The Importance of Hiring a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injuries can occur in numerous ways and are all too common in Fort Lauderdale. When you are injured in an accident that is another person’s fault, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. However, recovery is not likely to be simple, nor is it guaranteed. Insurance companies may deny your claim or offer nothing but a “low ball” settlement offer. That said, if you need to take legal action, the Florida legal system is complex and often difficult for laypeople to navigate. Thus, the importance of hiring a personal injury lawyer early in the process cannot be overstated. At the Maus Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer can assess your case and fight for your rights.
About Fort Lauderdale
Welcome to the “Venice of America!” Our beautiful city boasts over 160 miles of inland waterways, giving residents and visitors alike amazing opportunities to get out and enjoy a variety of boating, swimming and sporting activities year-round. The natural beauty of the area is only one part of the city’s attractions. Fort Lauderdale offers a wide variety of entertainment and educational opportunities based on our multicultural heritage. In addition to tourism, the city also supports a range of robust industries including finance, insurance, tech concerns, marine industries, avionics, and media production.
While we are only 25 miles north of Miami and generally included as part of the Miami metropolitan area, Fort Lauderdale projects a distinct personality all its own. As the county seat and largest city in Broward County, Florida, Fort Lauderdale maintains its own government, hospitals, and other essential services.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is a busy, vibrant community, with numerous visitors every year. Unfortunately, this results in the area having more than its fair share of accidents that result in personal injuries. The following are some common types of personal injuries:
- Car Accidents: Florida has one of the highest rates of car accidents, as well as accident-related injuries and deaths, in the nation.
- Truck Accidents: A collision with an 18-wheeler or commercial vehicle can have devastating consequence. A victim should pursue compensation by suing all responsible parties.
- Slip and Fall: Under the legal doctrine of premises liability, a person who trips and falls due to a dangerous condition on another person’s property may be able to recover compensation.
- Cruise Ship Accidents: A person injured in an accident or assault while aboard a cruise ship may be able to recover damages. There may even be liability for injuries suffered while boarding, deboarding, or even while in port.
- Boating Accidents: A fun activity for Floridians and tourists, boaters need to operate watercraft with care to prevent accidents.
- Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcycles are popular in the Fort Lauderdale area, and motorcyclists face the same dangers on the road as they do elsewhere.
- Pedestrian Accidents: In addition to slip-and-falls, pedestrians must also beware of motor vehicles. Auto-pedestrian collisions are common in Fort Lauderdale.
- Uber/Lyft Accidents: Rideshare apps are widely used in Fort Lauderdale, and this brings with it a high amount of passengers being injured in accidents. These injured passengers, as well as injured pedestrians or occupants of other cars, may be able to recover compensation from the rideshare company.
- Bicycle Accidents: Bicyclists have to share the crowded Fort Lauderdale roads with cars, which inevitably results in auto-bicycle collisions.
When seeking out a Fort Lauderdale personal injury law firm, it is best to ensure that he or she has experience with your type of accident.
How Your Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Law Firm Will Establish Fault
Even when an insurance company settles with an injured person before trial or even before a lawsuit is filed, this is generally done with the understanding that the injured person may be able to prove liability. However, if the insurance company denies payment or fails to offer an adequate amount, you will have no choice except to take legal action. This is why it is important for your law firm to be able to establish legal fault for your personal injuries.
When a case proceeds to trial, the injured person and their attorney typically seek to prove that the defendant’s misconduct, more likely than not, caused their injuries. The legal misconduct could be negligent or reckless driving, failure to maintain safe premises or other activities. No matter the misconduct alleged, the plaintiff must generally prove the defendant fell below a reasonable standard of care.
Even if the injured person was partially at fault, they still may be able to recover damages. Florida is a comparative liability state where fault can be divided or “apportioned” between different parties. The partially at-fault plaintiff can still recover damages, but their award is reduced according to their percentage of fault. So, if the plaintiff is found to be 40 percent at fault with $100,000 in damages, their award would be reduced by 40 percent to $60,000.
A Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer can first assess your case and determine if another person could potentially be at fault. If so, your attorney can marshall the evidence and navigate the legal process to obtain just compensation for you and your family.
Recoverable Damages Your Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney Will Fight For
Due to the the emotional and physical trauma associated with serious accidents, people suffering from severe injuries are usually not in the best position to evaluate whether they have a claim immediately following the accident. Serious accidents can result in hospitalization, disabilities, loss of work and loss of income, and possibly no transportation. It is very difficult under these circumstances to be able to be able to fully evaluate whether a claim for personal injuries may exist, and to determine the best way to pursue that claim. An experienced South Florida personal injury law firm can sort through all the potential issues that may arise in a personal injury claim, allowing you to focus on the more critical issues of getting healthy, returning to work, and taking care of your family.
Under Florida law, an injured person can recover compensation for the following after an accident:
- Medical Expenses: The injured person can recover for the medical expenses resulting from their injuries. This includes past, continuing and future estimated expenses.
- Lost Wages: If the injuries cause the person to lose time from work, or otherwise lose income, the lost amount can be recovered as damages. The injured party can also recover for income lost due to reduced earning capacity. (Note: If the accident occurred at work, you’ll want to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
- Rehabilitation Expenses: If the hurt individual requires physical therapy, occupational therapy or other rehabilitation, the associated expenses can be recovered in a lawsuit.
- Pain and Suffering: An extra element of damages is the injured victim’s pain and suffering, which generally increases for more serious injuries.
- Wrongful Death: When the accident results in death, the family and loved ones of the decedent may be able to recover for loss of financial support and companionship.
What are Intangible Losses?
A personal injury lawyer recovers damages that cover a wide range of effects from an injury. Tangible losses, also called economic losses, are factors that can be calculated directly, such as the totals of medical expenses and wages lost while an accident victim is unable to work.
Intangible losses, sometimes referred to as non-economic losses, are the impacts of an injury that are harder to quantify. However, the intangible effects of an injury can have a much more significant influence on your life than the economic losses. Pain, emotional turmoil, lost opportunities, concerns, and reduced expectations for the future can be devastating to the victim of a personal injury.
While no amount of money can make up for these types of losses, financial compensation is the only remedy the law can offer in most cases. A damage award for intangible losses can offset some of the trauma and provide support for the family and opportunities for the future.
A seasoned personal injury law firm can calculate an approximate value of intangible losses based on legal precedent. This enables you to evaluate the adequacy of any settlement offers you receive.
What Does It Take to Win a Personal Injury Settlement?
Winning a personal injury settlement requires evidence of liability and damages. “Liability” refers to the other party’s fault (i.e. you must be able to prove that the other party was at fault), while “damages” refers to the amount you are entitled to recover.
Proving liability requires an exhaustive investigation. In most cases, it will be necessary to collect evidence at the scene of the accident and through other means. You cannot rely on the insurance company’s investigation alone. The insurance company has its best interests in mind (not yours), and it won’t necessarily go to the lengths required to conclusively determine who is liable for your injuries.
With regard to damages, it is also up to you to prove the value of your claim. Crucially, this includes not only the financial costs of your injuries, but their non-financial costs as well. In fact, if you have been seriously injured in an accident, your compensation for your pain and suffering could easily make up the greatest portion of your settlement.
Is it Better to Settle a Personal Injury Case?
When you read about the outcome of personal injury cases, often there is a report of the victim receiving a settlement. And in many cases, an insurance company or the person at fault for an injury will offer a certain amount of money to settle a claim right after an accident, before the victim has had time to file a lawsuit or even collect evidence.
When the victim accepts a settlement, they usually agree to terms that may include not talking about the accident. They also agree to receive the amount as full compensation, which means they must drop any lawsuit in progress and agree not to file an additional claim in the future. In addition, the company offering the settlement will usually not admit that any negligence or wrongdoing occurred.
So, is it a good idea to accept a settlement? Each case is different, so it is wise to review the offer in detail with a law firm before making a decision. A Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney who is familiar with your type of case could calculate the value of your claim to determine whether the amount offered is fair and reasonable under the circumstances. A settlement can provide a quick and certain ending to your case, but an initial settlement offer often provides much less than you deserve for your losses.
What Should You Expect in Personal Injury Litigation?
If the insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer, then your only option may be to take your personal injury claim to court. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect when working with a Fort Lauderdale personal injury law firm when you are facing litigation in order to win the compensation you deserve:
- The Pleadings Stage – This is the preliminary stage of litigation. Your attorney will file a complaint, the defense will file an answer, and then the judge will schedule a preliminary hearing to address various matters related to your case.
- The Discovery Stage – During discovery, both sides have the ability to request evidence from one another and from third parties. This includes both “documentary evidence” (i.e. phone records and maintenance records) and testimony under oath.
- Pre-Trial Practice – Pre-trial practice involves filing motions in court, attending hearings, and whittling down the issues that will need to be resolved at trial. Cases can (and often do) get resolved at this stage.
- Trial – If your case hasn’t been resolved prior to trial, then your attorney will present your case in court. The defense will present its response, and then a judge or jury will render a decision.
- Post-Trial Practice and Appeals – After trial, there may still be work left to be done. For example, your attorney may need to take legal action to enforce your judgment (i.e. to make sure you actually get paid); or, if you lose at trial, you may need to keep fighting on appeal.
What Does a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
Many people have questions about Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers do and whether it really makes sense to seek legal representation. As you can see from the summaries above, there is a lot that goes into securing just compensation through settlement negotiations or at trial. The reality is that it simply is not feasible to handle a personal injury claim on your own; and, if you want to have any chance of recovering just compensation, you are going to need an experienced lawyer on your side.
You need a Fort Lauderdale personal injury law firm to fulfill the following roles for you:
- Point of Contact for Insurance Companies: Your attorney can communicate with insurance companies on your behalf and negotiate any related settlements.
- Accident Investigator: Your lawyer can inspect the scene of the accident, interview witnesses, obtain police or accident reports and thoroughly investigate the accident.
- Legal Advocate: Your personal injury lawyer will be your advocate in court, guiding you through the legal process, gathering evidence for your case and standing ready to take the case to trial.
If your accident occurred in South Florida, a personal injury lawyer can immediately start to investigate the accident, identify parties that may be responsible, and identify insurance coverages which may provide you with medical benefits, wage benefits, and cover any property damage you may have. Our lawyers can also obtain experts in the field of:
- accident reconstruction
- mechanical engineering
- traffic engineering
- vocational rehabilitation
- medical experts
Out attorneys will immediately evaluate your claim and evaluate and preserve critical evidence which may only be available for a short time after the accident occurred.
What Can I Do to Maximize my Potential for Compensation?
Every case is unique, but there are some general guidelines that can help a personal injury victim make the most of the opportunities to recover compensation for the effects of their injuries. These include:
- Seeking prompt and thorough medical treatment as soon as possible. It is also essential to follow the doctor’s instructions and report back for follow-up care.
- Collecting and preserving evidence about the injury. Photos of an accident scene, names of witnesses, and records of injuries can provide crucial evidence.
- Talking to an attorney before making statements or answering questions. Insurance companies can take words out of context and use them to deny liability later. In many cases, a personal injury attorney will be able to communicate with the insurance company directly on your behalf.
- Not trying to do too much. Returning to work too soon can harm your health and undermine your injury claim.
- Starting an injury journal. At least once a day, write down notes about the level of pain you’re experiencing and the ways the injury is limiting your ability to function.
- Avoiding social media. Insurance companies may be monitoring your actions looking for ways to dispute your injury claims.
It is also a good idea to keep all records of doctor visits, accident evidence, and other issues related to the injury together for easy access.
Contact an Experienced Injury Lawyer at the Maus Law Firm
There are many South Florida law firms which advertise themselves as handling personal injury claims. However, there are only a few which will devote personal attention to your claim where you will actually speak with the attorney when you contact the office, as opposed to a paralegal. In evaluating South Florida personal injury law firms, you should look for a law firm that offers individualized attention to your claim, and that also has the experience and resources to investigate your claim and maximize any recovery to which you may be entitled.
The Maus Law Firm is the type of personal injury law firm that prides itself on providing individualized and aggressive representation. Our injury lawyers have over thirty years combined trial experience and have successfully litigated claims against some of the largest corporations in the world.
If you have suffered a personal injury in South Florida, contact the Maus Law Firm today. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury law firm will work hard to obtain the compensation you deserve. Complete our contact form or call us at 1-855-999-5297 for a free consultation.
Fort Lauderdale Resources:
City Government of Fort Lauderdale
Residents of the four individual districts of the City each elect their own commissioner and a major at large for four-year terms. Together, these five elected officials set policies for City governance, and operations are carried out by an appointed City Manager. All officials of the City government may be reached at City Hall.
100 North Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
The City Commission meets regularly on the first and third Tuesday of each month and for specially-called meetings and workshops. Individuals or their attorneys who wish to address the Commission must sign up in City Hall in advance of the meeting.
As part of managing daily operations, the City Manager of Fort Lauderdale oversees nine departments and their associated divisions. These include:
- Development Services
- Human Resources
- Information Technology Services
- Parks and Recreation
- Public Works
- Transportation and Mobility
Individuals who are injured in a slip and fall accident or some other incident on City property might want to have their personal injury lawyer contact the City Attorney’s Office to learn about the applicable statute of limitations and other key issues associated with a claim for damages.
As a County Seat and major metropolitan hub, Fort Lauderdale is the center of activity for a variety of legal services, including federal, state, and local courthouses.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Located at the U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, 299 East Broward Boulevard #108, the Fort Lauderdale location of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida handles civil and criminal matters that fall under federal jurisdiction. The Clerk’s Office is open to the public on business days from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Florida
As home to one of the 20 Florida Circuit Courts, Fort Lauderdale offers court services from the Judicial Complex at 201 SE 6th Street. The Circuit’s North Regional Courthouse is located at 1600 West Hillsboro in Deerfield Beach, the West Regional Courthouse is at 100 N. Pine Island Road in Plantation, and the South Regional Courthouse is found at 3550 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.
The state circuit courts try cases that are not under the jurisdiction of county courts and hear appeals of certain cases, including noncriminal infractions and administrative matters. Because the circuit courts handle civil cases involving more than $30,000, many personal injury cases involving accidents with cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, bicycles, and pedestrians are filed in this court.
Broward County Courthouse
Each of the 67 counties in Florida has a county court. These courts have jurisdiction over most civil disputes involving $30,000 or less. They also handle traffic offenses and misdemeanor criminal matters. Some attorneys and claimants refer to the county trial courts as “the people’s courts.” The buildings at the Broward County Courthouse are centered on the Fort Lauderdale Judicial Complex. They include:
- East Building, 201 SE 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale
- West Building, 201 SE 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale
- Midrise Building, 540 SE 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale
- North Regional Courthouse, 1600 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach
- South Regional Courthouse, 3550 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
- West Regional Courthouse, 100 N. Pike Island Road, Plantation
Note that while many of the mailing addresses are similar for the circuit and county courts, they are considered separate courts. If you are summoned to attend, it is essential to understand which court is hearing the matter at issue in your case.
The Clerk of the Courts office provides a good resource for assistance, with over 700 employees serving approximately 90 judges, 11 magistrates, and other government agencies. The Main Courthouse location of the Clerk’s office is also in the Fort Lauderdale Judicial Complex at 201 SE 6th Street, with a phone number of 954.831.6565.
Hospitals Serving Fort Lauderdale
Broward Health, one of the largest hospital consortiums in the country, operates four sizable medical centers and a string of smaller facilities throughout the Fort Lauderdale area. With over 700 beds, Broward General Medical Center at 1600 S. Andrews Avenue provides acute care in a Level I Trauma Center and a variety of high-tech medical services. Other hospitals operated by Broward Health include:
- Broward Health North, 201 E. Sample Road, Deerfield Beach
- Broward Health Imperial Point, 6401 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale
- Broward Health Coral Springs, 300 Coral Hills Drive, Coral Springs
- Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital 1600 S. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale (also at Coral Springs location)
Holy Cross Health, a member of the not-for-profit Trinity Health hospital network, also operates numerous healthcare facilities in the Fort Lauderdale area. The full-service teaching hospital located at 4725 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale features the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center and the Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center. Other Holy Cross healthcare locations include:
- Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women’s Center, 1000 NE 56th Street, Fort Lauderdale
- Holy Cross HealthPlex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Fort Lauderdale
- Holy Cross Orthopedic Institute, 5597 North Dixie Highway, Fort Lauderdale
- Phil Smith Neuroscience Institute, 1931 NE 47th Street, Fort Lauderdale
- University of Miami-Holy Cross Internal Medicine Faculty & Resident Practice-North Ridge, 5601 N. Dixie Highway, Suite 412, Fort Lauderdale
- University of Miami-Holy Cross Internal Medicine Faculty & Resident Practice-Wilton Manors, 1402 NE 26th Street, Wilton Manors
In addition, Steward Health Care Hospitals operates Florida Medical Center at 5000 W. Oakland Park Blvd. in Lauderdale Lakes and Fort Lauderdale residents are also served by Memorial Regional Hospital at 3501 Johnson Street in Hollywood and HCA Florida hospital locations in Plantation, Margate, and Aventura.
Neighborhoods and Neighboring Communities
One of the features that set Fort Lauderdale apart from other cities in the U.S. is our Neighborhood Organization Recognition Program. Through this landmark program, the City has granted official recognition to more than 60 Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods, and the City’s neighborhood maps display quite a few more.
These individual neighborhoods join together to form regions within the city that are known for various features. With its iconic Riverwalk featuring popular restaurants and cocktail bars, Downtown is a popular destination for locals as well as visitors. In addition to educational offerings such as the Museum of Discovery and Science, the downtown area offers the trendy shops and galleries of Las Olas Boulevard. To the east, the pace slows at Lauderdale Beach, where tourists and residents enjoy the sand and surf, stroll along the winding sidewalk, or enjoy other fun moments in the sun.
Getting more into the residential areas of Fort Lauderdale, the tree-lined streets of Tarpon River feature homes and parks filled with charm while maintaining a working-class sensibility. The historic neighborhood of Colee Hammock features a hammock of oak and other trees that form a canopy over homes filled with southern charm. Meanwhile, the lifestyles of the rich and famous are clearly on display in Rio Vista and the pea pod islands of Las Olas Isles—but they’re really only visible by boat.
Of course, the Fort Lauderdale area includes more than just the land and waterways within the city limits. Communities neighboring and interacting with Fort Lauderdale include Hollywood, Dania Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Plantation, Oakland Park, North Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale Lakes, Tamarac, and Lauderhill.
Parks and Recreation in Fort Lauderdale
As you would expect in a City known for lush landscapes and beautiful weather, the parks and recreation facilities of Fort Lauderdale are second to none. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park features 180 acres of parkland, offering an oasis of peace in the midst of the bustle of Fort Lauderdale.
If you’re looking for a playground and recreation facilities, Volunteer Park is popular with locals and visitors alike. Snyder Park is a haven for nature lovers, with boardwalks through forests and even a butterfly garden. Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is probably the best known in the area, with pristine sand as well as facilities for basketball, skateboarding, and other activities.
Get Help When Irresponsible Behavior in Fort Lauderdale Causes Loss or Injuries
While Fort Lauderdale is an amazing environment to live and visit, no place is perfect. Irresponsible drivers and boaters cause accidents. Property owners don’t always maintain safe conditions. Hurricanes and fires cause damage. Even the numerous cruise ships that leave from Fort Lauderdale can be the source of pain and grief.
If you suffered injuries or damage, it is essential to understand your legal rights and how to receive fair compensation for your losses. The experienced team at the Maus Law Firm can help. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation with a top Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer if you need assistance.