If you have been injured in a car accident, hiring a lawyer will help ensure you make decisions and take actions that help protect your rights and your ability to recover all of your damages.
What Happens If I Am at Fault For a Car Accident?
If you have been injured in a car accident, hiring a lawyer will help ensure you make decisions and take actions that help protect your rights and your ability to recover all of your damages.
Auto Accident in Plantation Leaves 2 Dead on Sunrise Boulevard
- A deadly auto accident happened in Plantation Florida near 441 on NW 47th Avenue and Sunrise Boulevard.
- Two people were killed in a sedan after being hit by an SUV.
- The impact tore the sedan’s front and rear axles completely off.
- Sunrise Boulevard was completely reopened just before 1PM
According to initial reports by Plantation police, the Honda sedan was attempting to turn from the eastbound lanes on Sunrise Boulevard with the intention of either going north on 43rd Avenue or making a U-turn to go west on Sunrise Boulevard. Lanes of West Sunrise Boulevard in Plantation were closed in both directions shortly after 5 a.m. By 9:45 a.m., only the two left lanes had remained closed.
The Honda can be seen missing its entire front end and almost appears to be split in half. The Mercedes SUV sustained significant front end damage. The accident is still under investigation by Plantation police and fire departments and charges are reportedly pending related to the accident.
Every driver has a responsibility to drive in a cautious and courteous manner. With so many drivers sharing Florida roadways, no amount of defensive driving can protect you from the negligent and reckless behavior of another driver.
For many Floridians, it isn’t if you will be involved in a crash, but when.
If you find yourself in a car accident, there are a number of different things that you should probably do. Get yourself medical help. Take pictures and gather evidence. Call a lawyer. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and even confused following a car accident. Let alone the concerns surrounding medical bills, repair needed and whether or not you will be able to return to work.
In fact, we’ve written guides about what to do after a crash. However, you don’t have to do many of those things. If you wanted to, you could skip a lot of them.
Not all of them, though. There are some things that Florida law actually requires you to do if you are involved in a crash. Below, we’re going to go over what those are.
Stop at the scene of the auto accident
Hopefully, this goes without saying, but you cannot simply drive away after the car crash. You must first stop and fulfill the other duties detailed below first. Otherwise, it could be classified as a hit and run.
If you leave a crash where someone else was injured, this is a third-degree felony, and you can face up to five years in prison or five years of probation, a $5,000 fine, and driver’s license revocation. If someone dies in the car crash, then it is a first-degree felony, with penalties of up to 30 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and driver’s license revocation. There is a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years if you were driving under the influence.
If it is only property that was damaged, then it is a second-degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Get help for anyone who has been injured
If the other person requires or requests medical treatment, you are obligated to provide “reasonable assistance.” This means things like transporting or making arrangements to transport the person to a doctor or hospital. Often, your best course of action is to call 9-1-1.
Move your car out of the way
If your car is blocking traffic, you are required to move your car or call for help, such as from a tow truck, if you are unable to do so.
Provide your name and address to the other driver
You must also show your driver’s license or permit and vehicle registration number if requested. In the situation where the other person is not able to receive that information, then you are required to report the crash.
Provide information to investigating police officers
You must share your driver’s license, vehicle registration, address, and other information. Don’t discuss fault at this point. Just answers questions honestly. You never know what the other driver may or may not have been doing.
Report the accident in some cases
You are required to report the accident to the local police department, sheriff, or the Florida Highway Patrol if there are injuries, death, or damage over $500. You are also required to do so if either driver is intoxicated.
You don’t have to file a crash report if the investigating officer does so, but you should confirm that they actually did so. Also, your crash report should include up-to-date information about your car insurance.
Once you do these things, you can be on your way if you wish. However, you could be missing out if the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. This is something that’s not always easy to tell when you’re involved. The best way to know for sure is to reach out to a knowledgeable Florida car crash lawyer and talk to them about your case.
COVID-19 Auto Accidents in South Florida
COVID-19 has created a dramatic shift in all of our lives and even on our South Florida roadways. With residents holed up at home, working remotely and running fewer errands than ever, rush hour traffic has dipped considerably. Shuttered bars and restaurants has meant fewer drunk drivers on the roads and less auto accidents.
Those who must and do go out may be under the impression that the roads are safer due to this dip in traffic congestion we’ve seen throughout the state. They have evidence to support that belief too.
Florida drivers were involved in 9,469 crashes in June compared to 31,128 in 2019.
However true, that belief for many drivers contributes to the most serious and fatal auto accidents that can happen.
The Need For Speed
A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) stated that many drivers across the U.S. are pushing the needle to speeds greater than 100 mph. FHP have also reported drivers are traveling at speeds of 20-40 mph over the posted speed limit on average.
“Law enforcement officials have the same mission as health care providers — to save lives. If you must drive, buckle up, follow the posted speed limit and look out for pedestrians and bicyclists. Emergency rooms in many areas of the country are at capacity, and the last thing they need is additional strain from traffic crash victims,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins.
Caution Your Confidence
The roads may appear empty and safe for you to push the pedal a little further. Just a few MPH over the speed limit is no big deal, right?
Out of the 9,469 crashes in June, 54% were speed related and 37% of those were fatal.
Due to distracted driving, unsafe road conditions and a myriad of circumstances we’ve seen can happen here at The South Florida Injury Law Firm, we know the roads are never as safe as they may seem.
It’s difficult to foresee auto accidents, the injuries that can come from them and the lifelong effects they have. It can put even a bigger dent in finances that COVID-19 have already burdened so many with. It is even worse when you know somebody else through their negligence caused you suffering, and that’s why you need to fight hard to get compensated for your loss. Be cautious and remember these steps we’ve put together for you to be better prepared:
What to do at the scene of an auto accident during this time of COVID-19
- Get medical attention for those who are injured.
- Still Practice Safe Distance. Stay 6 feet away from the other driver.
- If you are able to without discomfort, pay mind to and keep your mask on.
- Get the name and the driver’s license of the driver of the car that caused the collision.
- If the driver leaves, get the license plate number of the car. If this is not possible, at least get a description of the car including the make, model, color, and any descriptive information you can.
- Call the police. If the car leaves, do not endanger yourself by following or chasing it. The police will do their best to track down the culprit.
- Wait in a safe place for the arrival of the police.
- If there are witnesses, try to get their names, contact information, and statements.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident as well as of the damage to your car.
As soon as possible with auto accidents, make your own written statement about what happened. Include as many details as you can about how the accident occurred. Note exactly where the accident occurred, whether there were traffic lights or a stop sign, what you observed the other driver doing, and any other information that seems relevant.
If someone sustains a head wound, broken arm or puncture wound, the injuries are obviously serious, and medical assistance should be sought immediately. But many times, accidents result in aching or overall soreness. It can be tempting to shrug this soreness off, as the pain may even subside over the following days. Not seeking medical attention can be a major mistake.
Get an Attorney
When searching for the best personal injury lawyers in South Florida, or if you have experienced an auto accident or injury, be sure to check for experience, track record, and reviews from their past clients.
Our team have 100+ years of combined legal experience, so we’ve handled just about every kind of injury and accident case you can imagine. We also come from diverse legal backgrounds that help us when preparing for cases, counting a former public defender and a lawyer who worked for insurance companies and knows their tactics among our partners.
During this time, we urge you to be safe on the road and if you have been in an accident, know that you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering – and those responsible deserve to be held accountable for their actions. That was The South Florida Injury Law Firm’s goal when it was founded in South Florida in 1991, and it has remained the centerpiece of the firm’s mission ever since that time.
7 Most Common Florida Car Crash Injuries
Car crashes happen in Florida every day. Lots of car crashes. Which means lots of people getting hurt in all kinds of ways.
Below we are going to go over seven of the most common types of injuries that tend to occur in automobile accidents. If you are seriously hurt due to the negligent actions of another, you owe it to yourself and your family to fight back.
Types of Injuries You Might Experience If You are In an Automobile Accident
Head injuries. In a car crash, head injuries most often occur when the head makes impact with the windshield, window, or steering wheel. They can also occur if flying debris hits the skull.
It’s in your best interest to seek medical attention for any kind of head injury, no matter how minor. Head injuries can have long-lasting and serious complications, so the importance of a medical exam cannot be overstated.
Dizziness, bleeding, swelling, or temporary blackouts are all reasons to seek emergency medical care. Doctors will run tests to see if you have injury to your brain or if you experienced a concussion. Your medical diagnosis also serves as proof positive in a personal injury lawsuit, so it’s important to seek medical care even if the injury doesn’t seem particularly serious.
Soft tissue injuries. Some injuries due to a car crash aren’t immediately visible, and it may take days or even weeks for symptoms to show up. Whiplash is a common injury in a car crash that produces lingering pain in neck muscles and ligaments, but may not manifest immediately after an accident.
Consult your doctor if your joints are sprained or pain persists in your muscles. Your doctor will investigate the source of your soft tissue injury and recommend treatment. Getting treatment is important so you don’t make yourself susceptible to further injury.
Chest injuries. When the airbag deploys, it can cause bruising or even broken ribs. Seat belts are proven to save lives, but that doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes hurt you. Drivers are most susceptible to chest injuries, because their proximity to the steering column restricts freedom of movement. The steering column itself can injure the driver in a car crash if the impact is forceful enough.
Back injuries. Damage to vertebrae or the spinal column in a car crash can be permanently life-altering, depending on which disks are affected and to what degree damage occurred. Partial or full paralysis may occur from these kinds of injuries. Urgent medical care is essential to determine the level of the damage. Don’t hesitate to rush to the emergency room if you feel any numbness or pain in your neck or back after a car crash.
Abrasions. It’s common to experience bruising, cuts, and scrapes in a car crash. You may be slammed up against the interior or scratched up by the car itself. Also, flying debris like glass, cell phones, drinking cups, purses, and accessories may fly at you at high speed, causing painful bruises or cuts.
Some abrasions may be minor and treatable with a few stitches or home remedies. Others may be more serious and require extensive medical care. Surface abrasions may hide more severe ailments like head injuries or broken bones. If the pain lasts longer than what would occur with a normal bruise or cut, or if other symptoms go along with the abrasions, it is a good idea to get a doctor’s opinion.
Injury to extremities. Broken fingers, arms, legs, and toes can occur as a person is thrown against the vehicle interior or door in a crash. Side impact crashes tend to cause the most damage to limbs. People riding in the front seat may have knee or leg damage when they come into sudden contact with the dashboard. People riding in the back seat may experience damage to extremities as they are shoved into the seats in front of them.
These injuries need to be treated immediately by a doctor. Even if the pain is less than what you may expect for a broken bone, it’s wise to seek medical attention.
Pedestrian injuries. A pedestrian hit in a crash may suffer many of the injuries listed above. One third of non-traffic crashes involve pedestrians and cyclists, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Contact a knowledgeable Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as you’ve sustained an injury to get help building a solid case. Insurance companies often resist paying claims to rightful victims in car crashes, but an experienced attorney will work to fight the insurance companies and help you receive the help and compensation you deserve.
Tips To Protect Yourself From A Spring Break Accident in South Florida
Every year between late February and early April, traffic fatalities rise in certain areas of the country.
Why? What’s happening?
Two words: spring break.
Those findings are from a new study that illustrates the spike in deadly auto accidents specific to “spring break destinations.
- Traffic fatality rates in these areas during this time rise significantly for
- Drivers under the age of 25
- Among those who travel from other states
- No increases are noted for areas that are not destinations for spring break
Below, we’re going to detail how Florida personal injury claims work if you are hurt in a spring break car crash.
Filing a Florida Claim after a Spring Break Car Crash
If you’re injured in an auto accident, the first thing you need to do isn’t file a claim, but seek medical care. Not only is this a good way to make sure your injuries get taken care of and that you aren’t hurt more than you realize, it increases your chances of winning compensation as well.
Your medical record will be a key piece of evidence in proving that the crash caused your injuries and that you deserve compensation for your medical expenses.
Next, your best course of action is to consult with a knowledgeable Florida injury attorney. He or she will be able to evaluate your case, and will make sure that you adhere to and understand the process.
Some important things to know:
- Florida’s Injury Statute of Limitations.
Under Florida law, you must file an injury lawsuit no more than four years from the date of the accident. File outside of that timeline and your case will likely be dismissed.
- Florida’s Pure Comparative Negligence Rule.
When discussing your possible compensation amounts with a personal injury lawyer, it’s important to know that the amount may be adjusted according to the pure comparative negligence rule. This rule says that winning plaintiffs will receive compensation for their injuries according to their percentage of fault in the accident.
For example, if a drunk driver hit you and caused your injuries, but you were speeding at the time of the accident, the court may determine that you are 30 percent at fault for the accident. This means that any compensation you receive will only be 70 percent of the awarded total. If your total award is $100,000, you will be eligible to receive $70,000 due to the 30 percent reduction under the pure comparative negligence rule.
- Florida’s No-Fault Car Insurance Law.
In the majority of traffic accidents, each driver’s insurance company will be responsible for up to $10,000 in various expenses like medical bills and lost income – no matter who is at fault for the accident.
It is only when serious injuries occur that you can sue for additional damages. The requirements include the following types of injuries resulting from a car crash:
- Significant or permanent bodily function loss
- Significant or permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Permanent injury
A skilled attorney will know if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold, and therefore will be eligible for greater compensation.
- Damage Limits in Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits.
In car accident lawsuits, Florida courts set limits on the amount that can be compensated for punitive damages, which often apply to non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
You can file for the greater of either triple the amount of damages or $500,000. This normally applies only to extreme cases where the behavior of the driver was exceptionally reckless or dangerous.
How a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Fight Back
If you are hurt in a Florida spring break car crash due to another’s negligence, you shouldn’t be stuck with all the bills for a serious injury. Unfortunately, dealing with insurance companies is often a tough challenge, and you have additional hurdles if you were injured on a visit to Florida as so many spring breakers are.
A skilled Florida personal injury attorney can ease your burden in dealing with all of this and help you fight to get the compensation you deserve. Reach out today for a free case review. We will look over the details of your situation and let you know what options are available to you.
When your life has been turned upside down due to another’s negligence and you are drowning in bills and struggling to recover, you want to make sure you work with the best law firm you can find.
What is the difference between a high-quality injury firm and one that will only do the bare minimum? The people who work there. That is why The South Florida Injury Law Firm is made up of some of the most well-respected and successful injury attorneys around.
Our lawyers have more than 60 years of combined injury law experience, and they have handled just about every type of Florida injury case you can imagine. They are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an elite group of attorneys who have helped settle injury cases worth more than a million dollars. They have been named to Florida Trend’s Legal Elite. They are recognized by the Florida Workers’ Advocates group.
Perhaps even more importantly, they have received glowing reviews from clients – and they get results.
New Technology Promises to Prevent Texting and Driving
Because cell phones and other mobile devices have become so well-integrated into our daily routines, we’ve grown accustomed to using them every chance we get—even behind the wheel. Whether out of reflex or a feeling of need to continue a conversation occurring via text, we do it all too often.
But the risk of texting or checking a phone while driving is too high. In fact, the time it takes for someone to glance down at their phone or text a reply is approximately 4.6 seconds, which is commonly compared to driving the length of a football field. That’s like putting a blindfold on when you’re behind the wheel for almost five seconds. Most people wouldn’t dream of doing that, but for some reason using a phone while driving is seen as perfectly okay by many.
According to studies conducted by experts, you are 23 times more likely to be in an accident if you are texting while driving compared to driving while not distracted. Today, 39 states in the U.S. have banned sending texts while driving. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 1,600,000 accidents per year are caused by texting while driving, in addition to 330,000 injuries per year and about 11 teen deaths every day. In fact, 25% of all car accidents that occur are texting-while-driving related.
Technology Companies Step In… To Block Technology
That is why big cellphone companies such as Verizon and AT&T have created numerous awareness campaigns and educational programs in order to get people, especially teens, to pledge never to text while driving. Some companies have also invented apps that claim to prevent distracted driving accidents from occurring.
Verizon’s new app, for example, called Safely Go, automatically receives and responds to calls and texts so that the driver can remain focused and responsible while on the road. AT&T’s Drive Mode limits the extra features on your phone and automatically sends pre-set replies to incoming texts,letting people know that you are driving. Additionally, the app blocks you from reading or typing anything and further silences all calls, texts, and emails. But these innovations go beyond cellphone companies trying to fix a problem they had a hand in creating – lots of other companies are getting involved as well:
DriveSafe.ly actually reads your texts, calls, or emails aloud and responds to them either by voice or with pre-set responses.
Textecution uses a GPS to determine speed and will automatically disable texting if you are traveling more than 10 mph.
Text-STARalso senses motion and disables texting when going above 10 mph, but goes above and beyond this by allowing you to schedule auto-reply texts in advance if you plan to be driving at a later time.
tXtBlocker allows users to go a different route by customizing the locations and times of day (such as typical commuting or driving times) when they don’t want texts and phone calls to be accepted.
Technology Can Help, but People Are Still Responsible
The Verizon website states, “Experience teaches us that technology innovation will provide more opportunities to address public safety issues like texting and driving.” However, it’s important to remember that the effectiveness of these apps rely mostly on the drivers’ willing and effective use of them as tools to keep themselves focused on the road. Nevertheless, there will always be distracted people on the road, and if one of them hits you, it’s vital that you get the expert legal help you need as soon as possible to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.
Campaigns against Distracted Driving: What’s Working?
Anything that takes a driver’s attention off the road is dangerous, but with more and more Americans owning and relying on cell phones, texting while driving has become a particularly pervasive problem. And with an estimated 350,000 distracted driving-related deaths per year, it’s a problem that our country has finally started noticing and trying to prevent.
41 states now ban texting while driving, with the Florida ban finally going into effect in October 2013. While making it against the law to text and drive is a good starting point, that act alone isn’t enough. In Florida, for example, texting while driving is only a secondary offense, which means that a police officer has to pull you over for something else—like speeding or driving erratically—rather than just asking you to stop because they’ve spotted you using your phone. And those people who do get cited for texting while driving only face a $30 fine—hardly a significant incentive for someone who’s determined to multitask behind the wheel.
So if distracted driving laws aren’t enough, what’s really going to stop people from texting while driving? The only truly effective way to stop this behavior is if we have a nationwide shift in the way we think about this dangerous activity.
Failing to See Danger in Texting While Driving
Most drivers probably recognize on some level that they can’t fully concentrate on their surroundings while texting, and that sending a message while driving puts them at a greater risk for being in an accident. However, far too many people weigh the costs and benefits of texting while driving and decide that the risk is worth the immediate satisfaction of sending and receiving messages. They think that accidents only happen to other people, and that they’re more capable of safely multitasking than the general population. Teen drivers, who have not yet fully developed the part of their brain involved in problem-solving, are at a particularly high risk for this kind of flawed thinking.
To address the logical fallacy that “texting while driving isn’t that dangerous for me,” many government organizations and private companies have launched campaigns aimed at emphasizing the risks of distracted driving. Notable recent campaigns include:
- End Distracted Driving (EndDD) uses their website to encourage people to host presentations or become speakers to educate their communities about the dangers of distracted driving.
- Verizon notes that mobile phones are a part of everyday life, but wants to encourage people to put them away while driving. They recently launched a video PSA showing text messages popping up and blocking a driver’s view, and they’re encouraging viewers to pledge to drive responsibly.
- Toyota, recognizing the problem of drivers taking “selfies” on their phones, created an ad showing a totaled car through different Instagram filters with the tagline, “Don’t Shoot and Drive.”
These types of campaigns are beginning to raise awareness about the distracted driving issue, but in order for the idea to really take hold, we need to make texting while driving culturally unacceptable in our society.
Designated Driver Campaign Serves as Good Example
Image Source- http://1.usa.gov/1da7164
If we’re looking for ways to change the way our society views texting while driving, the designated driver campaign launched in 1988 provides some good examples. Before the campaign was launched, the idea of having someone stay sober to drive their friends home wasn’t something that had ever really caught on in the US. However, the campaign, which kicked off with the slogan “The Designated Driver is the Life of the Party!” made the designated driver a new social norm. The campaign made further inroads when many popular TV shows, such as The Cosby Show and Cheers, added scenes with designated drivers. Thanks to the pervasiveness of the campaign, by 1998 a majority of adults who drink had either been a designated driver or had a sober friend drive them home at some point.
If distracted driving campaigns are going to cause the same kind of cultural shift, they need to be integrated into mainstream culture. As with the designated driver campaign, maybe we could see more TV and movie scenes where characters choose not to text and drive—or do but suffer negative consequences, as a result. Once putting your phone away while driving becomes a culturally accepted norm, it will become much easier to curb distracted driving.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycles represent power, freedom, and rebellion. More so than with cars, there’s a feeling that you can just hop on your motorcycle and escape from the world, and the fact that they don’t have things like doors or roofs can make you feel more connected to nature and the road.
Unfortunately, many riders end up literally more connected to that road when they’re involved in a crash because of those very things they love. No doors and no roof may mean that you get to feel the wind in your face, but it also means far less protection.
Exactly how dangerous are motorcycles? When you compare the number of crashes to cars that travel the same number of miles, someone riding a motorcycle is 30 times more likely to have an accident.
That’s an amazing statistic, but perhaps even more telling is the fact that 80 percent of all motorcycle crashes cause injury or death to the operator. If you crash while riding your motorcycle, you’re going to get hurt – and possibly worse.
So, what exactly can you expect to be dealing with after your crash? Some of the most common types of injuries include:
This is a rather delicate name for something that can be deadly serious. What is road rash? Well, unlike car drivers and passengers, bikers almost always get thrown from their vehicle in a crash. This tends to mean landing on the road and often skidding or rolling a good distance before coming to a stop. If you aren’t wearing good, strong protective clothing, it’s likely that your skin is going to scrape across that road, and you’re going to have some damage. Mild cases might just mean a few red marks, but some riders have been known to lose entire patches of skin from road rash.
If you’re getting thrown from a motorcycle doing 60 mph on a highway, it stands to reason that there’s going to be a hard impact and you might suffer a fracture or two. Riders involved in accidents frequently end up with broken legs or arms, hip and pelvic fractures, cracked ribs, and so on. Severe breaks may poke through the skin and cause lasting damage that’s difficult to repair, including nerve damage. According to the CDC, riders are most likely to hurt their legs and feet, followed by the next group of injuries we’ll cover.
Anyone who’s ever ridden a bike knows the mantra: helmets save lives. It may seem cliché or even annoying in its pervasiveness, but the statistics show that it really is true. Roughly a third of all deaths resulting from motorcycle accidents could be prevented if the rider was wearing a helmet. What does that mean in real numbers? Well, in 2008 alone,almost 2,000 riders had their lives saved because they were wearing a helmet. And that doesn’t even factor in the number of people protected from severe injury by helmets, because many riders who sustain head injuries and live end up with brain damage.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will tell you that in some ways, spine damage may be even worse because there’s little that you can do to protect against it – there’s no “helmet” for your back, and landing on it in the wrong way can lead to serious nerve damage or even paralysis.
How Do You Prevent These Injuries?
Drive safe. Though there will always be events out of your control, studies show that 43% of all motorcycle accidents involve alcohol. Never, ever get on your ride after drinking, and always follow safe practices on the road, such as obeying speed limits and street signs, using your turning signals, and riding with others so that it’s easier for other drivers to see you.