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Car accidents happen every day in Florida – about 1,095 times a day, to be exact. In some of those instances, more than one person may be at-fault.Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer

They may not be equally at-fault. But as a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer can explain, the fact that an injured party was partly responsible for a crash does not bar them from seeking compensation from the other party, at least not in Florida. That’s thanks to a doctrine known as comparative fault.

Broadly, comparative fault (also called comparative negligence or contributory negligence) is a partial legal defense that can reduce the amount of monetary damages a plaintiff can recover in a negligence-based claim. It’s based on the degree to which the plaintiff’s own fault, negligence, or wrongdoing contributed to cause the injury or exacerbate it.

For example, if Person A runs a red light and causes a crash that injures Person B, the latter has a legitimate claim against the former. This is true even if Person B also happened to be speeding at the time of the crash, thereby making their injuries more severe than they might have been otherwise. In this situation, a jury may find that Person A was 80% at fault and Person B was 20% at fault. If the total damages were $100,000, then Person B’s total damages would be reduced according to their own fault – so by 20%. That means the most they could recover in that scenario would be $80,000.

Florida has been a pure comparative fault state since 1973. That meant that even if you were 99% at fault for the injury you sustained, you could still pursue legal action against the other person for their 1% of fault.

However, that changed in March 2023, with updates to F.S. 768.81, Florida’s comparative fault law. The statute was changed to say that if you are 51% or more responsible for your own injuries, then you cannot recover any damages at all. However, you could be 50% at fault and still recover the other 50% from other at-fault parties. Continue reading

The legal process is vexing for most people. A Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuit is no different – especially because you’re navigating it all after just emerging from a traumatic incident such as a car accident, medical malpractice, or hazardous conditions/violence on someone else’s property.Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer talks to injured man in sling

Most people aren’t experts on insurance coverage, liability, and the rules of litigation. And hopefully, this is the only time you’ll ever have to go through it. But knowing the steps of how the Florida personal injury claims process works can help ease some anxiety about what to expect. Your personal injury lawyer – who is not paid upfront, or at all unless you win – can break it down even more clearly based on the facts of your case.

If you’re asking, “What are the steps of a Florida personal injury lawsuit?” We have answers.

“It Depends”

Everyone hates this lawyerly answer.

But we must start with it as a caveat because the steps of your Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuit depend on a few factors. A Broward medical malpractice injury lawsuit is going to be much more involved and have many more steps compared to a Broward car accident lawsuit.

What we can say is that regardless of the type of injury claim you’re filing, it can be settled at any time (as opposed to going to court). In some cases, it’s not even necessary to file a lawsuit to get a fair settlement. Defendants that recognize their wrongdoing right out of the gate may be eager to put it behind them. And insurers also have a duty to act in good faith, meaning there is some incentive to settle solid claims quickly and fairly. Working with a skilled personal injury lawyer is the best way to facilitate a fast and fair Florida personal injury settlement.

Basic Steps of a Florida Injury Lawsuit

While the steps may vary slightly depending on the specifics of your case, claimants in Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuits can generally expect the following:

  • Investigation
  • Pre-suit demand and settlement negotiation
  • Filing the lawsuit
  • Discovery
  • Trial
  • Appeal/post-trial motions

Settlements, which is how 95% of injury claims are resolved, are often ideal because they minimize litigation (lawsuit) costs. Again, a claim can be settled at any point. We could be in the middle of trial, and the claim could be settled.

The key is to ensure the claim is reasonable. Accept a low-ball offer, and you’ll be stuck with it – even if your actual losses end up being much higher. Reject a fair offer, and you could end up reducing your payout if the verdict at trial ends up being within 25% of that offer. A Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer can help you figure out what’s fair and what isn’t. Continue reading

Few occurrences are quite as traumatic as the serious injury or death of a child. Parents navigating the aftermath and exploring avenues of accountability and compensation from those at fault need to understand there are a few ways in which Florida child injury lawsuits differ from other claims.Florida child injury lawsuit

As our Fort Lauderale personal injury lawyers can explain, many underlying legal principles, causes of action and deadlines are the same. But when a victim is a minor, there may be some special considerations and extensions.

Here, we detail three ways that Florida child injury lawsuits may be different than adult personal injury filings.

1. Statute of Limitations for Child Injuries in Florida

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On average, there are more than 380,000 Florida car accidents reported annually. If you’re involved in one of them, preserving the possibility of a Fort Lauderdale personal injury claim means knowing not only what to do in the aftermath, but what NOT to do. Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer

As a longtime Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer, I’ve sadly seen viable damage claims undermined because the person involved made some missteps early on. And it’s understandable – you’re traumatized, maybe disoriented, and possibly overwhelmed.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a crash, particularly one that involves serious injuries. We’ll help walk you through every aspect and fight for you to receive full and fair compensation.

Note that while Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents, that does not mean you’ll only be dealing with your own insurance. If your injuries are serious and the other party was at-fault, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to step outside the no-fault system and file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer.

Top 4 “Don’ts” After a South Florida Car Accident

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As Broward car accident lawyers, we may be able to represent more than one person involved in the same car accident – but only when there is no conflict of interest between them. The problem, however, is that not all conflicts of interest are immediately apparent.

Defining a Conflict of InterestBroward car accident lawyer

As noted in Florida Rules Regulating the Florida Bar 4-1.7, some ethical conflicts of interest for lawyers exist when:

  • The representation of one client would be directly adverse to another.
  • There’s substantial risk that representing one or more client would be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, former client, or third person by a lawyer’s personal interest.

Such conflicts can sometimes be waived if the lawyer believes they can provide competent and diligent representation to all clients, the representation isn’t barred by law, and each affected client gives informed consent.

When Interests May Conflict for Broward Car Accident Victims

When it comes to Broward car accident cases, the most obvious conflict of interest would involve representation of one driver suing another for negligence. That would likely never happen.

Similarly, it’s highly unlikely a Broward car accident lawyer could ethically represent both an injured passenger and the driver being sued for the negligence that caused the passenger’s injuries.

Where the lines become a bit more blurred is when two people in the same crash are suing a third party for negligence that caused both their injuries. For example, it might make sense for two family members injured in the same car accident to hire one lawyer if the other driver was mostly if not entirely at-fault. This is particularly true if you’re a parent of minor children.

However, it’s important to understand that if a driver and passenger suing the same driver for the same act of alleged negligence, a conflict can arise because the money will be paid from the same pot. If the injuries of one person are more severe, fairness would stand to reason that they should get a larger chunk of the money. An attorney representing both clients may find themselves with a conflict of interest because they’re advocating for the maximum payout for each.

Also bear in mind that there are few South Florida car accidents in which one driver is entirely, 100 percent at-fault for the crash. There are often several factors. If you are a passenger in a car with a driver who was just partially at-fault, you may have viable claims against both drivers. In that situation, it would be a conflict of interest for a Broward personal injury lawyer to represent both you and the person who was driving the car you were in.

Florida Bar Ethics Opinion on Car Accident Lawyer Conflicts of Interest

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One of the more unique elements of Florida injury law is the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. It essentially allows the owner of a vehicle to be held legally responsible for damages inflicted by negligent operation of that vehicle, even if it wasn’t the owner who was driving. As a Broward injury lawyer can explain, it’s an important path to compensation when a negligent driver is young, poorly insured, and/or lacking in personal assets. Broward injury lawyer

Recently, the Florida Supreme Court was asked to weigh in on whether a claimant could pursue claims of dangerous instrumentality against two parties – both parents of the driver, one the title holder and the other the “bailee.” The “bailee” is one who gains possession/control of property but does not actually own it. Here, the father of the negligent, 21-year-old driver was the title-holder. The mother was the bailee; she was the primary driver of the car, but both parents frequently permitted their son to drive it as well.

According to court records in Emerson v. Lambert et al., the young man was driving home from dinner when he struck a motorcyclist, who is the plaintiff in this case. The crash was catastrophic, leaving the motorcyclist a quadriplegic.

In the subsequent Florida injury lawsuit, plaintiff named the driver and his parents as defendants, the latter two allegedly vicariously liable under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. Continue reading

Florida’s sun-kissed beaches, resorts, and theme parks are world-renowned – which is why Broward County alone drew 118 million visitors in a single recent year. Tourism is the state’s No. 1 industry, and our restaurants, hotels, and other businesses profit handsomely from it. But with this comes responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect guests from foreseeable risks. Failure to do so, as a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer can explain, can be categorized as negligent security and could be legally actionable if you’re harmed. woman looks out of balcony of Florida hotel negligent security risk

The broad definition of negligent security is a form of premises liability by which an individual who is injured by the criminal action of a third party can hold legally liable the owner or tenant of a property where the injury was inflicted. Typically, such injuries arise out of cases of robbery, rape, assault, or battery.

This is not to say there’s a potential civil claim for every criminal action. The question is whether you had a right to expect some degree of safety where the attack occurred – whether that was at a shopping mall or an office complex or an entertainment venue or a hotel. The people who own and control these properties are expected to have a basic understanding of the possible safety risks posed to their customers, and to take reasonable action to secure the premises and protect these individuals – particularly when (as in the case of the hotel) those individuals are paying customers.

As a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer can tell you, prevailing on a claim of negligent security against a hotel requires proof that the crime could have been prevented – or at least made less likely – if the hotel owner or manager had used appropriate security measures. If the  lapse in security happened due to the mistake of an employee, the hotel owner/employer can still be held liable under a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior, Latin for “let the master answer.”

Examples of Negligent Security at a Florida Hotel

There are many different scenarios in which an injured Florida tourist could sue a hotel for negligent security. Continue reading

One of the first questions people start asking after a serious accident is, “Do I have a personal injury case?”Filing a Broward personal injury lawsuit

Weighing both the viability and value of a potential case is important when considering how to proceed. But you’re going to have a tough time answering that question without first talking to a Florida injury lawyer. Even if you have a basic sense of what negligence is and the fact that you were hurt by someone else’s failure to use care, other details can stop a case before it starts.

For instance, if the other driver is negligent but does not have insurance and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you may not have a personal injury case. If you’re in an accident and the other driver was at-fault but your injuries were not serious and permanent, you may have to rely solely on your own personal injury protection coverage (PIP) because your case doesn’t meet the serious injury threshold for filing a Broward personal injury lawsuit, as outlined in F.S. 627.737.

Large trucks are the lifeblood of our economy in Florida and throughout the U.S., a vital cog in virtually every supply chain wheel in the country. But they can also be incredibly dangerous to other motorists, as well as vulnerable road users such as bicyclists and pedestrians. When crashes with big trucks do occur in South Florida, there are some key differences in the way those cases unfold compared to your typical car accident case. As longtime Broward truck accident lawyers, we’re committed to holding truckers and trucking companies accountable when negligence results in irreversible consequences to others on the road. Broward truck accident lawyer

Florida Truck Accident Statistics

Every day, operators of large trucks traversing our nation’s roads are the cause of serious crashes resulting in extensive property damage, serious injury, and tragic deaths. The term “large trucks” refers to medium or heavy trucks (excluding buses and motor homes) with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000+ pounds. This can include both commercial and non-commercial vehicles.

According to the National Safety Council, there were 5,700 large trucks involved in large crashes in 2021 – which represented an 18 percent increase from 2020 and a nearly 50 percent increase over the last decade. Part of the explanation for this rise is the fact that there are more large trucks on the road. But even so, the involvement rate per 100 million large truck miles has also increased – up 7 percent from 2020 and 22 percent over the last 10 years.

Big trucks are involved in 9 percent of all fatal crashes.

Specifically in Broward County, there were a total of 4,111 commercial vehicle crashes in 2021. These resulted in 820 injuries and 12 deaths. That’s just a snapshot of a single Florida county, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Statewide, according to the NHTSA, large trucks were involved in more than 350 traffic deaths in a single recent year.

Differences in Broward Truck Accident vs. Car Accident Claims

If you’re injured in a Broward truck accident, you may have grounds for filing a civil claim for financial compensation – same as you would if you were involved in a car accident. You’ll still need to prove negligence (and strongly dispute any allegations of contributory negligence), as well as the extent of your injuries to establish your right to collect damages. But there are a number of ways in which truck crash cases differ from your typical car accident claim.

Among them: Continue reading

If you’ve recently been in a Fort Lauderdale car accident, you may be wondering whether this ordeal will eventually wind up in a courtroom trial.Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer

While every case is different, the most probable answer is: No.

That’s not to say it’s impossible. But the truth is, most Fort Lauderdale car accident cases never even become lawsuits – let alone make it all the way to trial.

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