If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you should contact a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer right away to ensure you don’t lose important legal rights. At Sibley Dolman, we represent clients injured in car accidents and help them to recover compensation for their injuries.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, car accidents continue to be a serious problem in our state. In 2017, there were over 396,000 crashes, resulting in more than 250,000 injuries. Nearly 3,000 people died in traffic accidents as well. The beginning of 2018 has been equally dangerous, with over 100,000 injuries and 787 fatalities as of April.
Not sure if your car accident will require a car accident attorney? Save yourself hours of research and consultations by reading our article, “Attorneys Answer: When do you need to hire a car accident lawyer?” In this article, we asked over 20 of the nation’s leading auto accident attorneys about when a person should hire an accident firm and when they can handle their case on their own.
Types of Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents
Car accidents can happen in countless ways. Nevertheless, we see some common causes of car accidents again and again, including:
- Side-impact collisions: These occur when one car slams into the side of another car, often at intersections. These are also called “T-bone” collisions. They can be extremely serious, especially if the other driver is speeding or driving a large vehicle.
- Sideswipes: Two vehicles are moving in parallel when one of them hits the other. Often, these accidents can occur when someone is driving too fast for conditions and temporarily loses control of a vehicle.
- Head-on collisions: This is a particularly dangerous type of collision. Sometimes head-on collisions occur when a drunk driver drifts into an oncoming lane and other vehicles cannot get out of the way fast enough.
- Rear-end crashes: One vehicle collides with the vehicle in front of it. Rear-end collisions typically happen when the vehicle in front slows down or stops suddenly without warning, or when the car behind is following too closely. Rear-end crashes often occur in parking lots and at intersections.
- Rollovers: These occur when a vehicle flips onto its side or the roof. Some vehicles roll over when they drive on soft shoulders or uneven ground. SUVs are more prone to rollovers, though all vehicles can potentially be involved in this type of accident.
- Pileups: Involving multiple vehicles, these crashes are very serious. Usually, one vehicle strikes another, causing one or both to stop in the middle of the road. Vehicles following behind either crash into them or swerve to avoid them, hitting other vehicles in the process. The initial crash sets off a chain reaction, sometimes involving dozens of cars.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) estimates 400,183 crashes on Florida roads and highways in 2018. Among these crashes were more than 250,000 injuries and 3,000 fatalities, including about 25,000 injuries and over 200 fatalities in Broward County. Many different scenarios might lead to a traffic accident, but most car accidents are preventable. A broad analysis reveals that human error, vehicle malfunction, or environmental conditions lead to the vast majority of car accidents. Taking the time to understand common types of car accidents and how they occur can help you to avoid being involved in a car accident as the victim or the at-fault party.
If you or a family member have been in a car accident in or around Ft. Lauderdale, Florida law entitles you to pursue legal action to recover damages in civil court. Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, today at (754) 208-1130 to discuss the details of your accident and injury and learn about the ways in which we may be able to help you.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), head-on collisions occur more often in rural areas than urban areas.This does not, however, mean that head-on collisions don’t occur in Broward County, which has been classified as urban by the Florida Department of Health. Head-on collisions occur when negligent drivers cross into oncoming traffic, travel the wrong way on a one way street, or use the wrong exit ramp and collide with the front of another motor vehicle. The severity of head-on collisions vary from minor non-injury crashes to severe crashes that result in fatality, with speed as one of the most important factors. When a head-on occurs at high speeds, more property damage occurs and drivers and passengers are more likely to be seriously injured or die.
The NHTSA estimates that rear-end collisions make up more than 30 percent of all traffic crashes across the United States. South Florida’s heavy traffic in Ft. Lauderdale and all of Broward County suggests that the rate of rear-end collisions might be higher in this area. Florida is a no-fault insurance state that requires residents who have a registered vehicle to carry mandatory property damage liability (PDL) and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. After a rear-end collision, both parties must file a claim with their carrier to recover the costs of medical treatment and portion of lost wages.
When a claim exceeds policy limits, a driver might choose to file a personal injury suit to recover additional damages. Determining liability in a car accident is not always an easy task, but doing so in a rear-end collision is often the easiest. The person whose car was hit from behind by another driver is almost never at fault. The at-fault driver may have collided with the car in front of them because they were speeding, driving too fast for road conditions, tailgating, driving while distracted, driving while impaired, or breaking some other traffic law.
Side Impact Collision
A side impact collision, less formally referred to as a broadside collision when it occurs on the passenger side of a car, is a type of T-bone accident that most often occurs at an intersection. The NHTSA reports that broadside conditions, which they call angle collisions, are the second most frequent type of car accident after rear-end collisions.
These are some of the most dangerous crashes because they are more likely to cause serious injury or death, especially for passengers sitting in the back seat who don’t have the same protective technology found in the front seat. When these crashes occur at high speeds, riders on the side of impact are at risk of severe injury or death regardless of whether they are in the front or back seat.
Side impact crashes might occur when a driver runs a stop sign or stoplight and strikes another vehicle, or enters traffic so another vehicle strikes them. Malfunctioning traffic lights or drivers who try to make it through a yellow light before it turns red might also cause a side impact collision.
Motorists who are cruising around Broward County on one of the main thoroughfares with more than one lane in each direction risk being involved in a sideswipe accident. Poor weather conditions that include rain or hail might cause a sideswipe accident, but they can occur on sunny days too. Distracted drivers that are using their cell phones, reaching for something in their car, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol might swerve into a neighboring lane, causing an accident.
Sideswipe accidents are especially common when large commercial vehicles are present. All cars have blind spots, but heavy trucks and semis have large blind spots, especially on the passenger side of their vehicles. Motorists who ride in these blind spots might get sideswiped; drivers who don’t check their mirrors before turning or changing lanes may sideswipe a vehicle in the lane next to them.
A multi-car or multi-vehicle accident is the end of a chain reaction from one initial accident. Many hazards, situations, or events might cause this chain reaction to start. Sometimes, it may be as simple as one car rear-ending another vehicle, causing multiple rear-end collisions to occur.
Other times a commercial vehicle might spill some of its load in the middle of traffic, or a driver who fell asleep or had a medical emergency swerved into heavy oncoming traffic. Those operating semis and large commercial vehicles are less likely to suffer injury or fatality, but multi-car collisions often result in severe injuries with a high chance of fatalities.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage in Florida
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that when a car accident occurs, each driver is responsible to pay for their own damages. For this reason, the state requires drivers who have a registered vehicle to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. After a car accident, each driver files a claim under their own policy.
Under Florida law, PIP coverage pays for 80 percent of medical costs related to an accident and 60 percent of lost wages due to injury and hospitalization.In serious accidents that result in severe injuries, it’s likely that medical costs and lost wages will exceed policy limits.
Additionally, PIP insurance does not compensate drivers for pain or suffering or other non-economic damages. Once you have exceeded your PIP policy limits, Florida law entitles you to seek additional damages from the at-fault driver in civil court. Your attorney will help you through your insurance claims process and advise you on when or if escalating your insurance claim to a lawsuit should happen.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA’s Results in Car Accident Cases
The legal team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has extensive experience negotiating, settling, and litigating car accident cases for their clients, resulting in the recovery of millions of dollars in damages. Some recent cases include a verdict in excess of $1.5 million for a client who sustained a serious back injury in an auto accident, a settlement for $1 million for a client with a shoulder injury that was sustained in a car accident, and $775,000 for a father and son who were injured in a car accident.
These serve as examples of past cases, and do not guarantee results for any client. Each case has unique circumstances, so it’s impossible to predict an amount of recovery; however, the skilled attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, will diligently pursue the best possible outcome for your circumstances.
Recovering Damages After a Car Accident in Fort Lauderdale
When you hire a qualified attorney to help you pursue an at-fault driver for damages after a car accident in Florida, you might be able to recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses beyond what your PIP policy already paid for including ambulance service, emergency department visit, hospitalization, radiology, prescription medications, etc.
- Future medical costs when an injury requires extensive recovery, multiple surgeries, or results in permanent disability
- Rehabilitation costs such as physical therapy and assistive devices including crutches, prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, walkers, etc.
- Additional lost wages not covered by your PIP policy
- Future lost wages when an injury requires an extended absence from work or a permanent disability prevents a victim from returning to their job.
- Other expenses including home modifications like wheelchair ramps and handrails, domestic service costs, travel to and from the doctor, and more
- Non-economic costs for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, scarring and disfigurement, and others that might apply to your case
- Punitive damages in extreme cases that include intentional harm or gross negligence
In the event that you lost a loved one in a car accident, you may need to contact one of our compassionate car accident attorneys to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Surviving family members may recover some of the aforementioned damages as well as funeral expenses and burial costs and non-economic costs related to the loss of your family member.
Comparative Negligence in Florida Car Accident Cases
Florida courts apply a comparative negligence rule to personal injury cases, including those that involve car accidents. Comparative negligence, sometimes referred to as comparative fault, takes into account the extent to which a plaintiff may have contributed to the accident and subsequent injuries. If the court finds the defendant was negligent, they assign a portion of blame to each party in a lawsuit. When they award damages to the plaintiff, they reduce the amount based on the percentage fault they assigned the plaintiff. Comparative negligence allows victims to recover damages even if they contributed to causing the accident.
For example, a drunk driver swerves into oncoming traffic and strikes your vehicle, causing a head-on collision. The drunk driver is clearly at-fault and the court finds him negligent; however, you were traveling 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. The defense argues that had you not been speeding, you may have had time to react to the drunk driver and avoid the accident. Additionally, the excess speed caused your injuries to be worse than what they might have been otherwise. The court finds that you are 25 percent negligent, so you are only able to collect 75 percent of awarded damages.
Comparative negligence motivates the defense to shift blame to the victim to avoid some or all liability for damages. In accidents and lawsuits that involve multiple vehicles, things can get messy. Each party to the defense will attempt to shift blame away from themselves and blame another party for the accident. Insurance companies will continue to pass the buck between one another. It’s usually in your best interest to hire an attorney to recover damages in a personal injury suit, but it’s especially necessary in cases with multiple victims and/or defendants.
Reported Car Accidents Involving Injuries in Fort Lauderdale
Common Car Accident Injuries in Fort Lauderdale
Car accident injuries can be large or small, but all should be taken seriously. Every week, we see a variety of injuries, such as:
- Whiplash: When the head is thrown violently forward or backward, or side to side, the ligaments in the neck can be stretched beyond the normal range of motion. Nerves and ligaments in the upper back and shoulders might also be injured. As a result, victims suffer whiplash and immobilizing pain.
- Pinched nerves: Anything pressing on a nerve can cause constant pain. Strained muscles or bulging disks in the spinal column are common culprits.
- Cervical fractures: Blunt force can crack the vertebrae in the neck. A serious break can cause paralysis from the neck down.
- Broken Bones: Car accident victims often suffer breaks in their hands, arms, and legs. Broken ribs may also damage internal organs, and cause internal bleeding.
- Burns: Gas can spill out of ruptured fuel tanks and catch fire. Battery acid and antifreeze might also splatter, causing contact burns.
- Partial or complete paralysis: Any damage to the spinal cord can result in a loss of sensation or movement.
- Death” In thousands of car accidents, victims suffer fatal injuries, leaving behind grieving family members to pick up the pieces.
In addition to physical injuries, accident victims can suffer emotional and mental trauma as well. These emotional injuries can be as serious as physical ones and can require medical intervention to treat, such as therapy and prescription medications. While mental and emotional trauma is typically intangible to the naked eye, the effects can have very real physical effects on a person’s life. Mental and emotional trauma can interfere with a person’s ability to work and even lead to a need to change careers completely. The damages caused by these injuries are just as valid as those more physical in nature. Some of the more common mental and emotional injuries suffered by those involved in car accidents include:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Suicidal Tendencies
- Mood Swings
- Sleeping Disorders
Fortunately, under Florida law injured car accident victims can often receive compensation for these injuries as well.
How a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
After an accident, many of our clients are intimidated by the daunting claims process. Not knowing where to turn, they delay seeking the compensation to which they are entitled. However, delaying too long may prejudice your claim, because the law imposes deadlines on how long a victim has to bring a lawsuit.
At Sibley Dolman, our car accident attorneys can help you in many ways. We can analyze your situation and help you determine whether you have a valid legal claim. Most car accidents are caused by someone’s negligence or a defective car part. It is not always clear, however, who is to blame or whether you can make a claim.
We can also negotiate with an insurer on your behalf. If your injuries are serious, you will need compensation for medical expenses (above what your PIP benefits provide), in addition to lost wages and property damage. Depending on the circumstances, you might also qualify for additional types of damages. Many clients report being intimidated by insurance agents, so we can ease the claims process for you by handling communications with them.
If settlement discussions fail, we can also represent you in court. Filing a lawsuit is a complicated process, and learning court rules can be challenging for someone new to the legal system. At Sibley Dolman, our lawyers can handle the entire litigation process, from the filing of initial pleadings to discovery through trial. Of course, many cases settle before ever reaching a jury, but we are prepared to take your case all the way to trial if necessary to recover the compensation you deserve.
Speak With a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Today
Car accidents leave many scars—physical, emotional, and financial. Injured motorists should pursue all avenues of compensation for their injuries, including a possible settlement with the driver who is at fault. At Sibley Dolman, our car accident lawyers can handle the entire process for you and are only a phone call away. To schedule your free consultation, call 754-208-1130 or send us an online message.
100 SE 3rd Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394
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