The Importance of Establishing Fault in a Car Accident

A car accident can create havoc in your life when you least expect it. An injured party may believe that another motorist’s carelessness or wrongdoing caused the accident. In such cases, the law gives people the right to file a civil suit against those who behave negligently to recover compensation for various damages. Success in such legal endeavors ultimately depends on proving fault.

While Florida is a “no-fault” car insurance state, you may be able to pursue a third-party liability claim against the negligent person who caused your car accident if your injuries qualify as “serious” in accordance with state law. In the aftermath of a serious accident, you may be unsure how to successfully recover compensation for your losses. You should seek legal help and contact a reputable Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer to assist you in the following ways: 

  1.   Negligence

In the most basic sense, the person responsible for an accident is the person whose actions caused it to occur. Most of the time, no one intends to cause a car crash (although, if they do, they will be held accountable). Instead, legal liability for an accident is usually determined by whether the person or entity at fault acted negligently in causing a Fort Lauderdale car crash.

Fort-Lauderdale-Car-Acciden

Though most people have heard the term “negligence” used by lawyers, many may not fully comprehend what it means. To prove someone was negligent in their actions, in most cases you must show that an individual:

  • Had a duty or obligation to behave or act responsibly in a given situation
  • Violated the duty of care owed to others by failing to act reasonably or in a way that would be expected to cause harm
  • Their violation of a duty to behave reasonably caused harm or injury to a victim 
  • As a result of that harm, the victim suffered damages

Every driver owes a duty of care to everyone else on the road, including other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. This duty requires drivers to operate their vehicles reasonably to avoid accidents and injuries to others. 

According to City-Data.com, a significant number of fatal car crashes occured in Florida in 2019. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Crash Dashboard reports that there were 3,335 fatalities resulting from 340,918 crashes throughout the state in 2020. This is an eye-opening statistic that indicates that we should not take safety rules and traffic regulations lightly. Driving carefully can help to avoid many fatalities. 

  1.   Instances of negligent behavior

Every driver agrees to follow traffic laws and safety precautions when obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle in the state. Out of state drivers also tacitly agree to follow the rules of the state they are in while operating a motor vehicle. When a driver violates those rules and causes an accident, that violation serves as evidence. It will help you prove that they were “negligent” behind the wheel. For example, it may indicate that a driver was careless if, at the time of the accident, he or she was:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving without a license
  • Not obeying traffic signals
  • Driving aggressively or in an unpredictable manner
  • Driving while drowsy
  1.   Providing evidence of negligence

Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys frequently need to gather independent evidence. Independent evidence refers to something more than their client’s description of the events. The evidence is relevant to show the other driver’s fault when establishing negligence. So, for example, the victim’s testimony that she saw the other driver texting right before the accident would not be enough.

Instead, the victim’s attorney may need to obtain the other driver’s cell phone records. This could be used to show the driver’s exact moment of receiving a text message. Alternatively, you could attempt to locate other witnesses who saw the driver texting. An experienced attorney understands the type of evidence required in Fort Lauderdale courts to demonstrate that the other driver’s negligent actions caused the accident.

The following types of evidence may be used in a car accident claim:

  • Photos from the crash scene depicting vehicle positioning, skid marks, injuries, traffic signals, and so on
  • Witness statements
  • Video from nearby businesses or traffic cameras
  • Driving records
  • Cell Phone data
  • Accident reconstruction experts who provide analysis

Before seeking damages from the person or people who caused the wreck, always consult with a Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney, especially if someone attempts to shift the blame to you or others to avoid having to pay.

The lawyer will first try to determine all entities or individuals involved, whose actions caused the accident, and the extent of your injuries. In many accidents, liability may not be limited to “the other driver” because other people or entities may share liability for the collision. As an example:

  • An agency in charge of road design or maintenance may be considered “negligent” if it constructs a road poorly or leaves it in a condition that increases the likelihood of an accident.
  • A passenger exerting influence over a driver’s control of the vehicle could be found to be liable for all loss and damages.

The more potential “defendants” a lawyer can identify, the more options the client may have for recouping compensation.

  1.   Cases in which there is no need to prove negligence

Not all legal actions seeking damages arising from an accident require the victim to demonstrate negligence. There are times when someone can be held “strictly liable” for causing harm even if they did not act negligently. In general , there are two primary situations where a person may be held strictly liable. These are when they own certain types of animals and when they engage in abnormally dangerous activities. For instance:

Manufacturers of defective products – Automobile and auto-parts manufacturers may be held strictly liable if they sell a defective product that fails to work as it was intended and the defect causes harm or injury to a person. A product can be considered “defective” if it has a flaw in its design, was poorly manufactured, or does not come with instructions on how to use it safely. 

How Insurance Companies Resolve Liability Issues in Car Crash Cases?

Because most drivers have auto insurance, insurance companies play a significant role in such cases where a victim seeks compensation from another driver who was at fault. In many states, a victim injured in a car crash caused by another driver will seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. The other driver’s insurance company will pay for the other driver’s defense lawyer most of the time.

As stated at the outset of this article, Florida is a “no-fault” state. That means that your own “personal injury protection” coverage pays the medical bills and certain other financial losses of anyone covered under the policy, despite who caused the accident. The problem with this system is that it limits the types of damages for which you can receive compensation. In order to file a lawsuit against the negligent party to recover additional damages, such as pain and suffering, your car accident injuries must qualify as “serious” in accordance with state law. This means that the accident must have caused one of the following to meet Florida’s “seriousness” threshold:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Death

How Does a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Help You? 

Thousands of auto accidents across Florida have resulted in injuries to drivers and passengers. If you have been involved in a collision, you may have incurred physical, mental, and economic damages. Injuries resulting from car accidents can create havoc and may cause life-threatening injuries. 

Many people are unsure whether to hire a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer. They may be concerned because they are already facing huge expenses related to the accident. They may be concerned that the lawyer’s fee will add to their costs and that they may be expensive. That is not the case because many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. 

A contingency fee means that the lawyer does not charge you until and unless you get compensation. This way, your attorney  remains committed to you and also has a stake in getting appropriate compensation. Here are some of the ways that an attorney can help you: 

  • Knowledge of laws – Florida is one of a dozen states that applies a form of no-fault insurance. Therefore, you will have to reach out to your own car insurance company to receive compensation for your losses. Our attorneys are well-versed in the laws and understand exceptions when you can file a claim against a third party. Therefore, you can rely on them to handle the case in the right manner. 
  • Experience – Whether they are filing a lawsuit or dealing with a plaintiff’s insurance company, lawyers are well-versed in the law and car accident cases. They have years of experience handling such cases. 
  • Obtaining reliable evidence – The experienced professionals will even assist you in obtaining all the required evidence. Proper documentation is essential and you should have all the necessary documents and evidence. The jury may deny your claim when you do not have evidence to prove your claim. 
  • Communication and negotiation – Legal professionals have excellent negotiation skills and will deal with your insurance company on your behalf. The insurance companies may try to reduce or delay a claim. An lawyer will communicate and negotiate on your behalf in a car accident in Fort Lauderdale. They will also assist you with filing a lawsuit and help you receive an appropriate settlements for your injuries. 

Talk to a Reputable Fort Lauderdale Auto Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Whether you have a minor hand injury or a severe head injury, you have the right to fight for compensation owed to you for expenses and damages related to your injuries. Negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company or an opposing lawyer without your own representation is ill advised. 

Contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney  at Berke Law Firm, P.A. to improve your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. We can review your case and advise you on the most logical and appropriate next steps for getting compensation for your injuries. Book your first free consultation today!