacter Law to see if there are any other avenues available for compensation.