Were you or someone you love injured in a crash? At Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A., our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers can fight for you to recover the compensation you deserve. We have more than six decades of experience on our side and are passionate about helping those who have suffered harm due to negligence.
You may be entitled to substantial compensation if you suffered severe injuries in an auto accident. Our car accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale can meticulously investigate your case and aggressively advocate on your behalf, whether we're negotiating a settlement with the insurance company or taking your case to trial.
Learn more about your legal options by contacting a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney at Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. We are available 24/7 and offer free consultations.
- Why you should hire a car accident lawyer
- Determining liability in a car accident case
- Florida's no-fault insurance rule for car accidents
- Steps to take immediately after an accident
- Frequently asked questions
$30.5 Million Car AccidentsThe firm won $30.5 million in compensation for the family of a man who sustained a brain injury in a car accident.
$30 Million Car AccidentsJohnson V Prada - $30 Million verdict after Mr. Johnson suffered brain damage from an auto accident.
$15.7 Million Car AccidentsRoster v Florida Dept of Transportation - $15,737,000 verdict. Mr. Roster was struck by a drunk driver and left a quadriplegic.
Why You Should Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Until a car accident victim retains legal representation, the insurance company knows they are dealing with someone who does not know the law as well as they do. Insurance adjusters often take advantage of injured victims while dealing with the financial, physical, and emotional consequences of an injury, pushing them to accept a low settlement when they deserve much more!
Did you know? On average, insurance payouts are 3.5 times higher for individuals that retain a personal injury lawyer.
By hiring a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer from Schlesinger Law Offices, you receive an experienced legal advocate who understands the law and has the tenacity to fight for your rights and every penny of compensation you deserve. In addition, we have courtroom experience and are prepared to take your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be negotiated with the insurance company.
Determining Liability in a Car Accident Case
The process of determining liability after a car accident is quite complex. That is because innumerable factors could have contributed to the crash. It takes a highly experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer to uncover the circumstances of the impact to prove who or what was at fault.
Claims are generally categorized in one of three ways:
- Accidents caused by the negligence of another driver
- Accidents caused by defective parts or vehicle design
- Accidents caused by dangerous or defective roadways
At Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A., our Fort Lauderdale car wreck attorneys are familiar with the science behind car accidents and are far better equipped to secure compensation than those with little to no experience. The process of analyzing a crash involves the application of as much science as it does of law. We also utilize professional investigators to determine precisely what occurred during the car collision.
Our car accident lawyers can use this information to prove who was liable for your injuries and hold them accountable.
Florida's No-Fault Insurance Rule for Car Accidents
For auto accidents only, Florida has a no-fault insurance law that means you must file a claim with your own insurance company, instead of filing a claim against the other driver. The advantage of this no-fault rule is that if you are injured in a car crash, you can receive compensation regardless of who is at fault. The downside is that a personal injury protection policy (PIP) is often not enough to fully compensate a victim if their injuries are very serious. Thankfully, cases that involve serious injury are an exception to Florida's no-fault liability system.
If your injuries meet the following requirements, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver or a third party to pursue additional compensation:
- The injury is permanent
- There is significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- There is significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
Let the Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys at Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. fight for the full amount of compensation you deserve. Our experienced team can assist you with filing the initial claim with your insurer and help you seek any additional damages you are entitled.
What Additional Damages Could I Get If I Decide to Sue?
If you file a lawsuit against the driver that caused your car accident, you may be able to recover unpaid medical bills and lost wages as well as non-economic damages. In Florida, a lawsuit can help you recover additional damages that are not available in an insurance claim.
This is because PIP does not cover all expenses associated with an accident. First, your policy may have a deductible—an amount you have to pay out-of-pocket before coverage kicks in. After you reach your deductible, PIP only covers 80% of the costs of your necessary medical treatments and 70% of lost wages. And, it will only pay this much until you reach your policy’s maximum—$10,000, for most.
Therefore, you may be faced with significant expenses even after turning to your insurance. In a car accident lawsuit, you can request compensation for anything your insurer did not pay, including the remaining percentage of your medical bills and lost wages. We can also help you calculate compensation for challenges like pain, suffering, mental anguish, and disability.
Because a personal injury lawsuit can increase your compensation manyfold, it’s worth considering if you are eligible to file. When recovering from an accident, knowing you have a safety net can reduce your stress and allow you to focus more on healing. Ask our attorneys how we can help you secure your finances and future if you were injured in a serious car accident.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?
Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means you can still recover compensation in a car accident case even if you are partially at fault for the accident; however, your recovery of damages will be reduced. The judge will determine what percentage of fault each party shares for the accident. When a recovery is awarded, that percentage will be deducted from the total.
For example, if a judge concluded that you were 10% at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, and a jury awarded you $50,000 in compensation, you would receive a final recovery of $45,000. Insurance companies may also use the comparative negligence rule when determining a settlement, so even if your case does not go to trial (which is most likely), the comparative negligence rule can still affect you.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Accident
If you’re ever in a car accident, you should take these steps immediately:
- Make sure everyone involved is safe and unharmed. If medical attention is needed, call 911 immediately.
- Secure the scene of the accident by turning on your hazard lights and setting up warning cones or flares if necessary.
- Exchange insurance information with all drivers involved in the accident. Take pictures of vehicle damage as well as license plates for your records.
- Notify the police about the accident even if it was a minor one; you may need an incident report for insurance or legal purposes later.
- Contact your insurance company right away to file an incident report and get help with repairs and any claims you may have due to the accident.
- Call a Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney at your first opportunity to discuss whether you should file an injury claim in addition to your car insurance claim.
What to Do If the Other Driver's Insurance Company Contacts You
If the other driver's insurance company contacts you after a car accident, it's important to proceed with caution. Here are some steps to follow:
- Be cautious about discussing details: Avoid providing any detailed statements or admitting fault during conversations with the insurance company. Stick to basic facts about the accident, such as the date, time, and location.
- Consult with an attorney: You should always consult with a car accident attorney before engaging in discussions with the insurance company. An attorney can provide guidance on your rights, handle communication with the insurer on your behalf, and help protect your interests.
- Document everything: Keep thorough records of all communication with the insurance company, including dates, times, and names of the individuals you speak with. Also, save any written correspondence or emails exchanged.
- Don't sign anything without review: Avoid signing any settlement offers or releases without first consulting with your attorney. Insurance companies may try to offer quick settlements that may not fully compensate you for your damages.
- Be mindful of your statements on social media: Insurance companies may monitor social media activity, so be cautious about what you post. Avoid discussing the accident or your injuries on public platforms, as it could be used against you.
Remember, the primary goal of the other driver's insurance company is to minimize their liability and pay out as little as possible. Having legal representation can help ensure your rights are protected and increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Do I Have to Call the Police After a Car Accident in Fort Lauderdale?
Yes, it is important to call the police after a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Even if the accident was minor, you should contact the police to report it and get an incident report for insurance or legal purposes. Make sure to exchange insurance information with all drivers involved and take pictures of vehicle damage before leaving the scene.
What if the Other Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
If the other driver does not have insurance, try to get as much information and evidence from them as possible. This should include their name, contact information, license plate number, and a description of the other vehicle. Take pictures of the damage and keep notes of what happened at the scene. You will need this information if you decide to file a first-party claim through your own insurance company, such as a personal injury protection (PIP) claim or an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. You should also talk to a car accident attorney to see if there is a way to file directly against the uninsured driver.
What If My Injuries Presented Themselves Long After An Auto Accident?
Even if you are not experiencing any symptoms or pain after an accident, it is crucial to request a full medical evaluation as soon as possible. You are not a doctor and cannot adequately assess the extent of any injuries you might have sustained; neglecting to see a doctor puts you at risk for permanent or long-term damage. Not only will seeing a doctor protect your health, but it will also help strengthen your case if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim in Fort Lauderdale.
Another reason why seeking medical attention is important is so you can understand what an adequate offer of compensation would be. It would be impossible to know if you are receiving a fair offer if you have not been fully evaluated by a medical professional. As such, you should never accept a settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company without fully understanding the extent of your injuries or without consulting a car accident lawyer serving Fort Lauderdale beforehand. If you accept this offer, you will not be able to reopen your case if it turns out the offer did not adequately cover your losses.
When Should I Talk to an Attorney About My Case?
If you've been injured in a car accident you should call a car accident lawyer serving Fort Lauderdale as soon as possible because there is a deadline for filing a claim. Florida's statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is four years, which means your case must be filed within that timeframe.
Another important reason to talk to a personal injury attorney quickly is the preservation of evidence. Your attorney may need to collect witness statements, obtain medical records, and have your automobile examined in order to win your accident case. The more time passes, the harder it can be to get reliable evidence to support your car accident case.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
When you're suffering from injuries and dealing with the costs of repairing your automobile, the last thing you want to worry about is paying attorney fees. In Florida, personal injury lawyers operate on a contingent fee, which means all legal fees associated with your case are taken out of the final recovery amount, so you pay no upfront costs or hourly retainers. A typical contingent fee is about 33% but can be higher or lower depending on the agreement you make with your Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer.
Will I Have to Go to Court for My Car Accident Case?
The need to go to court for a car accident case in Fort Lauderdale will depend on the details of the incident. In most cases, insurance companies and lawyers can settle claims out of court. However, if there is a dispute or disagreement between the opposing parties, they may need to resolve it through litigation in a court of law.
How Long Will It Take To Settle My Car Accident Case?
The state of Florida requires insurance companies to resolve accident claims quickly and efficiently.
Per state law, insurance companies have a total of 90 days to process and payout a claim. The clock starts ticking the day the claim is received. In addition, insurance has only 14 days to notify you that your claim has been received, as well as to send you any additional paperwork. Once a settlement is reached, payments must be made within 20 days.
On the other hand, if you have filed a lawsuit for damages suffered in a car accident, the average time it will take to reach a settlement may be 6 months to a year, or longer. Severe injuries that either (a) take a long time to heal or (b) are not expected to heal completely can push a settlement back.
Other factors that may affect how long it will take to settle your lawsuit include:
- The time it takes for you to heal
- The time it takes to consult experts and specialists
- The time it takes to receive medical charts and documents
- Whether any mistakes were made in the filing of your lawsuit
- What damages you have suffered
It is important to note that a settlement can be reached right up until the verdict is read. Thus, the answer to how long it will take to receive a settlement depends on the circumstances of your case.
What Is the 14-Day Rule?
To be eligible to file an insurance claim after a car accident in Florida, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days.
You should always visit a doctor, an urgent care clinic, or an emergency room as soon as possible after an accident even if you’re not in pain because some injuries do not make themselves known until later. If you can’t go right away, for whatever reason, it’s imperative to get care within two weeks of your accident. Otherwise, your insurer can legally deny your claim.
Why is it important to get medical attention quickly after an accident? It’s because some injuries, if left untreated, can become worse. Your insurer doesn’t want to have to pay for excess treatment that you wouldn’t have needed if you simply got help right away. You certainly don’t want to have the shoulder these expenses either, so make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible after a crash.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim?
There’s no official deadline to report an accident to your insurer (though you should do it within a few days), but if you wish to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, you have four years from the date of the accident to do so. This gives accident victims time to seek initial treatment and determine whether the $10,000 they carry in PIP will suffice for treatment.
However, it’s not an invitation to wait a long time to get started. The sooner you talk to our team, the more we can do to start finding and preserving evidence that might otherwise be lost after an accident. If you’re not sure whether you even want to file, we offer free, no-obligation consultations; one of our attorneys can evaluate your case and let you know if and how a lawsuit might benefit you.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car crash in Fort Lauderdale, call (954) 467-8800 to schedule a free consultation.
If you need a good lawyer call David Silverman.