Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyers
A network of interstates and roadways runs through Fort Lauderdale, connecting families with friends and consumers to the products and services they need. Whether you travel by car down I-19, along Las Olas Boulevard, or any other heavily traveled road in the “Venice of America,” you’re at risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident due to another person’s negligence or carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other damages. Contact the Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers at The Levin Firm Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your case and understand your legal options.
Why Hire The Levin Firm Personal Injury Lawyers for Your Car Accident Case?
Most people rarely think about hiring an attorney…until they need one. Unfortunately, not all attorneys are equal. It is important to find one who has had success with car accidents, and preferably cases like yours.
The Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys at The Levin Firm Personal Injury Lawyers have the experience and resources to fully investigate your accident and gather evidence to support your car accident claim. We’re not just any personal injury law firm. Our lawyers provide personalized legal services to ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
Our record of success speaks for itself. We have a history of securing multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for injured Fort Lauderdale car accident victims. Don’t take our word for it. Read what our past clients have to say about our law firm.
At The Levin Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, we offer free consultations for prospective clients. The consultation is a way for you to learn more about us, our experience with cases like yours, and our approach to the law. It is also a time for you to discuss the details of your case and obtain guidance as to your legal options. Hiring an accident lawyer is an important step that you can take to protect your rights after a car accident in Fort Lauderdale. Contact us today to discuss your case.
Do I Have a Car Accident Claim?
To be successful in a car accident claim, you must establish negligence on the part of the at-fault driver. Negligence is proven by establishing the following elements in your case:
Duty of Care
The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. This duty of care depends on the type of accident you experienced and the at-fault party’s role in that accident, but generally, the duty of care owed one driver owes another is to operate his or her motor vehicle safely and legally.
Breach of Duty
There was a breach in the duty of care. The breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that were contrary to the duty of care that he or she owed. Examples of breaches of the duty of care that one driver owes to others on the roadway include alcohol-impaired driving, fatigued driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and other risky behaviors.
You must draw a connection between the at-fault driver’s breach of duty and the accident in which you suffered injuries.
Finally, you must have suffered damages due to your accident injuries. This includes medical expenses, lost earnings, and possibly other damages.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, you likely have a lot of questions about your future and your ability to pay for the expense of your medical treatment. Listed below are answers to some of the questions our Fort Lauderdale car accident clients and prospective clients have about car accidents and the process of recovering damages through a car accident lawsuit.
Will my PIP policy provide compensation for me after my accident?
Florida is one of a handful of states that require all drivers who register their vehicle to purchase a
personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy in the event they are involved in a car crash.
The policy that Florida drivers must hold has a limit of at least $10,000 and covers:
- Up to 80 percent of the medical bills related to your own car accident injuries regardless of who is at fault. This includes services such as medical treatment, medication, surgical services, hospitalization, diagnostic services, ambulatory services, and the cost of rehabilitation. If your services are determined to be non-emergent, the amount you can obtain from your PIP policy is capped at $2,500.
- 60 percent of the lost wages you incur as a result of being too injured to work or missing work to attend injury-related medical appointments.
- A $5,000 death benefit for the family of the car accident victim if the insured or someone named on the policy dies as a result of injuries sustained in the car accident.
What if my injuries are more expensive than what my PIP policy will provide?
Personal injury protection provides a way for accident victims who have suffered minor injuries to obtain compensation, regardless of fault, from their own insurance company. However, because most people do not purchase more of this type of insurance than what is required by state law, there isn’t a whole lot of money available to cover the cost of more serious injuries.
If your car accident injury creates more expenses than your policy can cover, your Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer will look into whether the injuries meet Florida’s serious injury threshold.
If they do exceed the threshold, you may seek compensation from the liable party’s insurance through a Fort Lauderdale car accident claim.
Injuries that meet the state’s serious injury threshold are those that:
- Cause significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- Cause permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring and disfigurement.
- Cause significant and permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Result in death.
What kind of damages can I recover from a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawsuit?
Florida allows Fort Lauderdale car accident claimants to seek both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the out-of-pocket expenses that you have incurred because of your injuries, such as:
- Medical expenses, including emergency treatment at the scene of the accident or in the emergency department; transport to the hospital by ambulance or air; diagnostic testing; physician and surgical services; hospitalization; prescription medication; physical therapy and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injury results in a permanent disability that renders you unable to return to work.
- The cost of repairing or replacing personal property, such as your damaged car, after the accident.
- The cost of personal or household services that you can’t perform on your own and must hire someone else to do.
Non-economic damages are the impacts that your injury has had on your life. These are damages that it is difficult to place a value on, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, if your injury prevents you from participating in activities that you previously enjoyed.
- Loss of consortium, which is damage claimed on behalf of the injured person’s spouse due to the loss of physical intimacy and companionship that often accompanies serious injuries.
What is the average car accident settlement in Fort Lauderdale?
Because settlements are determined based on the unique facts of each case, there really is not an “average” settlement.
Instead, these factors can positively or negatively affect the value of the case:
- The amount of insurance the at-fault party has. Insurance policies are how the vast majority of settlements and awards in car accident cases are paid. While it is technically possible to file a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawsuit against an individual who does not have insurance and even to obtain a judgment against that person in court, it will likely be very difficult to collect the award as most individuals can not afford to pay for medical and other car accident expenses out-of-pocket.
- Your overall health and age at the time of the accident. Your age at the time of the accident can impact several damage categories, depending on where you are in your career. The damage categories relating to lost wages and loss of future earning capacity would be higher valued than those of a young person who is not yet working or has not had time to advance up the pay scale at work. It would also likely be more than that of an older person who has reached retirement age and is no longer collecting an income. The presence of pre-existing health conditions can sometimes take away from the value of a case, as the defense can argue that the source of pain and suffering was not the injury suffered in the accident but related to the pre-existing condition.
- Your level of patience. Insurance companies do not like paying out to third parties for damages caused by their insured. However, one thing they dislike even more than payouts is extensive litigation, followed by being ordered to pay out an amount ordered by the court. Because of this, insurance companies will often avoid making an offer for a fair settlement until shortly before litigation begins or even after the trial has started but before a judgment has been rendered. What this means is that it will take time for your attorney to negotiate a fair settlement and sometimes the only way to reduce the amount of time it takes is if you are willing to accept far less than what your case is worth.
My loved one died of injuries sustained in a Fort Lauderdale car accident. Is there compensation available for me?
Florida law allows the family members of a deceased person to recover damages related to the accident that caused their loved one’s death through a wrongful death lawsuit.
These legal claims are made within two years after the death by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate on behalf of family members that include:
- The deceased’s spouse, children, and parents
- Any blood relative or adoptive sibling who was partially or wholly dependent on the support and services of the deceased.
The damages that can be recovered through this type of claim include:
- The value of support that the deceased provided to the family member.
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased.
- Mental and emotional pain related to the loss of a child.
- Medical and funeral expenses paid directly by a family member.
The estate may collect on behalf of itself the following damages:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the wages and benefits the deceased would have been reasonably expected to earn if he or she had lived.
- Loss of prospective net accumulations of the estate that the deceased would have been expected to collect if he or she had lived.
- Medical and funeral expenses for the deceased that were paid directly by the estate.
What time limits should I be aware of when filing my Fort Lauderdale car accident claim?
In most Fort Lauderdale car accident, the statute of limitations is four years after the date on which the injury occurred. In some cases, this time limit is “tolled” or extended due to factors such as the injured person being a minor at the time when the injury occurred and can’t file a legal claim, or situations in which the injured person was unaware of his or her injury for some time after it occurred. Your attorney will advise you if there is a reason for an extension of the deadline in your case.
What happens if the individual who caused my car accident wasn’t insured in Fort Lauderdale?
It is very difficult to collect an award from an uninsured person. Your attorney will look carefully at your case to determine if there are potentially other liable parties with insurance policies that can be accessed to compensate you. If not, there are other possibilities for obtaining compensation for the expenses you have incurred, including your PIP policy, your own uninsured/ underinsured motorist policy, or your personal health insurance policy.
Are car accident settlements taxable in Fort Lauderdale?
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), car accident settlements are not considered income and are, therefore, not taxable. There are some exceptions, however, including punitive damages. Punitive damages are not based on the expenses or impacts suffered by the claimant, but instead punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior. Because this portion of the damages is not related to injury expenses and impacts, it is considered income and is subject to tax. Additionally, if an individual has claimed his or her medical expenses as a tax exemption in the year before the settlement or award is received, he or she will likely be expected to pay back the amount of that exemption in the year following the receipt of that settlement or award. Ask an accountant for more information.
Why do I need an attorney for my car accident case in Fort Lauderdale?
A Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney can provide valuable services, including:
- Guidance as to the legal options available to you.
- Determination of a value to your case that is based on the expenses and the impacts you have suffered as the result of your injury.
- Determination of all liable parties and all insurance resources that can be used to compensate you.
- Timely filing of all court-required paperwork in the proper jurisdiction.
- Skilled negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance company to obtain a fair settlement on your behalf.
- In lieu of a settlement offer, litigation. This includes the delivery of opening and closing statements, presentation of evidence, and examination of witnesses.
- Assistance in collecting your award or settlement.
Think you can’t afford an attorney? Contact us today to obtain a free case evaluation and learn more about our convenient contingent fee arrangement.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer at The Levin Firm Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Auto accidents are chaotic and complex events and the pain and expenses that follow leave many car accident victims afraid, stressed, and in need of answers. If you’re looking for answers about your eligibility to pursue damages against an at-fault driver, the experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys at The Levin Firm Personal Injury Lawyers can help.