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Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer

If You've Been In An Accident, Don't Wait

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David is awesome! Settled my case quickly and is definitely the right man for the job. Highly recommended.”

Rich H., Client

As a layperson, assessing the worthiness of a Fort Lauderdale car accident claim can be difficult, confusing and quite honestly – frustrating – without the assistance of an experienced Fort Lauderdale accident attorney. If you incurred injuries in a car crash in Fort Lauderdale, you may be entitled to recover damages to compensate you for your various injuries. That’s where the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs can help. With more than 30 years of legal experience, Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney David Fuchs can help you make sense of your car accident claims and litigate them to the fullest extent possible.

At the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, clients and their concerns and injuries are taken seriously. Call a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer at (954) 568-3636, or reach out online to schedule a free consultation of your case.

Causes and Types of Car Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

In Fort Lauderdale, the most common types of car accidents from 2014-2016 were:

  • Rear-end collisions – 13,461 crashes
  • Side angle impact (including T-bone accidents) – 8,639 crashes
  • Sideswipe collisions (all vehicles moving in the same direction) – 4,532 crashes
  • Rear to side impacts – 1,083 crashes
  • Head-on collisions – 817 crashes
  • Rear to rear collisions – 684 crashes
  • Sideswipe collisions (vehicles moving in opposite directions) – 454 crashes

Here at the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, our accident attorneys handle a variety of car crash cases and related issues, including, but not limited to, issues relating to:

Whether your car accident case involves a complicated assortment of disparate issues or is more straightforward, our accident attorneys are here to help! Call and schedule a free initial consultation car accident attorney David Fuchs today to have your claim assessed, and have any lingering questions answered.

Common Injuries in Car Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

Any injuries from a car accident can vary wildly depending on the severity of the impact of the vehicle. Injuries can range from scrapes and bruises to permanent disfigurement and even death.

Common injuries from car accidents include:

Neck and Back Injuries

Two common types of car accident injuries are neck and back injuries. Concerning the neck, some accident victims may experience what is commonly referred to as whiplash and/or neck strain after an accident. There are, however, more serious neck injuries that can be caused by an auto accident, including cervical radiculopathy and disc injuries.

The injuries to a victim’s back can also be quite serious after an accident. Some victims may experience back strains, sprains, fractures, lumbar and/or thoracic spine injuries, spinal cord injuries, and disc injuries. Much like neck injuries, back injuries may not show up until well after an accident has taken place. That is why accident victims need to visit a physician as soon as possible after an accident occurs – even if they feel okay and do not believe they have been injured. Failing to obtain a proper diagnosis of an accident-related condition can cost you greatly.

Head Trauma, Concussions, and Brain Injuries

One of the more common injuries sustained by car accident victims is a “closed head” injury. Such injuries can range from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Even though there are no physical cuts or bruises to see with the naked eye, head and brain injuries can be quite serious, as any sudden jolt to the head can result in the brain being tossed around inside the skull.

Mental Issues

Not all injuries related to motor vehicle accidents are physical in nature. Depending on the seriousness of the accident, some victims experience long-lasting psychological injuries that can be just as serious as physical injuries, in some cases. This is often the case when an accident involves very serious injuries and/or a loss of life. Some drivers and passengers may have a difficult time dealing with what occurred, and they may find themselves dealing with substantial emotional distress, or they might develop a more serious issue, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Injuries Involving the Arms and Legs

The sheer force of another vehicle crashing into your car may cause bruises and even broken bones, torn ligaments, and other serious ailments. In serious accidents, loss of a limb may also occur.

Soft Tissue Injuries

These are injuries to the body’s connective tissue – ligaments, tendons, and muscles. A contusion (bruise) is one type of minor soft tissue injuries, but other serious ailments can include sprains, strains, and even tears.

In extreme cases, wrongful death can be an unfortunate possibility. In 2018, there were 2,885 total fatal crashes in Florida, resulting in 3,097 total fatalities.

What to Do After a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident

Following a car wreck, you should take the following steps:

Call 911

The first thing you should do following a car accident is call 911. This may seem obvious, but victims who have been in a collision are sometimes disoriented, confused, and unsure of what to do first. If you or the other driver incurred injuries, the best thing you can do is to get emergency personnel on the scene right away. The sooner they can begin providing treatment, the better.

Additionally, emergency responders can reroute traffic to ensure everyone’s safety. They can also assess the situation and address any obvious hazards, such as spilled fuel. Finally, the police can prepare a report that details what happened, who was present, and other facts that may later be critical to your claim.

Seek Medical Attention

Your most valuable asset is your health, so your first priority after a car crash should be to take care of yourself. Even though modern safety features have greatly reduced the number and severity of injuries, car accidents can still result in serious injuries that can cause life-long health problems. Some injuries may be immediately obvious and will require you to go to the emergency room.

However, many other injuries aren’t apparent right away. Some conditions can take days, weeks, or months to manifest themselves. Because of this, you should listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, get checked out even if you felt okay immediately after the accident.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or injuries, see your doctor as soon as possible. They may get worse over time and lead to other serious health problems.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

After seeing your doctor, you must follow their instructions. It can be difficult to put your life on hold – your job, your family, and your friends all depend on you. Your doctor knows what you need to recover. If they recommend that you stay home and in bed for a few days, resist the temptation to go on with your day-to-day life as if nothing happened. Not only will it delay your recovery, but it could even lead to further injuries.

Obtain Witness Statements

Getting detailed statements from the witnesses to your accident is important if you have to pursue a claim against the other driver. Since they weren’t involved, their statements will be considered unbiased and objective. In addition, their recounting of the accident may help confirm and clarify important facts, and also establish who was responsible for the crash.

Document the Accident

At some point, you may need to reconstruct what happened, which gets more and more difficult as time goes by. In addition to witness statements, a recorded, detailed account of what happened can be invaluable if you have to navigate the claims process. You want to gather as much documentation as possible. Make sure you:

  • Take pictures. Photograph the scene of the accident, your injuries, and the damage to your vehicle. Try to get pictures from multiple angles and pay particular attention to the lighting.
  • Obtain a copy of the police report. Ensure that this report accurately reflects all the details of your accident.
  • Write down your own experience. Your memory can become unreliable over time. Write down as much detail as you can about the crash, with a particular focus on details such as your direction of travel and speed; the date, time, and location of the accident; and the weather and road conditions.

Document Your Injuries and Other Losses

Car accidents can be expensive, even if you have auto and health insurance. As a result, it’s important to track all of your expenses related to the accident carefully:

  • Your medical bills, especially any out-of-pocket costs
  • Car Repair bills
  • Lost wages
  • Transportation costs

In addition, keep a daily journal of how your recovery is progressing and how you’re feeling. Jot down things like how much pain you’re in, how your injuries are affecting your sleep, activities that you can no longer perform, and other challenges that have arisen due to your accident.

Contact An Experienced Attorney

Attorney David I. Fuchs believes that injured victims should not have to navigate the insurance claims process alone. As a result, he provides clients with dedicated legal help every step of the way – from coordinating treatment, to talking the insurance companies, to negotiating for the compensation you are entitled to.

Car Accidents in Fort Lauderdale Are More Common Than You Think

The Sunshine State has a reputation for its bad drivers. Tourists, snowbirds, and aggressive or reckless drivers can make the roadways feel hostile. In 2018 alone, there were 41, 059 car crashes in Broward County alone, according to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System. This equates to an average of 113 car accidents per day in Broward County. Thousands of people suffer serious injuries and die on Florida’s roadways each year. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, come to the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs for a free consultation about your insurance claim and the possibility of recovery through the civil court system. When talking with our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer, you will discuss if you could be eligible for significant compensation for your car accident.

The relative frequency of serious, injury-causing car accidents has led to many personal injuries and related lawsuits brought based on the defendant’s purported negligence — whether the negligent party is an irresponsible driver, the manufacturer of a defective vehicle, or a public entity that built and maintains a dangerous public road. In 2018, for example, there were 401,114 total motor vehicle crashes in the state of Florida, with 254,104 of those car crashes resulting in injuries, and 2,885 resulting in a traffic fatality.

With over 178,000 people living in Fort Lauderdale (and over 1,750,000 in all of Broward County), car accidents occur every day. From 2014-2016, there were 35,288 motor vehicle accidents reported in the city of Fort Lauderdale alone.

Crashes, Serious Injuries and Fatalities in Fort Lauderdale 2014-2016

The statistics reveal an unfortunate and uncomfortable truth: car crashes are commonplace. If you were injured in a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney near you today.

Where Do Car Accidents in Fort Lauderdale Happen?

Where in Fort Lauderdale are car accidents most common? According to what was listed as the primary road on collision reports, Interstate 95 (State Road 9), Sunrise Blvd, Broward Blvd, State Route 84, US 1 and Federal Highway are the home to the most accidents in Fort Lauderdale. Here are the rest of the top thirty places where car accidents occur in Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents by Road: Top 30

This data tells us that whether you are taking I-95 down south to Miami, Interstate 595 to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, or East Sunrise Boulevard down to the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, there is always the risk of a car accident in Fort Lauderdale. Despite the fact that we live in a society where you can get injured from a car accident on your drive down Las Olas Boulevard to get to Las Olas Beach, many victims fail to recognize that they have actionable injury claims.

Car Accident Settlements in Fort Lauderdale

Car accident lawyer David Fuchs has successfully represented clients in a variety of areas from run-of-the-mill car wrecks, to rear-end accidents, accidents with an underinsured driver, to hit and run accidents, commercial vehicle accidents, and more. David Fuchs has adopted an aggressive approach to legal advocacy in that he is fully equipped and ready to litigate your injury claims to trial, but is also willing and able to negotiate a settlement if the terms are favorable.

Successful settlements include:

  • $2.1 million in a negligent supervision case involving a minor suicide at a youth shelter, where shelter staff failed to properly supervise the minor (and to react appropriately to the attempted suicide), which resulted in death.
  • $450k in a case involving a hazardous public sidewalk that was negligently maintained by the defendant, where the plaintiff was thrown off his bicycle and suffered severe injuries as a result.
  • And many more.

In any personal injury lawsuit – car crash or otherwise – it’s important that your accident injury lawyer demonstrates the requisite skill and experience necessary to litigate a claim at trial. A good personal injury attorney should not be “all bark and no bite.” When defendants and their legal counsel understand that you are capable of successfully litigating your injury claim at trial, then subsequent settlement offers are much more likely to favor you.

Car Accident Laws in Florida

Knowing Florida’s car accident laws might be our job, but we want our clients to be as informed as possible about car-accident-related rules and regulations in Florida. The more you know about the law, the better you can protect your rights after a car accident and during conversations with insurance claim analysts. Florida is a complex state when it comes to car accident rules. There are dozens of laws that could affect your claim. Here are three of the most important to keep in mind:

Comparative fault laws.

More than one party can share liability for the same car accident. Florida follows a comparative negligence system, meaning that each person who contributed to the crash will be liable for his/her portion of fault. This is true even if the person bringing the personal injury claim contributed to the accident. In other words, don’t assume you’re ineligible for recovery because you were partially at fault. Talk to our Ft Lauderdale car accident lawyers before giving up on the idea of suing the other driver.

The statute of limitations for bringing a car accident personal injury claim in Florida is four years. You have four years from the date of your car accident to bring a personal injury claim. Missing this deadline can mean losing your right to file forever. There are limited circumstances in which the courts might “toll,” or extend the deadline for filing. For instance, you could receive an extension if you didn’t discover your injuries until after the date of the deadline.

Florida’s no-fault insurance rules.

Florida is in the minority of states in that it abides by no-fault laws for car insurance claims. This means all drivers must seek primary recovery through their own insurance companies, regardless of who caused the accident. One can only sue outside of the no-fault system if the accident results in serious or permanent injuries, scarring, disfigurement, or disability.

Breaking Down Florida’s No-Fault Law

Drivers can find the text of the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law in Section 627.7407 of the Florida Statutes. The statute requires all Florida drivers (beginning on January 1, 2008) to maintain at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL). PIP insurance will protect the policyholder by covering injury-related expenses, such as medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault. PIP insurance will also cover the loss of consortium and funeral expenses in the event of wrongful death. PDL insurance covers damages you caused to another person’s vehicle or property.

No-fault car insurance laws have pros and cons. On one hand, there is no need for injured victims to prove the other driver’s fault to collect damage recovery. It also saves the at-fault driver from having to pay for losses out of pocket. Even if the victim caused the accident, he or she can expect financial coverage from his/her own insurance company. No-fault laws also help reduce the traffic in Florida’s courthouses, as it’s much harder to file a lawsuit against a driver in pursuit of additional recovery.

On the other hand, no-fault insurance states tend to have much higher premiums than fault states. Florida is one of the top ten most expensive states for vehicle insurance in the country, along with fellow no-fault states Michigan and Delaware. No-fault insurance states also open the door to insurance fraud, as drivers can cause their own accidents and then obtain payment from a PIP insurance payout. Finally, many policyholders find no-fault insurance laws redundant since most health insurance plans would already cover personal injuries.

What Does Florida’s No-Fault Rule Mean for You?

The main thing to know about living in a no-fault state like Florida is that your own vehicle insurance policy is your primary source of financial recovery after a car accident. After a crash, regardless of who was at fault, call your insurance company and report what happened. The company will investigate the crash and offer coverage in the form of a settlement if it accepts your claim. There is no need for you to prove that you weren’t at fault for the crash to receive coverage, but you might want to do so to reduce the chances of your premium increase.

Most insurance companies in Florida (with the notable exception of State Farm) will increase your insurance premium after an accident regardless of whether it was your fault or not. If you were at fault for the accident, there is a chance that the other driver could choose to file a lawsuit against you for additional damages. In Florida, someone could bring a suit against you after a crash if you were at fault and the crash caused “serious bodily injury.” In general, serious injuries are those with permanent effects, scarring, or disability.

How Fault Works in Florida

Florida implements principles of pure comparative fault (otherwise known as pure comparative negligence), which applies to negligence-based car wreck claims. Pure, comparative fault is a proportional fault system, which means that each party involved in the collision (each and every one of the plaintiffs and defendants) is assigned a proportion of the total fault for the injuries, based on their contribution of fault. Under this system, even the victim of a car crash may be partially responsible for their injuries (and the damage recovery will be reduced proportionally, too).

How does Florida pure comparative negligence work in a car accident? Consider the following example:

Suppose that you are injured in a rear-end collision. The defendant-driver was speeding and did not react fast enough and change lanes or slow down to avoid a collision. Further investigation of the case reveals, however, that you yourself were driving somewhat carelessly. The court might find that the defendant-driver was 90% at fault for the injuries suffered, while you were 10% at fault. If your total damages are $100k, for example, then you would be entitled to recover 90% of that total: $90k.

Major Car Insurance Providers in Florida

When you’re negotiating a settlement with an insurance provider, it may be useful to research the company beforehand, so you’re more familiar with how they operate. In Florida, these are the largest auto insurance providers:

GEICO. The biggest company in Florida, accounting for 23% of all premiums in the state. They’re notable for offering discounts to policyholders for completing approved driver safety and defensive driving courses, and additionally offering exclusive savings to alumni from several Florida universities.

State Farm. In second place, State Farm wrote a total of $2.8 billion in premiums in the state of Florida. They’re well known for having a wide availability of local help – for example, they have 10 agents in Fort Lauderdale alone.

Progressive. Accounting for roughly 15% of Florida’s market share, Progressive has a large brick-and-mortar presence in Florida, with eight full-service centers located throughout the state for easy estimates and repairs that come backed with a lifetime warranty.

Allstate. Ranked fourth, Allstate accounts for 11% of premiums in Florida, totaling $1.9 million. Allstate has a smaller presence in Florida, mainly due to typically high policy prices.

USAA. Despite only having 7% of the market share in Florida, USAA has quite a large presence in the state due to the military: only members of the U.S. military and their families are eligible for a USAA policy – and Florida is home to 21 military bases. USAA is well-known for its stellar coverage and their excellent customer service, making them one of the best insurance providers in Florida and in the nation.

Familiarizing yourself with the major insurance companies in Florida can give you an idea of what to expect during the negotiation process. A large provider like GEICO may be more or less willing to provide you with the settlement you desire compared to a smaller provider.

Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions from clients who have been injured in a car crash.

I believe the other driver was at fault for my car accident. What should I do next?

It is important to note that accident victims must take the proper steps after an accident to protect their rights to compensation from the at-fault individual(s). Taking improper steps can end up being quite costly in the long-run.

That said, anyone involved in an accident should seek medical attention immediately (even if you believe you are not injured). If you are able, you should also contact law enforcement (or have someone else contact them on your behalf) to ensure a timely police report is made.

Florida is a “no fault” state, which means that, regardless of fault, YOUR insurance company is required to pay for a portion of your medical expenses. Still, in some instances, you may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver, depending on the severity of the injuries sustained.

What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

If the other driver does not have insurance, don’t worry. There are a number of different ways in which you — the victim — can recover even if the at-fault driver is uninsured.

For example, if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/IM), then your policy will cover you for the damages you suffered due to the negligence of an uninsured motorist. If you do not have such coverage, however, all is not lost. You may be able to bring in other defendants who are also liable for your injuries, thus expanding the pool of defendants from whom you can recover.

What if I’m found to be partially at fault? Can I recover anything?

The short answer to the question is “yes.” However, what you recover will be limited by your level of fault. Under Florida law, individuals involved in accidents are subject to what’s known as “pure comparative negligence.” What this means is that if the car accident case goes to court, the jury will be required to allocate a percentage of fault to each party based on the evidence supplied at the hearing.

Individuals found to have contributed in any way will experience a reduction in the amount of compensation they receive. For instance, if the total amount of damages equaled $100,000 and you were found to be 40 percent at fault, the most you would receive is $60,000.

Is there a deadline to file my car accident claim?

The statute of limitations applies to all claims, though the deadline can vary significantly depending on the circumstances of your particular case. The statute of limitations for injury claims in Florida is four years from the date of injury, while, for claims involving public defendants (such as a public transportation agency in a bus driver case), the state agency must be put on notice of the claim within three years of the car wreck. It is critical that you make the deadline, as missing the deadline may lead to your legal claim being barred — which means you may no longer be entitled to litigate your claim in a court of law.

Under certain circumstances, however, the statute of limitations deadline may be extended. If you are injured in a car crash, for example, but your injuries are not immediately apparent, then your limitations period may be “tolled” — in other words, suspended — until the date of discovery.

What damages am I entitled to recover?

Damages vary substantially from case to case, depending on the particular circumstances of each case. Generally speaking, damages can be separated into two primary categories: 1) compensatory damages and 2) punitive damages. Compensatory damages are those damages meant to help “fix” the losses you suffered due to the accident, whereas punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for, particularly egregious behavior. Punitive damages are much less commonly awarded but can increase damage awards substantially.

Compensatory damages include, but are not necessarily limited, to wage loss, loss of future earning capacity, emotional distress, pain and suffering, property loss, medical expenses, and more.

Will my insurance rates increase after a car accident?

This is a difficult question for which there is no uniformly applicable answer. In reality, whether your insurance rates will increase depends almost entirely on the insurer and your coverage. Most insurers are quite lenient on raising rates for first-time offenders, and when you are not at-fault. If you were at fault, however, or if it is your third or fourth car wreck, then your insurer may increase rates more severely.

Should I accept the insurer’s offer of payment?

As a general rule, it’s not worth accepting the insurer’s initial offer of payment. It is important to understand that all insurers are in a position where they are trying to minimize how much they have to payout. They are not your friend. Always consult with an attorney and avoid communicating with the insurance company directly. This will not only put pressure on the insurance company to put forth an offer that is more favorable to your interests but will also protect you from making statements that could lower the value of your claim.

How can a car accident lawyer help me secure compensation?

From the free initial consultation all the way through to trial litigation, your Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer will provide a variety of services to help you secure full compensation for your injuries. Your accident attorney will identify relevant parties and witnesses, investigate the claims, work with experts in the field, send demand letters to the defendant, conduct discovery, negotiate and engage in mediation, potentially secure a settlement, and if need be, take your case to trial and litigate the claims in a court of law.

What if the other driver is not from Florida?

If the other driver is not from Florida, you may still be able to sue them in a Florida court, so long as the incident occurred in-state. You will have to serve the driver with a notice to their personal residence, however. After the defendant has been served, they will have to defend their case in a Florida court. As the process can be a bit confusing for the layperson, and notice must meet strict legal requirements, it is a good idea to work with an experienced auto accident attorney to determine the applicable jurisdiction and serve the defendant accordingly.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney

It can be difficult for the average car accident victim to navigate Florida car accident laws and statutes in the pursuit of fair compensation. That’s where our accident attorneys can help. With more than 30 years of experience and a long history of great results, our car accident lawyers know exactly what each accident case needs to succeed. We can negotiate claims settlements with insurance companies in a way that protects the rights of our clients. Our team can guide you through the claims process every step of the way.

David I. Fuchs is a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney who has nearly 30 years of experience litigating cases where someone was injured by the negligence of another driver. If you’ve incurred harm in an auto accident in Broward County, you need an attorney near you to help get the money you need after a wreck. Attorney Fuchs has dedicated his career to providing client-focused, communicative legal advocacy, and he has successfully resolved thousands of personal injury cases. He is ready to help you.

To schedule a free, initial consultation of your case, contact the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs today at (954) 568-3636.

If you cannot come to the Fort Lauderdale office, accident attorney David I. Fuchs will send a representative to see you. His staff speaks English and Spanish. Se habla Inglés y Español.

Llame a David Fuchs abogado de accidentes en la Fort Lauderdale. Ofrece consultas gratuitas.