After getting injured in a car accident, victims often wonder how they will be compensated for their injuries. While most victims will need to deal with their insurance company, it might be necessary to file a lawsuit.
Recovering compensation is rarely a straightforward process, even for the most common car accidents. There are several ins and outs to Florida’s no-fault insurance rules that can make recovering compensation challenging. Fortunately, our car accident attorneys can help you along every step on your road to recovery.
If you were injured in a car accident, seek support from our experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers by calling the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A.at (954) 866-1750 for your free case review.
How David Fuchs is Different from Other Car Accident Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale
Car accidents are common, but the legal expertise that our car accident attorneys can bring to your case is not. When you have been injured in an accident, you need someone on your side willing to fight for your rights. Our car accident attorneys can review your case and walk you through how it will potentially play out.
Three Decades of Experience Helping Accident Victims
Our car accident attorneys have over three decades of experience representing victims and helping them get the compensation they deserve. Our team is ready to fight insurance companies that want to deny what is rightfully yours. If an insurance company refuses to cooperate, our car accident attorneys are ready to take your case all the way through trial.
A Philosophy Rooted in Communication with You, Our Valued Client
When our firm takes your case, we will provide you with the legal guidance you need to successfully navigate your claim. Our car accident attorneys can advise you on what routes you have to compensation and the strength of your case. Even if you do not have a strong case, it is still possible to negotiate for a higher amount than what the insurance company initially offers.
No Risk to You – “No Win, No Fee” Guarantee
Most people think they cannot afford an attorney, so there is no point in getting one. This could not be further from the truth. Our firm can take on your case with no financial risk to you. Put simply, if we do not win your case, either through a settlement or trial, there is no fee to you. Our car accident attorneys can help you manage every aspect of your case to recover the compensation you deserve.
Determining Fault in a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Case
Determining fault after a car accident in Fort Lauderdale is often a complex task. Even though Florida is a no-fault insurance state, it is still necessary to determine who is responsible for your injuries since insurance will not cover all your damages. Our car accident attorneys can help you prove how the other driver caused your injuries, so you recover the compensation you deserve.
Florida is a No-Fault Insurance State – What Does That Mean For You?
Florida’s no-fault insurance rules will significantly impact how you will be compensated for your injuries. Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover their injuries in the event of an accident. While you do not need to prove liability to recover your benefits, PIP insurance is only designed to cover 80% of your medical costs and 60% of your lost earnings from time missed at work up to the minimum coverage you elected. Unfortunately, PIP insurance will not cover the remaining 20% of your medical expenses, lost wages, or any pain and suffering damages you sustained. To recover the remaining damages not compensated by your PIP insurance, you can file a third-party claim or a lawsuit, but only if you suffered serious injuries.
Who Can Be at Fault in a Car Accident? More People Than You Might Think
Most people assume that the other driver is the only party that will be liable for causing an accident in Fort Lauderdale. While the other driver is usually the only party liable, others could share the blame. For instance, the owner of the vehicle that injured you could be held liable if they loaned their car to someone who eventually caused your accident.
If a commercial driver injured you, it might be possible to hold their employer liable under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. According to this theory, an employer can be held vicariously liable for injuries caused by their employee’s negligence if the accident happened while performing their normal duties.
Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies have become popular in Fort Lauderdale and could also potentially be named in your lawsuit. While holding these companies directly liable can be difficult, their drivers typically have higher insurance limits that could be available in your case.
In rare situations, your injuries could result from a design or manufacturing flaw for which the manufacturer should be held responsible. In other cases, poor road conditions that the city or state government are responsible for could cause your accident. Our car accident attorneys can help you determine who is liable for your injuries and hold them accountable.
Florida’s New Comparative Fault Rules
Up until 2023, Florida law permitted a court to assign partial blame to a victim but did not stop them from getting compensation if they were partially at fault for their accident. Instead, the law would reduce their compensation by their own percentage of fault, and each at-fault party would pay only their fair share.
Starting in 2023, Florida’s new laws work very similarly, assigning partial blame to multiple drivers, if applicable. But now there is a maximum cap on negligence, beyond which the victim can no longer get compensation.
This modified comparative negligence rule cuts off liability when the driver is over 50% at fault. That means that where a driver might have been able to recover 45% of their total damages under the old law if they were 55% at fault for a crash, this new law means that they will recover nothing. In 50/50 fault cases, you can still get half of the compensation paid by the other driver.
How We Prove the Liability of a Negligent Driver Who Injured You
Every car accident case is unique, and proving liability is a detailed process that depends on the facts of each case. Our car accident attorneys have years of experience helping victims prove their claims and know what to look for when reviewing a case. One of the best ways to figure out liability is to determine the type of accident involved. If a person is hit from behind or T-boned in an accident, liability might be quite clear. Other types of accidents require more information.
Our firm is ready to investigate your claim to recover the evidence necessary to show that the other driver was at fault. Evidence often needs to be obtained from several sources, but each piece is important to establishing the elements of your claim. Further evidence might show that other parties, like an employer, could be a party to your lawsuit. Our car accident attorneys will use medical records, police reports, and your testimony to prove that the other driver negligently injured you.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident to Maximize Your Claim?
You can take several steps after being injured in a Fort Lauderdale car accident that can help you maximize the compensation you recover. The first step to take after being injured in a car accident is to call 911. The police will investigate your accident and include their findings in an accident report, which our car accident attorneys can help you gather later. Of course, you will want to exchange contact, license, and insurance information with the other driver. If the other driver refuses to cooperate with you, simply wait for the police to question them. Their responses should be included in your police report. However, be sure to refrain from making any statements that can be construed as taking the blame.
If your injuries allow, speak to witnesses who stopped to offer assistance. Witness testimony can make a massive difference in the success of a car accident claim if they are available to testify. You should also take pictures with your smartphone of the damage you notice at the scene, and your injuries, if possible. If your injuries prevent you from taking photographs, ask emergency medical personnel or nearby witnesses for help. Your photos can be used as evidence later in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Perhaps most importantly, seek medical care after a car accident. Even if you think your injuries are minor, you should still get treatment. Delays in getting medical attention make it easy for insurance companies to argue that your injuries are not serious and will use this as a basis to devalue your claim. If you wait longer than 14 days to get medical care, you might not be able to recover compensation from your own PIP insurance.
Once you have received the proper medical attention, speak with our dedicated car accident attorneys. Our team will interview you and begin investigating every aspect of your claim. From gathering evidence to filing your lawsuit in the right court, our car accident lawyers can help with every aspect of your case to help maximize the compensation you eventually recover.
How We Handle Your Insurance Company and Maximize Your Settlement
It is never easy dealing with insurance, but it can be overwhelming when you are also trying to focus on recovering from your injuries. The emotional and physical impact of your accident might be serious. Insurance companies know this and will take advantage of your weakened state if they can. However, our car accident attorneys will fight for your rights and ensure you are treated fairly throughout the insurance claim process.
We Reject Bogus Settlement Offers
After an accident, the insurance company will investigate your claim and return with a settlement offer in exchange for a full release of your claim. Once a release is signed, you no longer have the right to file a lawsuit for damages caused by that particular accident. However, the first offer made by an insurance company is rarely the best you could achieve.
While a victim might be tempted to take a settlement offer in order to get the ordeal over with, they can usually recover more with the help of our experienced car accident attorneys. If a settlement offer does not fully account for your medical costs and property damage, you could be leaving money on the table by taking the insurance company’s first offer.
Basically, PIP insurance is not going to cover all of your damages. While 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages are covered, insurance is capped at $10,000. So even with the best offer, it still will not cover the full range of your damages. Our team knows what steps to take after negotiating with your insurance company.
We Coach You Through What to Say and Not Say
While it will be necessary to speak to the insurance company at some point, it is critical to know what to say when you speak with them. Insurance adjusters are skilled in making you feel comfortable and getting you to open up about your accident. However, this practice is used to get information that will eventually be used to lower the settlement they offer you. Our car accident attorneys can walk you through the questions you are likely to face and coach you on how to accurately describe your claim without inadvertently taking responsibility for it.
We Obtain Evidence and Argue for Higher Insurance Payouts
The best way to ensure a higher settlement amount is to have evidence that is hard to argue with. Our firm knows how to investigate your claim and what evidence you will need depending on the circumstances of your case. For instance, if there is surveillance footage clearly showing fault, an insurance company will typically not risk a case like that going to trial and offer a fair settlement earlier. Our car accident attorneys can help you obtain the critical evidence that proves the truth of your claim.
When a Car Accident Lawsuit is Necessary in Fort Lauderdale
While Florida’s no-fault insurance rules require car accident victims to go through their insurance first, it might still be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover the compensation they are entitled to. However, there are restrictions on when you can file a lawsuit for a car accident in Fort Lauderdale.
Does Your Condition Meet the “Serious Injury Threshold” in Florida?
If you were seriously injured in your car accident, your PIP insurance might not be enough to cover the full range of your damages. PIP will cover the first 80% of your medical costs, but the remaining will need to be compensated for. To be able to recover additional damages like pain and suffering, you must show that you suffered serious injuries in your accident. Injuries are considered serious in Florida if they result in permanent disability, physical scarring, or disfigurement. Accidents involving wrongful death or miscarriage are also considered serious. If you meet the serious injury threshold, you can pursue damages not covered by insurance from the negligent driver.
Suing the Negligent Driver After a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident
Suing the negligent driver will be necessary to recover pain and suffering damages and any medical costs, lost wages, and property damage not covered by your PIP insurance. You can also file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, but a lawsuit will let the other side know you mean business. Our car accident attorneys can help you gather evidence and file your lawsuit to hold the other driver accountable.
Monetary Damages You May Be Entitled to After a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident
You deserve to be compensated for the damages a negligent driver causes you. Damages are divided into a few different categories, which include your economic and non-economic losses. In car accident cases caused by egregious conduct, you can also pursue punitive damages.
The monetary damages you suffer as a result of your injuries are the type most people are familiar with. Your economic damages include your medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs you incurred while attending to your injuries. Not only can you claim past losses from medical treatment and missed time at work, but you can also pursue future losses your injuries are likely to cause. If you will need treatments in the future or you no longer have the same earning capacity at work that you once did, that should be accounted for in your award. Fortunately, there is no cap on the amount of economic damages you can claim.
Non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering, can usually only be claimed if you suffered serious injuries. Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate you for the physical pain, emotional distress, and other subjective effects your injuries have caused. For instance, if you can no longer play basketball because of your injuries, you should be compensated for your loss in the enjoyment of life. Like economic damages, Florida places no limits on the pain and suffering damages a victim can be awarded.
Lastly, punitive damages can be awarded where the victim’s injuries were caused by outrageous behavior. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in a car accident lawsuit since they are meant to punish the defendant and are not part of the compensatory damages the plaintiff claims. Punitive damages are common in DUI cases, where the driver’s mental state can be clearly illustrated. Unfortunately, punitive damages are capped in Florida. Currently, punitive damages are limited to three times the total amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is higher. Our car accident attorneys can review your case to determine what damages you can claim.
Common Types of Car Accidents We Deal With
The type of car accident you were involved in will play a crucial role in determining who is liable for your injuries. While no two car accidents are exactly the same, the causes of an accident are fairly common.
T-Bone Accidents and Head-On Collision Accidents
T-bone accidents are common in Fort Lauderdale and are usually the result of another driver running a stop sign or traffic light. The question then becomes which driver ignored the legal road signs. All drivers must follow the rules of the road. If a driver ignores a stop sign or traffic light for whatever reason, they can be held liable for their negligence.
Rear-End, Brake Checking Accidents
Rear-end accidents tend to be the most straightforward car accident cases our car accident attorneys handle. This is because the overwhelming majority of rear-end accidents are caused by the person driving behind the car that was struck. Drivers are responsible for maintaining a safe distance between themselves and the car in front of them. When they do not, they might not have enough time to react and stop before causing an accident. However, the driver in front could be liable if they stopped suddenly, “brake checking” you, or were driving erratically.
Lane Change Accidents
Liability is usually clear-cut in accidents caused by an illegal lane change. In most cases, the driver changing lanes is responsible for an accident because it is their responsibility to ensure the lane is clear before moving over. The driver not changing lanes has a right to continue in their lane of travel while the other driver waits for space to merge over. However, the driver changing lanes is not always at fault. If an aggressive driver does not let you in, either by speeding up or slowing down, they could be held liable for creating the conditions for an accident to occur.
Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Accidents involving commercial vehicles add another level of complexity to a car accident case. Countless commercial vehicles operate in Fort Lauderdale and can be involved in an accident as easily as anyone else. While the driver that injured you will likely be directly liable, it might also be possible to hold their employer accountable if their driver was working when the accident occurred. Our car accident attorneys can help you recover compensation for your injuries regardless of the type of car accident you were injured in.
Types of Injuries Our Fort Lauderdale Car Crash Attorneys Often See
Injuries from a car accident in Fort Lauderdale can range from very minor to life-altering. The type of injuries you suffer will impact the strategies used by our car accident lawyers and the compensation you can recover. The flowing are the most common types of injuries our car accident attorneys encounter in Fort Lauderdale.
Many car accident victims suffer fractures. Broken bones can occur from the initial collision and from striking the inside of the as a result of a secondary impact. Some broken bones are relatively minor injuries and might only require a fixed amount of treatment, while other fractures can be life-threatening and need surgery to repair. No matter the severity of your fractures, you are entitled to recover compensation for your damages.
Traumatic brain injuries are some of the worst injuries a car accident victim can sustain, but they can occur easily when the victim strikes their head during the accident. Brain injuries might not be noticeable immediately following an accident but usually present with different symptoms as the injury sets in, like reduced motor skills and confusion. If you hit your head during an accident, even lightly, you should seek medical care immediately to prevent a potential brain injury from becoming worse.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Another common type of injury caused by car accidents is soft tissue injuries. These include injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which can cause serious issues down the road. Soft tissue injuries can change a person’s life if they are unable to take part in activities that they could before the accident. In the worst cases, a victim might need lifelong medical support. Our car accident attorneys can assess your case and help calculate an accurate value of your damages based on the injuries you suffered.
Our Ft. Lauderdale Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
Call the Florida car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer for a free case review at (954) 866-1750 or (954) 334-2113.