Hire a Top Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer to Fight for You
A car accident can be one of the most traumatic experiences in a person’s life. From a simple fender bender to a catastrophic accident, car accidents can cause serious injury or death, lost wages, large amounts of medical bills, stress on a person’s marital and family life, and overall disruption of a person’s personal and professional life. Florida Law allows you to recover money for these types of losses, but you still need to top Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer to handle your claim.
Car accidents are a common and serious problem in Florida. Although the Sunshine State provides legal remedies for those injured in auto accidents, navigating the Florida legal system can be difficult. Dealing with insurance companies is yet another challenge. Obtaining compensation for your automobile accident injuries is no easy task.
What to Expect After a Motor Vehicle Accident in Florida
A car accident can be one of the most traumatic experiences in a person’s life. Whether you or a loved one were involved in a simple fender bender, a rear end collision, or were hit by a drunk or distracted driver, car accidents can have serious consequences, including:
- Catastrophic injury
- Wrongful death
- Lost wages
- Huge medical bills
- Mental distress that impacts your personal – including marital and family — life
- Disruption of your personal and professional life
Under Florida law, you are entitled to recover money for these and other types of losses when they resulted from another’s negligent behavior. However, navigating the Florida legal system can be difficult. Dealing with insurance companies is a huge challenge, and obtaining just compensation from the other at-fault driver for your automobile accident injuries is no easy task.
A Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer can work to obtain the legal compensation you deserve for your Florida car accident. In the aftermath of a car accident, dealing with insurance companies and legal issues is the last thing to be handling on your own. At the Maus Law Firm, we can evaluate your case and step in to fight for your legal rights.
The First Steps After an Accident
Immediately after being involved in a car accident, the most important thing is to seek medical attention if needed. The best course of action is generally to call 911 and allow paramedics to examine you at the scene of the accident. Depending on the seriousness of the incident and extent of injuries, police and fire rescue may also respond. You should also contact your own insurance company as soon as reasonably possible.
There may be instances where an insurance company for another driver offers you a quick settlement amount in exchange for a waiver of liability. While this settlement offer might seem very attractive at the time, it is virtually always less than an appropriate amount. Do not sign such a waiver without first consulting with a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney.
Why You Need a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer
After a car accident in the Fort Lauderdale or Miami area, it is best to get a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer involved as quickly as possible. Your attorney can help in the following ways:
- Medical Treatment: Your attorney should ensure you are receiving proper medical treatment for your injuries.
- Communication with Insurance Companies: Your attorney can communicate with the insurance company of any at-fault driver on your behalf. Your lawyer can include settlement negotiation on your behalf, either before or after a lawsuit is filed.
- Accident Investigation & Evidence Collection: Your accident lawyer should also investigate the accident and collect relevant evidence. This procedure would include examining the scene of the incident, obtaining any photographic evidence, obtaining witness statements, and obtaining and evaluating any police reports.
- Evaluation of Injuries and Overall Case: A Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer can also evaluate your potential compensation for injuries through review of medical records. An attorney may also retain experts on your behalf to support your claim further. In conjunction with accident investigation and evidence collection, this will allow the attorney to evaluate your overall case.
- Filing Lawsuit and Litigating Case: Depending on the strength of the case and the status of settlement negotiations, you and your attorney may opt to file a lawsuit and pursue litigation. The statute of limitations for most Florida auto accidents is four years from the date of the accident. If a victim dies as a result of the crash, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death.
When Should You Settle Your Car Accident Claim?
So, you’ve been injured in a car accident. The other driver was at fault, and you are entitled to financial compensation. The other driver’s insurance company has admitted liability, and it has offered you a settlement. Should you accept?
While there are many questions that need to be answered during a car accident insurance claim, this question is perhaps the most important. After all, the purpose of filing your claim was to secure a financial recovery. Now that the insurance company is offering to pay, isn’t that what you wanted?
Maybe, but maybe not.
In order to decide whether to accept a settlement offer, you need to know how much you are entitled to recover. You only get one chance to settle; and, if you settle for too little, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more. To determine whether the insurance company’s offer represents just compensation, you will need to work with your Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer to carefully assess the financial and non-financial costs of your injuries. In fault-based auto insurance liability claims, car accident victims in Florida are entitled to recover compensation for their:
- Medical diagnosis, treatment, and prescription costs
- Travel and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost income and benefits
- Lost future earning capacity due to full or partial disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma (including post-traumatic stress)
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of companionship, consortium, enjoyment of life, services and society
As you might expect, in most cases, the insurance companies do not offer just compensation – at least not initially. As a result, as a car accident victim, you need to be prepared to say no when a settlement offer is not enough. However, you must also know when a settlement offer is enough; and, once again, this requires the knowledge and insights of an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer.
Settlement Negotiations with Your Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer
Before a lawsuit is even filed, chances are your attorney will go ahead and begin the process of settlement negotiations with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Factors that will come into play could include:
- The nature and extent of your physical injuries, as well as your pain and suffering
- The strength of the evidence against the other driver
- The insurance policy limits that are available to cover any damages
- Your lost wages or loss of future earning ability
Settlement negotiations are ongoing throughout the process, and a settlement is possible at any time during the course of legal process, including right up to the moment of trial or even during trial. When the at-fault driver’s insurance company knows that you have retained an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney who is ready, willing, and able to present a case with the intention of prevailing at trial, they have greater incentive to settle at a higher amount.
How Can You Deal with the Insurance Companies Effectively?
Besides being prepared to say no when the insurance companies offer a low-ball settlement, what else do you need to know in order to deal with the insurance companies effectively? Here are some tips from Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Maus:
- Know your rights. Most importantly, you need to know your rights. This means understanding your claim for personal injury protection (PIP), knowing when you are entitled to fault-based compensation, and knowing when the insurance companies are handling your claim in bad faith.
- Stand up for your rights. During your insurance claim, the insurance companies will pressure you to settle for less than you deserve. They may also try to utilize various other tactics to minimize your financial recovery. With this in mind, you need to be prepared to stand up for your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
- Don’t be afraid to say “no.” On the same token, you cannot be afraid to say “no.” You can say “no” if your adjuster asks for a recorded statement, you can say “no” if the insurance company asks for access to your medical records, and you can say “no” if the insurance company offers less than the full amount you are rightfully owed.
Stages of a Florida Car Accident Lawsuit
If your car accident attorney is not able to obtain a reasonable settlement, he or she may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver on your behalf. As noted above, settlement negotiations are likely to continue with the insurance company. However, after filing of the lawsuit, both parties will have the right to engage in the next phase of litigation, which is the discovery process.
The discovery process is the name for the formal exchange of information between the parties before trial. This information exchange concerns the witnesses and evidence that will be presented at trial and generally includes the following:
- Police reports about the accident
- Medical records regarding your accident injuries
- Medical records regarding your health before the accident
- Medical examinations of the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) by the defendant’s medical experts
- The taking of your deposition (an examination under oath) by the defendant’s attorney
- Depositions of other witnesses
Trial, Verdict, and Appeal
If the case does not settle during the discovery process, it will likely proceed to trial before a judge or jury. Both sides will question witnesses before the judge or jury, some of whom will be expert witnesses retained by the parties. The judge or jury will then render a verdict, stating who is liable for the accident and stating the full amount of damages. If either side is dissatisfied with the judgment, they may have the right to appeal.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer at the Maus Law Firm
If you have been injured or suffered property damage in a car accident in South Florida, contact our firm today. The Florida legal landscape is tough terrain, and insurance companies are likely to play hardball. A Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer at the Maus Law Firm can navigate the legal system for you and battle to obtain the compensation you need. Complete our contact form or call us at 1-855-999-5297 for a free consultation.