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Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney

David I. Fuchs is a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer who has nearly 30 years of experience litigating cases for clients located in Fort Lauderdale and throughout the state of Florida.  David has dedicated his career to providing client-focused, communicative legal advocacy, and he has successfully represented victims who have been involved in different kinds of car accidents, from multiple car pileups to pedestrian injury cases.

It can be difficult for the average car accident victim to navigate Florida’s many related laws and statutes in the pursuit of fair compensation. That’s where we come can help. With more than 30 years of experience and a long history of great results, our car accident lawyers know exactly what each 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. Call (954) 568-3636 today to schedule your free car accident consultation with one of our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys.

Call us or contact us online today to set up a free consultation.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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 the last three years, there has been an annual average of 371,432 car accidents. This equates to an average of 1,016 crashes per day. Thousands of people suffer serious injuries and die on Florida’s roadways each year. If you or a loved one has suffered 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 and legal representation from one of our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers. You could be eligible for significant compensation. the relative frequency of serious, injury-causing car accidents has led to many personal injuries and related lawsuits brought on the basis of 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 2016, for example, there were 395,494 total motor vehicle crashes in the state of Florida, with 165,976 of those crashes resulting in injuries (and 2,930 resulting in fatalities). In 2017, 165,413 motor vehicle crashes resulted in 252,481 total injuries in the state of Florida.

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 wrecks are commonplace.

Where in this city are collisions most common, however?  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 rest the top thirty.

Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents by Road: Top 30

Despite the fact that we live in a society where drivers and pedestrians are exposed to a significant risk of injury, many victims fail to recognize that they have actionable injury claims. As a layperson, assessing the worthiness of your claims can be difficult, confusing and quite honestly — frustrating — without the assistance of an experienced attorney. If you have been injured in a car crash, you may be entitled to recover damages to compensate you for your various injuries. It is therefore critical that you consult with a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer who can help you make sense of your claims and litigate them to the fullest extent possible.

Here at the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, we take our clients and their concerns seriously. Call our office at (954) 568-3636 today to schedule a free consultation. We will do our best to serve you and answer any questions you may have about the legal process and your claim.

Fuchs Law Has Helped Victims Secure Compensation

The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs has successfully represented clients in a variety of areas from car wrecks, to work-related injuries, to slip-and-falls 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 injury lawsuit — car crash or otherwise — it’s important that your personal injury attorney demonstrates the requisite skill and experience necessary to litigate a claim at trial. The best personal injury lawyers 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.

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, we handle a variety of car crash cases and related issues, including, but not limited to, issues relating to:

  • Automobile insurance
  • Chain reaction wrecks
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driver victims
  • Driver’s failure to yield right-of-way
  • Head-on collisions
  • Hit and run collisions
  • Intersection accidents
  • Parking lot wrecks
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Uninsured drivers

Whether your case involves a complicated assortment of disparate issues or is more straightforward, we are happy to help! Call in and speak with David Fuchs today to have your claim assessed and any lingering questions answered.

Most Common Injuries in Car Accidents in Florida

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

Common injuries suffered in car accidents include:

  • Scrapes, scratches, and cuts.
  • Injuries involving the arms and legs. The sheer force of another vehicle slamming in your car may cause bruises and even broken bones, torn ligaments, and other serious ailments. In serious accidents, loss of 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.
  • Whiplash. One of the most common car accident injuries, this occurs when a sudden force of impact makes your head and neck move violently, causing hyperextension and/or sprain of your neck. Although you may not feel the effects immediately, you may experience sharp neck pain, stiffness of the neck, and lasting back problems.
  • Head injuries. Your head slamming against the steering wheel, windshield, or any other parts of the vehicle can cause traumatic brain injuries. This can result in a mild concussion or even a coma and permanent cognitive challenges, depending on the severity of the impact.
  • Back and spine injuries. While a minor bump may cause back pain due to a contusion or a sprain, a serious accident can cause major damage to your spinal cord. A spinal cord injury essentially causes nerve damage, which can result in reduced sensation and movement of limbs. In serious cases, a spinal cord injury can completely sever your nervous system, resulting in partial or full paralysis.

In extreme cases, death can be an unfortunate possibility. In 2017, there were 2,846 total fatal crashes in Florida, resulting in 3,035 total fatalities.

Important Car Accident Laws in Florida

Knowing the law 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 crash 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 lawyers before giving up on the idea of suing the other driver.
  3. Deadline for bringing a car accident personal injury claim. 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.

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 at-fault for their injuries (and the damage recovery will be reduced proportionally, too).

How does Florida pure comparative fault work in the car accident context?  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 were yourself 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:

  1. 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.
  2. State Farm. At second place, State Farm wrote a total of $2.8 billion in premiums in the state of Florida. They’re well known for having wide availability of local help – for example, they have 35 agents in Orlando alone.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 their 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.

To ensure that you recover the maximum amount for your claim, you’ll want to consult with a skilled Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney who can persuasively argue your case so that your contribution of fault is minimal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What should I do after a car crash?

A: If you’re the victim of a car crash, the situation can quickly become overwhelming.  The first and most important step is to remain calm. Also, seek medical attention as soon as possible — especially if you have severe injuries.  If you do not require immediate medical attention (or if you have someone with you who can take over), then make sure to collect evidence at the scene of the incident.  Identify potential witnesses and obtain their contact information, take pictures of the wreck (including the vehicles) and collect the insurance information of all involved parties.

Further, if you’ve been involved in a fender bender, make sure not to sell or repair your vehicle until you have consulted with a personal injury attorney.  Your lawyer may require an intact vehicle that can be investigated by a seasoned accident reconstruction expert.

Q: What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

A: 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.

Q: What if the other driver is not from Florida?

A: 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 as notice must meet strict legal requirements, it is a good idea to work with an experienced lawyer to determine the applicable jurisdiction and serve the defendant accordingly.

Q: Is there a deadline for my claim?

A: 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 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.

Q: What damages am I entitled to recover?

A: 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.

Q: Will my insurance rates increase after a car accident?

A: 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.

Q: Should I accept the insurer’s offer of payment?

A: 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 pay out.  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.

Q: How can a lawyer help me secure compensation?

A: From consultation all the way through to trial litigation, your personal injury lawyer will provide a variety of services to help you secure full compensation for your injuries.  Your 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.

 

Types of Cases We Handle