Car Accident Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you have been involved in a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, you may be wondering how you will be able to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. While you can use your own personal injury protection coverage to pay for your injuries up to your policy limit, you may also be eligible to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance. A Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need.

Call the attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. today: (954) 524-2820.

Personal Injury Protection Coverage

In the state of Florida, all drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP), or “no-fault,” coverage. According to Fla. Stat. § 627.736, PIP coverage in Florida provides motorists with up to $10,000 for medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is at fault for the accident. PIP coverage extends to relatives in your home, those who drive your vehicle with permission, and passengers.

If you are involved in an accident, PIP coverage will cover 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages. PIP coverage will also take care of all of your replacement services. If the policyholder dies as a result of the accident, the policy will provide $5,000 in death benefits.

Is there a deadline to file?

In order for PIP to cover your medical bills and lost wages, you will need to seek initial medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. In addition, you must also submit all your medical bills to your insurance company within 35 days of the date of the treatment.

If you do not abide by the following deadlines, you may have to pay for your medical bills and lost wages out of your own pocket.

Can I sue the other driver?

In some cases, yes you can sue if the other driver is at-fault for the accident. However, you must first be able to prove that your injury was “serious” before you are able to begin a claim. A serious injury is one that:

  • Is permanent
  • Causes significant disfigurement or scarring
  • Results in a loss of bodily function

You can use your medical records, as well as expert testimony, to prove your injury is serious.

If you are able to establish a serious injury, you may be eligible to file a claim against the other driver. To file a claim or suit against the other driver, you must be able to prove the driver’s negligence caused your accident. A Fort Lauderdale accident attorney at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. can help you build your case.

How do I prove the other driver was negligent?

In order to prove that the other driver was at-fault for the accident, you need to prove the following four elements of negligence:

Duty of care

When a driver operates a motor vehicle, he has a legal duty to drive carefully and not put other motorists at risk. Proving this element is relatively easy for plaintiffs.

Breach of duty

The most difficult part of the case will be proving that the other driver behaved negligently and breached his duty to other motorists on the road. Insurers will look at a number of factors when determining negligence, including whether the driver was speeding, driving under the influence, or disobeying traffic signs.

To prove negligence, you will want to collect as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident, such as:

  • Eyewitness statements: An eyewitness can testify that she saw the driver texting just before the accident.
  • Photos: Photos of the accident scene (e.g., the damages to both cars, the angle of the vehicles, any road hazards, any evidence of evasive maneuvers such as skid marks, etc.) can help explain how the accident occurred and who was at fault.
  • Police report: If you call police to the scene, officers will make a police report discussing the accident and any citations issued. It may also include the officer’s thoughts on which driver was at fault.

While proving fault may be easier in certain cases, for more complicated cases, especially those with disputed liability, you will want to enlist the help of an attorney. The attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. have decades of experience helping clients prove negligence.

Causation

You must prove that the driver’s negligence was the actual cause of your accident. For example, if you suffered a herniated disc in your accident, you must be able to prove that your injury was actually the result of the accident and not a preexisting condition. An attorney can help you prove causation.

Damages

You must be able to prove that the accident caused you injury in some way. For example, you need to prove that the accident resulted in high medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.

What can I recover compensation for after an accident?

Once you have proven that the other driver is liable, you will recover damages to help cover your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. While PIP coverage does take care of some damages, the at-fault driver can be held responsible for damages not covered by PIP or damages that exceed PIP coverage

You may be eligible to recover two types of damages in a Florida car accident case: economic, noneconomic, and punitive.

  • Economic damages: Economic damages include medical treatment costs, lost wages, in-home nursing care, home and vehicle renovations, the costs of hiring someone to help out around the house (e.g., if you had to hire a landscaping service to mow the grass because your injuries make it impossible for you to do so), etc. You can prove these damages with receipts, invoices, W-2s, and other documentation.
  • Noneconomic damages: You may also be eligible to recover noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish you and your family suffered due to your injury. These injuries are difficult to put a value on, but an attorney can help.

A court rarely awards punitive damages, but you may be eligible to collect these damages if your injuries were due to the defendant’s wanton misconduct or intentional harm (e.g., the driver was intoxicated, the driver intentionally hit you, etc.). Speak with a Fort Lauderdale attorney to see if you might be eligible for punitive damages.

Where can I find an attorney to help with my case?

Understanding Florida insurance laws and the intricacies of filing a car accident claim or lawsuit can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. are here to help. The attorneys on staff have years of experience dealing with car accident cases just like yours.

Remember that the deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit in Florida is four years (two years for wrongful death). That may seem like a long time, but it goes quickly. For help gathering evidence, filing a claim, negotiating with insurers, or filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party, give us a call. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay us anything unless we win your case for you.

Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation: (954) 524-2820.