Few things can change your life like a car accident. One minute you are driving down the road or stopped at a traffic signal and the next, you feel a traumatic jolt and you’re trying to determine what happened. But as bad as the initial impact of a car accident can be, the aftermath can be life-altering. In addition to your medical bills and the cost of prescription medicines and followup appointments, you may not be able to attend work, and the pain and suffering that you suffer after a car accident could last an indefinite amount of time. If you’ve been injured in a Fort Lauderdale car accident, the attorneys at Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC are ready to hear your case. There is no charge for a consultation.
Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents
Whether you are a full-time resident, a part-time resident, or a vacationer, if you’ve spent any time driving around Fort Lauderdale’s major roadways, like US1, Broward Boulevard, etc., you are aware of the remarkable density of traffic during the morning and afternoon rush hours. The city of Fort Lauderdale has approximately 185,000 residents, but with our during the season, between November and May, our roadway traffic is commensurate with a much higher population. And every personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale knows that because of that, we also have a much higher rate of accidents.
In the year 2019, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department wrote 34,064 uniform traffic citations. While not all of those were connected with car accidents, a significant portion were. The year before, the state of Florida reported over 400,000 traffic crashes. Over 10% of those, 41,082, occurred in Broward County. Of the accidents that occurred in our county, there were 237 deaths and almost 25,000 injuries. And this was not an unusual year. The past two years reflect similar numbers. With this many car accidents occurring within and near the borders of Fort Lauderdale, it’s no wonder that car accident attorneys are in such high demand.
Florida Car Accident Law – What You Need to Know
There are some things that you should know about Florida car accident law and personal injury law that could affect your case, and the sooner you understand these specific issues, the better. For legal advice, contact the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC. All consultations are free of charge and we can accommodate phone meetings, video conferences, or in-hospital visits in the Fort Lauderdale area.
Police Car Accident Reporting
Under Florida law, the police must complete a long-form traffic crash report for any motor vehicle accident involving injuries. If you suspect that you’re injured, tell the police immediately. There may be pressure at the scene of the accident to simply exchange information and leave, but calling 911 may be one of the best decisions that you make. If you were not aware of your injuries at the time of the crash, you can ask the police to supplement the original report with the new information.
Florida is a No-Fault Insurance State
In order to legally drive in Florida, the law requires you to carry Personal Injury Protection insurance (PIP). If you’re injured in an accident, your policy pays for you and your passengers’ injuries, regardless of fault. It’s important to note that your PIP policy may not cover all of the expenses related to your injuries. Your medical bills may exceed your coverage and you may incur expenses that aren’t covered by your policy. Many drivers carry additional riders to cover their liability should they be found at fault in a car accident that causes injury to another. If your auto accident injuries exceed the coverage of your policy, your car accident lawyer may be able to pursue the other driver’s additional policies to cover your claim. Contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer in our office to discuss your case.
Damages in Personal Injury Cases
The laws affecting injury damages in auto accident claims vary from state to state. The types of damages and laws affecting limits are applicable to Florida only. Please consult a car accident lawyer from the applicable jurisdiction if you were involved in an auto accident in another state.
Economic damages include the bills you incur from your accident, as well as a range of other monetary losses, including ambulance fees, hospitalization, doctor bills, follow-up appointments, surgeries, medication, therapy, transportation to and from medical appointments, property damage, and lost wages from work. If that seems like an exhaustive list, it isn’t. There are many more items that may fall under the economic damages from an accident that you and your attorney will closely examine and include in your upcoming negotiations. The state of Florida does not cap economic damages for these lawsuits. It’s important that you track all expenses related to your car accident so your car accident attorney can tabulate them in the settlement requests.
This category of damages is often referred to as “pain and suffering” among car accident attorneys. It includes hard to calculate items, such as physical pain that you experience, emotional trauma, the inconvenience to your life caused by your recovery. In wrongful death cases, it could also include loss of companionship. The state of Florida does not have a cap on pain and suffering damages. To learn more about non-economic damage contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer in our office.
These are damages that exceed compensation and are designed to punish the defendant for wanton or egregious actions. In an auto accident case, the plaintiff’s lawyer would have to show that their client’s injury or injuries were caused by an excessively reckless action on the part of the at-fault party. A Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer from our office can advise you whether they believe your case is likely to garner punitive damages.
Statute of Limitations for Florida Car Accidents
For reasons that have nothing to do with the statute of limitations, it’s important that you speak to a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney at your earliest convenience. Evidence is lost with time and your auto accident attorney will want to start collecting information as soon as you contact them.
For most car accidents, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is four years from the date of the accident. If the accident ended in a wrongful death, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, involving an attorney who handles accidents and car accident injuries at your earliest convenience is in your best interests. You need a personal injury lawyer — Fort Lauderdale is home to Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, ready to help.
Car Accident Types
While high-speed collisions tend to be associated with serious injuries, even a small rear-end collision in a parking lot can lead to a moderate but painful case of whiplash that can require months of recuperation to heal properly. We’ve provided a brief description of some of the most prevalent car accidents our clients have experienced around Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Whether the car is stopped at a traffic signal, a stop sign, or in a line of cars leaving the mall or grocery store, these are by far the most prolific types of crashes in Fort Lauderdale and a leading cause of whiplash, which can occur at low speeds. Under Florida law, the driver in the rear vehicle is almost always considered to be at fault. If you have been struck from behind, you should discuss your case with an accident attorney.
This type of car wreck can occur when a driver changes lanes without making sure that they have clearance. Because both vehicles are moving, it can cause one or more drivers to lose control of their vehicles, causing severe injuries.
These accidents usually occur at intersections when one of the drivers fails to yield the right of way. The results can be devastating to the occupants of both vehicles. Many times, if you contact an attorney about your case in time, they can get recorded data from intersection cameras.
When two vehicles strike each other head-on, the speed at impact is the sum of the speed of the cars. That means that if both cars are driving 35 mph, the impact is the same as a vehicle traveling 70 mph hitting a brick wall. Head-on collisions aren’t as common as the other types of accidents around Fort Lauderdale, FL, which is fortunate because they’re often fatal. Head-on accidents often result in ejections from the vehicle and airbag deployments, which can also cause injuries.
Motorcycles are fast and they offer no exterior protection for the rider. Almost all motorcycle accidents involve injury to the rider. Even if you’re wearing your helmet and protective gear, you can be severely injured. If another driver was at fault for your motorcycle accident, you may have a case. Contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney at our downtown.
Commercial Truck Accidents
Big-rig trucks can have twenty times the mass of a car, so the injury that they can impart on the occupants of a smaller vehicle is much greater than with a car-on-car crash with the same circumstances. Commercial vehicles and their drivers are regulated by both the Department of Transportation and the state of Florida. Personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale are familiar with the requirements of drivers an know how to find out if the drivers were compliant at the time of the crash.
A person walking or riding a bicycle or e-scooter is at a distinct disadvantage when they come in contact with a car. As is the case with motorcycle accidents, there is no outer protection for the victim. Consequently, this type of accident will almost always be serious.
Fort Lauderdale Beach is famous for its vibrant nightlife, but you should also know that drinking goes on all around the city. Drinking alcohol slows response times and leads to car accidents. If you’re injured by a drunk driver you’re entitled to compensation, even if the police decided not to make an arrest.
FAQ About Car Accidents
The following are the answers that we most commonly hear from our clients.
If you’re injured in an accident, the insurance company will be more than happy to settle with you directly. In fact, the adjuster may show up at the scene of the accident or in the hospital and offer to cut you a check for your medical expenses, vehicle damage, and a little extra for your inconvenience. You will, however, be required to sign a waiver of liability absolving them of further responsibility. That means that once that payment is gone, you can’t come back for more. A car accident lawyer knows what’s required for you to make a full and fair recovery. They can also connect you with the medical experts who are best able to assist you on your road to recover and work with you on credit until your case is settled.
Accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, FL — and nearly everywhere else in the United States — work on a contingency basis, which means that they’re paid from the proceeds of your settlement or award. At Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, you never pay out of pocket and we will disclose our contingency fee schedule prior to your committing to our law firm.
For personal injury lawyers, Fort Lauderdale and beyond is covered by the Florida State Bar Association, who sets the guidelines for contingency fees for car accidents and other types of accident cases. Because they do not set a schedule, like in some states, and only say that fees must be reasonable, you should make sure to know what the law firm’s fee schedule is in advance of committing to them. Remember, you should never have to pay for a consultation.
Yes! If that’s what they recommend, you should go. Your safety is paramount and it should have no negative effect on the outcome of your case. On the contrary, it might be helpful to establish a baseline for your accident injuries.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Car Accidents
The seconds and minutes after a car accident can be confusing, but it’s important to your safety, recovery, and legal case that you maintain your composure. The following is a general guideline for car accidents. All auto collisions are different, so some of these steps may not be applicable.
- Make sure you’re in a safe location – This could mean staying in your car or getting out and moving to the side of the road. Before exiting your vehicle, make sure that you aren’t stepping into traffic.
- Call 911 for emergency services – Call for police and fire rescue. If there are injuries, both will respond. The dispatcher will ask for your location. If you aren’t sure, see if anyone around you knows where you are. Check for road signs or familiar buildings that could give responding units a better idea of where you are. They will also want to know the extent of injuries, how many vehicles were involved, and the vehicle description. If you don’t have a piece of information, just let them know that you don’t have it.
- Take Video of the Scene – If you can do it from a safe vantage point, take videos of as much detail as possible. Photographs are also good, but a video captures details that may be important from an evidentiary standpoint. Try to include damage to the vehicles, injuries to yourself and other parties, debris on the roadway, geographic indicators, and anything else that you believe would help depict the accident. Do not edit or alter your video content. Back it up for safety and make sure you tell your lawyer that you have it.
- Talk to potential witnesses – If the police haven’t arrived on the scene, ask anyone who has stopped or come over if they saw anything. If they are going to leave, ask for their contact information. Witnesses will often leave as soon as they make sure that the injuries aren’t life-threatening.
- Allow rescue to examine you – As was mentioned in the previous section, this will not harm your case. If you need medical attention, go with rescue and follow up with your doctor.
- Don’t sign anything from an insurer – Insurance adjuster can often be tricky. Don’t sign anything until you’ve had a chance to talk to an attorney. If they have a card, take it as a point of contact with the insurance company.
- Talk to a Fort Lauderdale accident attorney – We are happy to take your call and discuss your case.
Why choose Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC?
Our team of top-tier accident lawyers has been helping clients get large settlements and awards for decades. Our successful endeavors have garnered clients hundreds of millions of dollars. Our time working in the Broward County civil courtrooms has allowed us to become familiar with the practices of various judges and insurance company lawyers.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may not be able to come to our law office. We will send a diligent, aggressive attorney to your location or arrange a teleconference with you. We do not charge our clients consultation fees. We only collect when we win. Contact us today to talk to one of our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers.