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Your Trusted Legal Partner in Auto Accident Cases: Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorney

If you have been in a car crash in Fort Lauderdale, you could be struggling with mounting medical bills, income loss, and pain and suffering. Florida ranks among the top states for the highest healthcare costs, and Fort Lauderdale is no exception. Notably, Florida is a no-fault state. This means your own insurance has to cover your care expenses, no matter who caused the accident.

Englander Peebles is a prominent law firm in Fort Lauderdale, as we have distinguished ourselves for our knowledge in handling car accident cases and the resulting car accident injuries. Bolstered by a committed team of seasoned attorneys, our car accident attorney firm delivers a comprehensive array of legal services aimed at assisting victims in their pursuit of justice and fair compensation. Among our key offerings are thorough investigations into car accidents, ensuring a meticulous examination of every detail. Englander Peebles provides legal advice and guidance to navigate the complexities of the legal process. Our firm excels in representing clients in insurance claims and negotiating with insurance companies to secure rightful compensation.

In instances where negotiations fall short, our firm stands ready to provide litigation and trial representation with a track record of success. Litigation becomes necessary in a car accident case when negotiations for insurance coverage fail to yield a fair settlement or when liability is contested. If efforts to resolve the dispute through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods prove unsuccessful, the injured party may choose to file a lawsuit. You can expect the litigation process to involve court proceedings, formal legal filings, evidence presentation, and potentially a trial, with legal professionals representing each party. This is only typically pursued when a satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved through other means, and legal intervention is required to seek compensation and determine liability through the court system after a serious vehicle collision.

Above all, Englander Peebles extends compassionate support to accident victims, recognizing the emotional toll of such incidents and striving to be a pillar of strength throughout the legal journey. If you need a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer, you need Englander Peebles.

At Englander Peebles, our car accident attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for injured victims in Florida. We are here to take on powerful insurance companies that do not have your best interests at heart. To make sure you receive full and fair compensation, we will establish compelling evidence, and aggressively pursue negotiations with the insurance company, while remaining prepared to go to trial. Call us at 561-556-6786 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

Man And A Woman Inspecting Their Damaged Cars

Car Accident Injury Laws in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Because of the no-fault rule in Florida, all drivers are required to have a certain amount of car insurance before they can legally drive. It is designed to make sure everyone gets some immediate help for their injuries without waiting to figure out who was at fault. Even if the other driver slammed into you, your own insurance is the one that steps in to cover those initial costs.

The minimum auto insurance limits are:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This is $10,000 worth of coverage for your own medical bills and lost wages if you get into a motor vehicle accident.
  • Property Damage Liability (PDL): This is another $10,000, but it is for covering the repair costs if you damage someone else’s car or property, like a fence or mailbox.

As efficient as all this sounds, there is one catch to your own insurance covering you: it becomes harder to sue the at-fault driver for extra money unless you are severely injured. The no-fault system limits your ability to file a lawsuit against other parties who may have caused (or contributed) to your crash, however, you can step outside this system if your injuries meet a certain “threshold.”

As per the Florida Statute § 627.737, you can sue the at-fault driver if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Permanent injury, other than scarring or disfigurement, as confirmed by a doctor (spinal Cord Damage, head injury, third-degree burns, organ damage, chronic pain, etc.)
  • Death

If you or your loved one have suffered any damage to this extent, you can pursue additional compensation for your pain and suffering and other losses that are not covered by your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.

Understanding the Importance of Legal Representation in Car Accident Cases

For Fort Lauderdale car accidents, understanding the crucial role of legal representation that personal injury attorneys provide is incredibly important. Navigating the aftermath of a car accident involves a labyrinth of legal complexities, insurance intricacies, and potential disputes. Having a dedicated legal team, such as Englander Peebles, at your side can make all the difference.

Our professional car accident lawyers in Fort Lauderdale bring a wealth of experience to the table, conducting thorough investigations into the circumstances of the accident to build a robust case. Legal advice and guidance become invaluable, ensuring that victims are well-informed and equipped to make sound decisions throughout the legal process. Representation in insurance claims is a pivotal service, as our skilled attorneys negotiate with insurance companies to secure fair and just compensation for their clients. In cases where negotiations fall short, the litigation and trial representation offered by the firm becomes instrumental in pursuing justice through the legal system. The importance of compassionate support cannot be overstated. Recognizing that car accidents often take a toll beyond the physical, Englander Peebles is committed to providing unwavering support to accident victims throughout their legal journey.

Remember, the significance of legal representation in car accident cases lies not only in navigating the legal intricacies but also in empowering victims to seek the justice and compensation for medical expenses and emotional damage they rightfully deserve.

Common Causes of Car Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

Common causes of car accidents in Fort Lauderdale, as in many other urban areas, are often rooted in a combination of human error, environmental factors, and vehicular issues. The most prevalent factor is distracted driving, where drivers divert their attention from the road due to activities such as texting, talking on the phone, or adjusting in-car entertainment systems. Reckless driving, including speeding and aggressive maneuvers, contributes significantly to accidents on Fort Lauderdale roads. Another common cause is impaired driving, often linked to alcohol or drug use, impairing a driver’s ability to react quickly and make sound decisions. Adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain or sudden storms, can also lead to accidents, reducing visibility and creating slippery roads. Additionally, inadequate road maintenance and infrastructure issues may play a role, causing hazards for unsuspecting drivers. Understanding and addressing these common causes can help your auto accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale know who to make a claim against. For instance, if the cause of your motor vehicle crash was a poorly maintained road, the city may be at fault, not the other driver.

Who Can You Sue for Your Car Crash in Fort Lauderdale

In most cases, it is another driver on the road who was driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol, speeding, texting, or simply not paying attention who is considered liable for the crash. There are circumstances when other parties can also be found responsible (i.e., you can file a third-party insurance claim). These include:

  • Vehicle owner: If the car was being driven by someone who did not own it, and the owner knowingly lent their car to a driver who is reckless or unlicensed.
  • Employer: If a delivery, Uber/Lyft or truck driver was on the clock and using a company car when the accident happened.
  • Car manufacturers: If a defect in one of the cars caused it to crash, e.g., damaged brakes or airbags.
  • Local government: If the city or county failed to properly take care of the road, e.g., unclear signage or big potholes.
  • Bars or restaurants: If a bar serves alcohol to someone who is clearly drunk, and that person causes an accident, the bar could be held liable under Florida’s “dram shop” laws.
  • Pedestrians or cyclists: If someone on foot or a bicycle was not following the traffic rules and that contributed to the collision.
  • Construction companies: If the accident occurred in a construction zone, the company responsible for the site could be liable if they did not follow safety regulations or properly signal changes in the road.

Although not directly liable, insurance providers can also be held accountable if they are not willing to pay out a fair settlement. As you can see, determining who should pay your damages can get complicated especially when multiple parties are involved. That is why having good car accident lawyers in your corner can make a big difference in sorting out who owes you what.

Damaged Car After Accident

How Do You Prove the Other Party Was at Fault?

So, you have decided to not just rely on your insurance but also take legal action against the negligent parties. Keep it in mind that this part will depend on whether or not you can prove the other party’s direct connection to your car crashing and you sustaining serious injuries.

The obvious answer here is that you need a lot of right evidence. Make sure you and other passengers in your car with you are safe, park your vehicle in a safe way out of the traffic (if you can), then take out your smartphone and start recording it all. Take pictures of your car, the other car, the road, the traffic lights, everything; even better if you can record a video. If, say, the other driver ran a red light, a clear picture of that traffic light can be the difference between you getting blamed and the other driver taking responsibility.

Call 911 as well. You would be surprised how many people skip this step, especially for “minor” car accidents. Do not make that mistake. The police report is an official account of what happened, and it usually says who is at fault. Make sure you get a copy.

While you are waiting for the law enforcement to arrive, see if there are any people standing around who saw what happened. Get their names and numbers. In many of our car accident cases, just the idea that an unbiased witness is willing to talk is a powerful motivator for many culprits to settle well.

If you are injured, go straight to the emergency room or an urgent care center near you to seek medical care – and save those records. These medical documents will be vital in linking your injuries to the collision. So, if the other driver’s car accident attorney claims that, for instance, your back was already in a bad condition, we can point to those records and easily prove them wrong.

One more thing you can do to tip the scales in your favor is getting in touch with our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers within 24 hours of your crash. That way, our auto accident lawyer can track down any available surveillance footage from nearby businesses or traffic cameras, and then go through this footage frame by frame to establish fault.

We can also subpoena the other driver’s phone records around the time of the auto accident to check for any activity that could indicate they were using their phone. This can help us establish their negligent behavior. To that end, we will also review the police report to see if there are any traffic citations against that driver. If the cops conducted any field sobriety test results or breathalyzer tests at the scene, it will all be in their report and clearly prove that DUI was a factor.

Collecting and analyzing all this evidence can take weeks so the sooner you get in touch with us, the faster we can get to work.

Totalled Car From Front End Collision

10 Steps to Take After Being Involved in Car Crashes

Being involved in a car accident can be a disorienting and stressful experience, especially if you’re dealing with catastrophic injuries, major property damage, emotional trauma, or a combination of all three. To navigate the aftermath effectively, it’s crucial to follow a series of steps. Here are key actions to take after being involved in a car accident:

#1 Ensure Safety: Florida law requires that you move to a safe location, such as the side of the road, to avoid further risks of accidents or injuries.

#2 Check for Injuries: Assess yourself and others for injuries. If there are injuries, call emergency services immediately for medical assistance.

#3 Contact the Police: Regardless of the severity of the accident, contact local law enforcement to report the incident. Obtain a copy of the police report for your records.

#4 Exchange Information: Exchange names, contact information, insurance details, and vehicle registration with all parties involved. Also, collect contact information from any witnesses.

#5 Document the Scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, license plates, and the surrounding environment. This can serve as valuable evidence later.

#6 Do Not Admit Fault: Avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Stick to the facts when discussing the accident with others.

#7 Seek Medical Attention: Even if your bodily injury seems minor, it’s advisable to seek medical attention promptly. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately. This is crucial when you eventually seek compensation.

#8 Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate information about the incident.

#9 Keep Records: Maintain a file with all relevant documents, including the police report, medical records, and communication with insurance companies. This will be helpful during the claims process as we prove your accident was due to someone else’s negligence or actions.

#10 Consult with an Attorney: If the accident results in significant injuries or disputes with insurance companies, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney for legal guidance.

A Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer from our firm can help you with many of these steps.

Better Understand the Florida Car Accident Claims Process

The Florida car accident insurance claim process involves several steps, and understanding these steps along with potential challenges can be crucial for individuals seeking compensation after an accident. Here’s an overview of the process and common challenges:

#1 Report the Accident: Report the accident to your insurance company promptly. Provide them with accurate details about the incident.

#2 Seek Medical Treatment: Always seek medical attention. Document your bodily injuries and treatment, as this information will be crucial for your claim.

#3 File a Claim: Submit a formal claim to your insurance company, including details about the accident, damages, and injuries. The insurance company will assign an adjuster to investigate the claim.

#4 Investigation: The insurance adjuster will conduct an investigation, reviewing the accident details, medical records, and other relevant information. They will assess the damages to your vehicle.

#5 Determination of Fault: Florida follows a “no-fault” insurance system, meaning each driver’s insurance pays for their own injuries and damages regardless of who is at fault. In certain auto accidents, if injuries are severe or meet certain criteria, you may step outside the no-fault system and pursue a liability claim against the at-fault party.

#6 Payout or Denial: The insurance company will either approve your claim and offer a settlement or deny it. If a settlement is offered, it may cover medical expenses, property damage, and, in some cases, lost wages.

Potential Challenges in a Personal Injury Case

Disputes Over Fault: Insurance companies may dispute liability, leading to delays or complications in the claims process and making it difficult to get a fair settlement.

Inadequate Compensation: Insurance settlements may not always cover the full extent of your damages, especially if you have significant medical expenses or long-term injuries. A lawyer will work on your behalf to help you recover compensation in these cases.

Delays in Processing: Insurance companies may take time to investigate and process claims, leading to delays in receiving compensation.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists: If the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured, obtaining compensation that covers medical expenses can be challenging. In such cases, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can be crucial, as is a personal injury claim.

Legal Complexities: Understanding the legal aspects of a claim, especially if the insurance company is refusing to cover things like future medical expenses and future lost wages, can be complex. Legal representation from a Fort Lauderdale car injury lawyer may be necessary.

Navigating the Florida car accident insurance claim process can be intricate. The importance of working with an empathetic and supportive legal team cannot be overstated. We highly recommend that you seek legal counsel from one of our motor vehicle accident attorneys if you encounter challenges or if the injuries are severe. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses.

FAQs about Car Accident Claims in Fort Lauderdale

How long do I have to report a car wreck in Fort Lauderdale?

Under Florida Statutes section 316.065, you have 10 days to report it to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) if it results in injury, death, or car repair costs exceeding $500. However, this is separate from immediately notifying the police and your insurance company, which should be done as soon as possible after the accident.

Can I sue the city for poor road conditions that led to my accident?

Yes, you can, but you will need to prove that the city knew about the defects and did nothing. You also have a shorter time frame, generally within six months, to file a Notice of Claim.

How can I get compensated if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured?

Check your own insurance policy for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. It is specifically designed for situations just like this. If you have it, you can file a car accident claim with your own insurance company to cover your damages. You can also choose to sue the uninsured driver.

How long does it take to settle a Fort Lauderdale car accident case?

It all depends on how straightforward your personal injury claim is. If the fault is clear and your injuries are minor, you might settle in 3-5 months. Car insurance companies are quicker to settle when the facts are undeniable. If your injuries are debilitating with permanent or long-term effects, several parties are involved, or there are questions about who is at fault, it can take a year or more.

Can I get compensated even if I was at fault?

Kind of. Previously, Florida had a “pure” comparative negligence system which meant that even if you were 99% responsible for crashing your own vehicle, you could still recover 1% of your damages from the other party.

However, because of the new laws passed in 2023, Florida is now a “modified” comparative negligence system. This means if you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover any damages from the other party even if the other driver was also breaking the law. This is why it is even more important to work with a skilled Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer who can collect good evidence; because if you cross that 50% threshold, you will get nothing.

What is the statute of limitations for car accident claims in Fort Lauderdale?

Up until 2022, Floridians had four years from the date of the crash to file a personal injury lawsuit for motor vehicle accidents. The 2023 tort reform law has cut this window in half to just two years. If you or your family member were injured in a collision today, you have exactly two years from today to file a lawsuit. If you miss that deadline, the court is very unlikely to hear your case.

This obviously puts a lot more pressure on you to act quickly. Your injury lawyers will now have less time to put together the evidence and negotiate with the defendants so do not drag your feet. Contact us right away.

T-Bone Collision Between Two Cars

Why Choose Englander Peebles as Your Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorneys

Our senior partners, Gary B. Englander and Warren Q. Peebles, each have a deep understanding of Florida’s personal injury laws and a strong sense of responsibility to protect the rights of their clients. Their track record of having secured more than $10 million in court verdicts and out-of-court settlements speaks for itself.

You should note that you do not have to pay a dime upfront to benefit from our legal expertise. We only get paid if we win a financial settlement or verdict for you. We have successfully represented numerous car accident victims and their families across South Florida and we are confident in our skills to take on all the financial risk ourselves.

We encourage you to get in touch with our personal injury law firm soon after the accident. As part of our investigation, we will need to obtain hard evidence, such as photos and videos from the crash site, surveillance camera footage, eyewitness accounts, and accident reconstruction reports if necessary. However, evidence can get diluted or may disappear altogether if there is a delay. Our attorneys will move fast to secure evidence the moment you sign up with us. Fill out this contact form or give our personal injury lawyers a call at 561-556-6786 today to schedule your free case review.