Our Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyer Recovers Compensation for Your Injuries
Understanding Florida’s Fault Laws and How Much You Can Recover After a Car Accident
When you have been injured in a car accident, you need a Fort Lauderdale automobile accident lawyer who is familiar with Florida accident law. If there is another driver at fault, you may be able to obtain legal compensation. Fault and damages are the two key issues in Florida car accidents. The Fort Lauderdale automobile accident attorneys at the Maus Law Firm can inform you of the fault and compensation available related to your specific car accident. We are trial lawyers who have fought and won for numerous people injured in Florida car accidents. We can assess the strength of any given case and we can work to obtain the compensation you deserve.
How Fault is Established in Florida Accidents
When an insurance company settles with a person injured in a car accident, it is generally because they believe the insured driver may be found legally at fault for the accident. The process for determining legal fault is the filing of a lawsuit, which eventually proceeds to a trial in certain cases. To win at trial, the judge or jury must determine that the driver failed to operate their vehicle with reasonable care and this failure caused the accident and your resulting injuries.
Our Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyers Explain Comparative Fault
Under Florida’s comparative fault laws, more than one person can share liability for the same accident. The liability can be divided or “apportioned” between different people on a percentage basis. It is important to note that even the person filing the lawsuit can be found partially at fault; however, that individual should not assume that they cannot recover because they are partially to blame for the accident.
For example, suppose a plaintiff is found 10% at fault for an accident. The driver he or she sued is found to be 90% at fault. If the plaintiff suffered $100,000 in damages, the damages award will be reduced by 10% to $90,000.
No-fault Insurance in Florida and PIP Coverage
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means a driver involved in an accident must look to their insurance company for primary recovery, regardless of who was at fault. Florida law requires insurance companies to provide this no-fault primary coverage, which is known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
PIP coverage will cover lost wages and medical expenses resulting from the accident. And passengers with their own car insurance generally have PIP coverage available. Florida requires anyone owning or operating a motor vehicle to maintain at least $10,000 in PIP coverage.
While PIP coverage is important, it will not be sufficient to cover all medical expenses and lost wages in the case of a serious accident and it will not cover such items as pain and suffering. Your Fort Lauderdale automobile accident lawyers can speak with you regarding additional methods of recovery.
Collecting Evidence to Prove Your Claim
When you need to recover financial compensation after an auto accident, collecting evidence is crucial to proving both (i) your legal right to be compensated, and (ii) the amount that you are entitled to recover. While you may have some evidence already, you will need to hire a Fort Lauderdale automobile accident lawyer to gather additional evidence in order to prove your claim for damages.
Evidence You May Have in Your Possession
What evidence might you have already? If you have any of the following, you should bring it with you to your free initial consultation:
- Photos or video from the scene of the accident
- Repair estimates and/or photos of the damage to your car
- The other driver’s insurance and contact information
- Contact information for any eye witnesses
- Scans, test results and other medical records
- Medical bills and receipts for your prescriptions
- Any notes you have taken to record details of the accident or the effects of your injuries
While all of these forms of evidence can be helpful, none of them are strictly necessary. So, if you don’t have something, you shouldn’t worry. However, in order to make sure that your lawyer has the best chance to recover your losses, you will want to schedule a free consultation about your accident as soon as possible.
Evidence Your Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyers Will Need to Collect for You
In addition to the types of evidence listed above, there are various additional forms of evidence that your attorney will need to collect in order to pursue your claim. This includes evidence from the scene of the accident, other evidence of liability, and evidence of the extent and effects of your injuries. Examples of the types of evidence that can be used to prove liability for an automobile accident in Fort Lauderdale include:
- Forensic evidence from the scene of the accident
- The official police report
- Traffic or security camera footage
- Eye witness statements
- Cell phone records
- Employment records (if the other driver was working at the time of the crash)
- Vehicle maintenance and repair records
Examples of the types of evidence that can be used to prove the amount you are entitled to recover for your accident-related losses include:
- Expert opinions from medical specialists
- Expert opinions from accountants and other financial professionals
- Your education and employment history
- Statements from friends, family members and coworkers
- Documentation of the direct out-of-pocket costs you have incurred due to your injuries
- Documentation of your pain, suffering, and emotional trauma
- Other evidence of the financial and non-financial impacts of your injuries
In the end, the more evidence you have in support of your claim, the higher your chances are of securing a favorable result. Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer Joseph Maus has decades of experience helping victims and families recover just compensation, and he can use this experience to help protect your legal rights. In order to ensure that you have the best chance to secure maximum compensation, contact the Maus Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation today.
What About Claims with Uninsured Motorists?
If you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, the Maus Law Firm can help. Since 1993, we have been representing victims of accidents and personal injury. If you need an uninsured motorist lawyer or a car crash lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.
The states with the highest percentage of uninsured drivers are New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma and Florida. Of course, Florida law requires all drivers to have insurance, and there are stiff fines for failing to do so. It can also lead to a suspended license for those caught driving without it.
These uninsured drivers create risks for other vehicles on the road as well as themselves, because they might not be able to cover any damage they cause in an accident. They won’t be able to pay for any medical expenses or lost wages that they cause, either.
While some people don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it, many don’t have it because their driving record is too poor to qualify, or the payments are really high. The reality is that they probably shouldn’t be driving at all, but they choose to do so anyway. Statistically, uninsured drivers are among the worst drivers on the road, and their vehicles tend to be in the poorest condition.
Some people don’t have insurance simply because they don’t want to pay for it, even though they could. Or maybe they don’t even have a valid license. Whatever the reason, the end result for victims is the same: a struggle to recover from the damage done.
If someone can’t or won’t pay for the damage they’ve caused, then the only solution is to seek justice in the courts with the help of a Fort Lauderdale accident attorney. Legally, victims can get the court to require payment from uninsured motorists, money to pay for vehicle damage, medical bills, lost wages, as well as punitive damages for reckless behavior.
Common Injuries in Florida Car Wrecks
At the Maus Law Firm, we have worked with victims of many types of injuries resulting from Florida car accidents. These include the following:
- Whiplash: This is one of the most common car accident injuries. Whiplash refers to neck strain or hyperextension as a result of a sudden impact. It can cause pain and stiffness in the neck, along with back problems.
- Burns: Burn injuries pose a serious risk of permanent disfigurement or scarring.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: “Soft tissue” refers to the body’s connective tissue – muscles, ligaments and tendons. A soft tissue injury could be a tear, sprain, strain or contusion.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: These injuries can result in nerve damage. At their most serious, spinal cord injuries can cause full or partial paralysis or even death. But even a relatively minor spinal cord injury can cause tingling, pain, reduced sensation or impaired movement.
- Head Injuries: These can range from mild concussions to permanent mental impairment or even death.
Damages Your Fort Lauderdale Accident Law Firm Can Help You Recover After a Car Accident
Damages are the compensation that can be legally awarded to a person injured in a car accident. Our Fort Lauderdale automobile accident attorneys can identify and seek every form of damages available, which can include the following:
- Medical Expenses: This includes past medical bills and a reasonable estimate of future expenses. Your attorney can work with medical experts to determine future medical expenses.
- Property Damage: In auto accidents, this generally covers damages to the plaintiff’s vehicle and any damaged property inside the vehicle. For a totaled vehicle, the property damage is generally the car’s replacement value. For non-totaled vehicles, the repair expenses will be the damages.
- Lost Wages: As with medical expenses, this also includes past and future lost wages.
- Rehabilitation Expenses: Common rehabilitation expenses include physical therapy and occupational therapy.
- Reduced Earning Potential: For serious injuries, a person may be unable to return to their profession or they may only be able to work at a reduced capacity.
- Pain and Suffering: Although these damages are difficult to calculate, they can be substantial for people with serious and long-lasting injuries.
- Diminished Quality of Life: If a plaintiff’s quality of life is lessened by their injury, this can be included in a damages award. It might include payment for a reduced ability to perform activities of daily living. The victim might also be compensated for the loss of enjoyment of certain activities.
How Your Injury Affects Your Total Compensation in a Lawsuit
The type of injury also plays a significant role in determining the amount of a Florida car accident settlement. Injuries that require surgery usually have a higher settlement value than injuries that do not require surgery. However, certain types of injuries can affect people differently, so you must evaluate injuries on how they affect the client in their normal daily activities.
For instance, a lower back injury can have devastating consequences for a person that works in manual labor. Those types of jobs often require a person to lift and pull heavy tools and machinery on a daily basis. If a person working manual labor injuries his or her back, they may not be able to return to their job and may not have the skills or training to transition to a lighter duty job. But a person that works at a lighter duty job who performs most of their work behind a desk, may have better odds of returning to their employment even with a serious back injury.
The age of a car accident victim also plays a role in determining a car accident settlement amount. Young people usually bounce back from serious injuries much quicker than older people. So an older person that suffers a broken arm in a car accident and has a slow, partial recovery may be able to recover more in a car accident settlement than a young person that responds quickly to the medical treatment and is back at work or school quickly.
If You Needed Surgery After a Car Accident, It’s Likely You Can Recover a Larger Amount of Compensation
Generally, car accident settlement values are higher for persons that require surgery following a car accident. Some of the more common surgeries that occur after a Florida car accident are:
- Spine surgery to the neck and back
- Ankle and foot surgery
- Wrist and elbow surgery, and
- Shoulder surgery
These joints in the body undergo a tremendous amount of stress when a car stops suddenly.
Contact the Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyers at the Maus Law Firm
Establishing fault and damages is no easy feat under Florida law, so you need highly competent counsel to assist you. Our attorneys have handled over 130 jury trials and recovered millions of dollars for our clients. Call 1-855-999-5297 or contact the Maus Law firm online for a consultation today so that our Fort Lauderdale automobile accident lawyers can work hard for you.