We Help Car Crash Victims and Their Families Throughout South Florida
Fort Lauderdale is home to more than 180,000 residents. Located in the heart of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale is also the second principal city in the Miami metropolitan area, which boasts a combined population of over 6 million people.
With all of those residents–not to mention tourists–traversing Fort Lauderdale’s highways and main road on a daily basis, the city sees more than its fair share of car accidents. Indeed, in 2021 there were approximately 42,000 motor vehicle crashes reported in Broward County, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These accidents produced 280 fatalities and over 23,000 non-fatal injuries.
If you are among the people who have been seriously injured in a car accident, it is important to seek out timely legal advice regarding your right to compensation. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, our experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers have obtained over $1 billion in settlements and trial verdicts on behalf of our clients. We can sit down with you, assess the facts surrounding your accident, and advise you on the best legal strategy for pursuing a claim for damages.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Fort Lauderdale?
Car accident cases are based on negligence. Put simply, negligence occurs when a driver fails in their duty to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. Negligence does not require proof of intent or a criminal act. Even an unintended violation of Florida’s traffic laws is still considered negligent if it results in an accident.
Some of the more common causes of Fort Lauderdale car accidents that we see at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, include:
- Excessive Speed: South Florida drivers are often in a hurry to get somewhere. When combined with the high concentration of traffic in a place like Fort Lauderdale, excessive speed frequently leads to preventable car wrecks.
- Driving Under the Influence — It is against the law in Florida for anyone to be driving or in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination of the two. Even if a driver does not meet the “per se” standard for DUI–i.e., a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher–they can still be found civilly liable if the use of any amount of intoxicating liquor or drugs impaired their judgment prior to a crash.
- Distracted Driving: While DUI tends to get more public attention, we actually find that driving while distracted is a far more common cause of car accidents in South Florida. When a driver is looking at their smartphone, talking to a passenger, or even trying to eat breakfast while commuting, their eyes are not on the road. And even a moment of a diverted attention can be enough to cause a fatal crash.
- Other Traffic Violations: Failing to obey a stop sign or red light, making an illegal turn, or trailing a vehicle in front of you too closely are all commonly observed traffic violations that constitute negligence in the event of a crash.
Fort Lauderdale drivers need to exercise reasonable care–and simple common sense–when driving around the area. This is especially true in known high-traffic areas like Sunrise Boulevard and Federal Highway. Drivers need to remain constantly vigilant for changes in traffic conditions and adjust their expectations–and driving habits–accordingly.
Who Pays for My Medical Bills Following a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident?
Florida’s rules governing auto insurance and car accidents often confuse many residents. The main source of confusion is the state’s so-called no-fault rules governing minor accidents. Basically, if you own a motor vehicle in Florida, you need to purchase a minimum amount of auto insurance. This coverage includes what is known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This coverage is often called “no-fault” because it will pay you certain benefits following an accident regardless of who was actually responsible for causing the crash.
Most Fort Lauderdale car owners only carry the minimum amount of required PIP coverage. This provides up to $10,000 in coverage for 80 percent of your “necessary and reasonable” medical expenses following a car accident. If you or one of your passengers only sustained minor injuries, this may be enough to pay the bulk of your medical bills when combined with health insurance.
But if someone is killed in an accident, or the victim sustains serious and life-altering injuries, it is possible to step outside of the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the negligent driver and their insurance company. A “serious” injury is defined in Florida law as one that results in:
- the significant loss of an important body function;
- the permanent loss of a bodily function;
- a permanent injury such as disfigurement;
- injuries severe enough to create a medical probability of death; or
These kinds of injuries generally far exceed the amount of benefits covered by PIP. But a negligent driver and their insurance company can be held accountable for the full amount of your medical bills and other accident-related losses, including your lost income and the costs of long-term rehabilitation. You can also seek non-economic damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering, which is not possible through no-fault coverage.
Do I Need to Talk to the Other Driver Following a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident?
Any car accident–even a seemingly minor “fender bender”–can leave you shaken up and unsure of what to do next. A common question we get is, “Do I actually need to stop and talk to the other driver?” The answer is yes, but with an important caveat.
Under Florida law, anytime that a car accident results in bodily injury or property damage, all drivers involved must stop and exchange basic information with another. This includes their name, address, and vehicle registration number. Drivers must also render aid to any person who appears to be injured, typically by calling 911. A driver who leaves the scene without taking these steps can be charged with a criminal offense in Florida.
But while you are required to exchange basic contact and vehicle information, you do not have to volunteer any additional information about what might have caused the accident itself. You should never admit or accept responsibility for the accident. In many cases, people reflexively apologize before they even know what happened. This can work against you later if it turns out the other driver was at-fault and you need to seek compensation from them or their insurance company.
Some other steps you can take following a Fort Lauderdale car accident include:
- Seek Medical Attention: The adrenaline rush following a sudden car crash can mask pain and other signs that you sustained potentially serious injuries. So even if you get up and walk away from the scene of an accident, go see your doctor or visit a primary care clinic as soon as you can. In no case should you let more than 24 hours elapse without seeking some form of medical attention.
- Document the Accident Scene: If the police attend the accident scene they will prepare an official report. But you can also document the scene yourself, assuming you are physically able to and do not require emergency medical care. Take pictures of both vehicles and the crash site with your smartphone. If there were any third-party witnesses, take down their names and contact information. And if there is a police report, make sure you obtain a copy when it is ready.
- Contact a Qualified Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer: Many car accident victims make the mistake of assuming they will not need an attorney since their own insurance company will pay for any medical bills or car damage. This is a mistake. An experienced car accident attorney can assist you not only with conducting a complete investigation into what happened, but also represent you in dealing with insurance companies.
Our Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help
In car accidents resulting in serious bodily injury or death, the victims and their families are often entitled to substantial compensation under Florida law. The Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, can help you in securing such compensation. Our track record includes a number of record-setting jury verdicts and settlements, such as:
- $9.8 million in compensation for a 40-year-old mother of two was rendered a quadriplegic after being struck by a driver who sped through a stop sign;
- $9.5 million for a man struck from behind by a rental car driver, leading to the partial amputation of his left leg.
- $5 million for a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver.
- $4 million for the family of a 63-year-old man killed by a distracted driver.
Of course, every auto accident case is unique. That is why it is important for us to sit down and learn more about your accident and how we can best help you and your family. Call us today at (305) 371-2692 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.