Tag Archive for: auto accident lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale FL

Ft. Lauderdale Florida car crash injury claim attorney

What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident in the State of Florida – Part Two of Two

This article is the second in a two-part series about what drivers should know if they are in a car accident in the state of Florida. With almost 250,000 car crashes reported every year, per the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, it is best to be prepared for the possibility that one of those car crashes will happen to you or someone you love. In the first part of the article, we discussed the laws of Florida and what is required of drivers in case of an accident. In this second part, we discuss steps you can take to preserve evidence in case you have a personal injury claim, as well as to protect yourself from a suit from the other driver.

Write Down Exactly What Happened

As soon after the accident as possible, take a few minutes to write down what happened. You may even wish to use the voice feature on your phone to document the events that occurred – even as you are waiting for law enforcement to arrive. Be as detailed as possible. More detail is always better than less.

Take Pictures of the Scene

Ideally, you will be able to take pictures before either car is moved. Take pictures from all angles, documenting not only the vehicles’ positions, but also such things as skid marks (or lack of skid marks) on the pavement, broken glass, and damaged property near the scene. Include pictures of street signs. Make sure that at least some of your pictures clearly establish where the vehicles are in relation to each side of the street. An accident scene that only documents close-ups of the vehicle fails to clearly establish the crash scene.

Determine if There Were Any Witnesses

Obvious witnesses, of course, will include your passengers and the passengers and driver of the other vehicle. Less obvious witnesses could be that person peeking out their window at the crash scene, or the business owner who is offering to help. Look around to determine if you can identify any other witnesses.

Gather Witness Contact Information

If you identify any witnesses, take a moment to gather their contact information. This should include their name, address, phone number, and email address. This may be another time to use the voice recording feature on your phone. Be sure to confirm that the information is correct. Finally, make every effort to back up this information on another device in another forum as soon as possible.

Look for Security Cameras

Take a moment to review your surroundings to determine if you can identify any security cameras that might have recorded some or all of the accident or the events leading up to the accident. Recall that while you may have been approaching the accident scene from one angle, it is likely the other driver was approaching from another direction, so take a moment to review the other driver’s path as well.

Document the Damage to Your Vehicle

Note that documenting the damage to your vehicle is a step separate from documenting the accident scene. Make sure your documentation includes every side of your vehicle. You also should document the condition of the inside of your vehicle.

Document the Damage to the Other Vehicle

Similarly, you should document any damage (or lack thereof) that the other vehicle or vehicles may have sustained. Your goal is to be as thorough as possible without appearing rude. This is for the protection of both of you. Note: Most people will understand the importance of completely documenting the scene. However, your safety is important. Do not get into a confrontation with the other driver. If need be, ask law enforcement to assist you with documenting the damage to the other people.

Document Any Other Damage that May Have Been the Result of the Crash

Take a moment to survey the greater scene. Has a guardrail been damaged? Is a light post knocked over? Anything that appears even remotely out of place, that could have occurred as a part of the car crash, take the time to document it. Again, it is not enough to take a close-up picture of a dented guard rail. You should take the close-up, then take a distance shot, which clearly establishes not only the damage to the guard rail, but the background so there is no confusion as to which guardrail was damaged.

See a Doctor About Your Injuries

Obviously, if your injuries are serious enough to require a hospital visit, documenting the accident needs to be left to someone else. Go to the hospital immediately. If you are unsure whether or not you need to go to the hospital, and law enforcement is encouraging you to go, then by all means go! Law enforcement officers have been trained to handle all sorts of accidents, and are able to recognize shock. Trust them. If they say you should go to the hospital, please listen.

If you are not in need of emergency care, it is still a good idea to see a doctor about your injuries or potential injuries as soon as practicable.

Start a “Crash Diary”

We have previously discussed the importance of keeping a personal injury journal in our blog. A crash diary is a precursor to the personal injury journal. In many cases, the nature and extent of your injuries are not clear in the first few days. This is why it is critical that, from day one, you document the crash, and any injuries or expenses associated with the crash. Hopefully, after a week, you will confirm that you are indeed injury free and there is no need to continue maintaining your crash diary. However, if you are injured, your crash diary may be critical.

If You Have Been Injured in a Car Crash

If you have been injured in a car crash or if you have lost a loved one in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, your lost wages, property damage, and funeral expenses. Please contact the personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. We are well versed in personal injury law. We would be happy to discuss your case at no cost to you.

Ft. Lauderdale Florida car crash injury claim attorney

What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident in the State of Florida – Part One of a Two Part Series

According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, there are over 16 million drivers on the road in the state of Florida alone. As a result of these drivers, Florida has almost 250,000 vehicle crashes each year. The most common reason for car crashes in the state of Florida is careless driving. This could mean texting while driving, being distracted by other passengers, being distracted by something outside of the vehicle, such as another accident, and any number of other possible situations wherein the driver’s attention is not fully on the task at hand.

If you are in a car crash, there are certain things you need to know about the laws of Florida and your obligations to anyone with injuries; your obligations to other drivers on the road; and your obligations to owners of other vehicles, including unattended vehicles. You should also know what steps you should take to protect yourself in case of injury, and against potentially frivolous lawsuits. Particularly if you or someone else has been injured, taking the following steps can be critical both for compliance with Florida law and in anticipation of a potential lawsuit for property damages and personal injuries.

Do Not Leave the Scene of a Car Crash

If you are a driver of a vehicle that has been in a car crash that involves injuries, do not leave the scene without providing the other party with information, including your name, contact information, and insurance information. Failure to do so could result in you losing your privileges to drive in the state. Of course, if you are being removed by ambulance, this could provide for a legally defensible exception to this rule.

Do Not Block Traffic

While it is essential that you not leave the scene of a car crash entirely, you should move your vehicle to the side of the road, rather than leave it in the intersection or wherever else the car may have ended up after the crash. Of course, there may be times when your car is no longer operable. In this case, you should call a tow truck to remove the vehicle. The caveat to the “do not block traffic” rule is this: Before you move your vehicle, take a few minutes to document where your car ended up after the accident. If you have a cell phone, take pictures of the car in its final resting place from all angles. If you find yourself without a working cell phone, grab a pen and paper and sketch out the accident scene
to the best of your ability.

If You Crash into an Unattended Vehicle

If you crash into an unattended vehicle, (or if a vehicle that is unattended crashes into your vehicle, due to a failure of the operator to put it in park or other vehicle failure) you must inform the owner of the incident and your identity. Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles advises you to provide your name, your address, your license plate number. Florida’s DMV also requires that you report the accident to the local police, the local sheriff, or the Florida Highway Patrol regardless of the amount of damages or injury.

Report the Crash to the Proper Authorities

In any car crash that involves property damage over $500 or involves injuries to any party, the crash must be reported. You can call the local police department, the sheriff’s department, or the Florida Highway Patrol. It is possible that you may be involved in a car crash that involves property damage where you are unsure if the damage will amount to $500 or more. In that situation, it is best to report the accident, in an abundance of caution. Additionally, not all injuries present themselves immediately. Reporting the crash will result in an investigation by law enforcement, who will likely write a report. This could be critical later. A failure to report the accident can’t be undone. In other words, you may file a report and discover you don’t need it. However, this is far preferable to failing to file a report and discovering later that you would, in fact, have benefited from having filed such a report.

Critical Next Steps

Once you have assured yourself that you have complied with all laws governing car crashes, take a moment to assess the situation with an eye towards future potential litigation. Remember, regardless of whether you believe you or the other person was at fault, the other driver may not agree with you. It is important to protect yourself both so that you may collect damages if you are entitled to them, but also to protect yourself from someone wrongfully obtaining damages from you that they are not entitled to. This can be done by taking the following steps:

Write down exactly what happened;
Take pictures of the scene;
Determine if there were any witnesses;
Gather witness contact information;
Determine if there might have been security cameras in the area that may have documented all or part of the accident;
Document the damage to your vehicle;
Document the damage to the other vehicle;
Document any other damage that may have been the result of the crash;
See a doctor about your injuries; and
Start a “crash diary.”

These critical next steps will be discussed in greater detail in Part Two of our series, “ What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident in the State of Florida.”

If You Have Been Injured in a Car Crash

If you have been injured in a car crash, or if you have lost a loved one in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, as well as lost property and lost income. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. Our attorneys are happy to review the facts and circumstances of your case at no cost to you to determine whether you may have a claim. Because Florida has a strict statute of limitations, do not delay. Contact us today.

Auto Accidents Fort Lauderdale, FL

Know Your Rights as a Florida Bicyclist Injured in an Accident

According to statistics gathered by Helmets.org, 818 bicyclists died on U.S. roads in 2015, an increase of 12.2 per cent and the highest number since 1995. The data for 2014 gives a more complete picture of the incidence of bike-related accidents:

Bicyclists killed in 2014: 726
Total injured: 6,000
Average age of a bicyclist killed on U.S. roads: 45
Males killed: 87 percent
Males injured: 83 percent
24 percent of the cyclists killed had been drinking
71 percent of fatal crashes were urban
About half of the fatalities occurred during daylight hours

These statistic indicate that bike accident fatalities and injuries are on the rise. As more bicyclists are favoring two wheels over four for reasons of convenience or conservation, the design and construction of our streets and roadways lag behind in safety features to protect bicyclists from automobile and truck drivers.

Bike Drivers Treated Same as Car Drivers

Florida bicycle law is pretty comprehensive and includes provisions regulating the conduct of cyclists. The law treats a bicycle driver the same as any other vehicle driver and makes clear that a bicycle driver in Florida has many responsibilities to uphold. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and like other drivers must obey the same traffic laws, such as stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.

In addition, bicyclists must adhere to laws requiring they wear a helmet while driving a bike and use lights when driving at night among several other legal mandates.

Wearing of Helmets

A bicycle rider or passenger under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that:

Is properly fitted
Is fastened securely
Meets federal safety standard for bicycle helmets

Use of Lights at Night

A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with:

A white light lamp on the front whose beam is visible from 500 feet to the front
A red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear

The lamps are permitted to flash though. Additional lighting is permitted.

Acceptable Number of Drivers on a Bike at One Time

A bicycle may not be used to carry more than one person at one time unless it is designed or equipped for more than one rider.

Carrying a Child on a Bike

An adult bicyclist may carry a child in a sling, child seat or trailer designed to carry children.

Driving a Bike on Sidewalks

A bicyclist riding on a sidewalk or crosswalk has the rights and duties of a pedestrian
and may ride in either direction. At an intersection with a traffic signal, a cyclist on a
sidewalk must obey the instructions of any pedestrian control signal. Also, a bicyclist driving on the sidewalk must:

Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give audible warning before passing
Not propel a bike by any power other than human power

Headsets, Earphones

A cyclist may not wear a headset, headphone, or listening device, other than a hearing aid, while driving a bike.

Driving Under the Influence

It is unlawful to drive a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Bicyclists, do not, however, have to submit to a breath test. Consent to such a test is given only by a person with a driver license who is operating a motor vehicle.

Protect Your Rights After an Accident

Because operating a bicycle is considered the same as driving a motor vehicle, accidents involving bicyclists and cars or trucks or other cyclists are treated the same as other accidents involving cars or trucks. Florida law states that every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or a bicyclist. Vehicle drivers are expected to drive in a careful manner and pay attention to the width of the road and its corners, the traffic volume, and other factors to avoid injury to persons or property.

Report the Accident

Report the crash, even if you don’t have obvious injuries or believe you are not seriously hurt. Your bike may have been damaged and the extent of the damage may not be known until you’ve taken it to a repair shop. Report the accident whether it involves a car, truck, animal, another bike, or a pothole. In accidents with a motor vehicle where there are injuries or property damage that exceeds $500, Florida law requires that you report the crash.

If the investigating police officer doesn’t take information from the other party, make sure you get the person’s name, address, telephone number, and insurance company. If the accident involved a dog, learn who owns the dog and get the owner’s homeowners’ insurance information.

The Accident Report

After a bike accident, your crash report will include important details, such as road conditions, weather, any eyewitnesses, and maybe a drawing of the accident site. All this information will be critical to any case you may bring against another driver or an insurance company. Give the report to your attorney.

Take Pictures of Your Injuries

Take photo of your bruises, sores, road rash and scabs. Try writing down how your injuries limit your activities, and the aches and pains you experience.

Photograph the Scene of the Accident

Take photographs or videotape of the site of the accident. Note road and weather conditions. The conditions of the road when you had your crash may change over time as roads are resurfaced. If there are marks or debris left by the accident, photograph them.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision or other accident with a car, truck, dog, street obstruction or impairment, or another bicyclist, call us today for a free consultation with the determined personal injury attorneys in Ft. Lauderdale at Madalon Law. The attorneys at Madalon Law are experienced in bike accident law and will fight for your rights. We are based in Fort Lauderdale and serve clients throughout Florida. Let Madalon Law fight for you.

Ft. Lauderdale Florida personal injury claim lawyer

What Every Driver and Pedestrian in the State of Florida Needs to Know: Pedestrian Injuries and Car Accidents in the State of Florida

Florida Statute Chapter 316, State Uniform Traffic Control, sets the rights and responsibilities of drivers and pedestrians in the State of Florida. Whether you drive or walk, or do both, on a regular basis, here is an overview of your rights and responsibilities:

Legal Definition of “Driver” and “Pedestrian” in the State of Florida

Florida defines “driver” in Chapter 316, Section 003, as, “Any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or who is exercising control of a vehicle or steering a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle.” That same chapter and section defines “pedestrian” as, “Any person afoot.”

Rights and Responsibilities of a Driver in an Accident

Any driver involved in an accident involving property damage or serious injury must stop immediately and remain at the scene. The driver is also required to render aid, where appropriate, and exchange information with the other party. Required information includes the driver’s name, address and the registration number of the driver’s vehicle. The driver must show the other parties involved, and police officers, his or her driver’s license upon request. A driver involved in an accident needs to avoid blocking traffic, moving his or her car if necessary. In cases involving personal injury or death, the driver needs to contact the police as soon as possible and report the accident.

Traffic Control Devices – Drivers and Pedestrians

Drivers must comply with any traffic control device such as a stoplight or a stop sign. A driver may proceed through the intersection when the stoplight turns green. However, drivers must yield to other vehicles and pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or crosswalk, including vehicles turning left or right. Unless signs indicate otherwise or it is accompanied by a green arrow, when the light turns green pedestrians may proceed using a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

Drivers at a red light may turn right, unless there is a sign prohibiting such a turn. Drivers should always check for a “No Turn on Red” sign. Some “No Turn on Red Signs” always apply; some are limited based on the time of day. Remember, drivers must yield the right of way to any pedestrians in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Pedestrians at a red light are not supposed to enter the roadway unless a pedestrian light indicates they may. A flashing red signal is a stop signal and should be treated like a stop sign. A flashing yellow signal indicates that drivers may proceed through the intersection with caution. Drivers must also yield the right of way to pedestrian highway workers.

Rights and Responsibilities of Pedestrians.

If a roadway has a sidewalk, the law requires pedestrians to use it. Pedestrians are not allowed to walk on the roadway when a sidewalk is available. When there is no sidewalk available and a pedestrian is walking on the roadway, the pedestrian is required to walk on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway. Where there is no traffic control device, such as a stop sign or a traffic light, a driver is required to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Common sense and the law requires that pedestrians must not make sudden moves off of the curb, even into a crosswalk, when a driver will not have time to come to a safe stop. Pedestrians crossing a roadway outside a marked or unmarked crosswalk must yield to drivers on the roadway. No pedestrian can legally cross an intersection diagonally unless authorized by traffic control devices.

Additional General Rights and Responsibilities of a Driver.

Drivers must not drive at a speed unsafe for the conditions, including, but not limited to time of day, angle of the sun, weather, condition of the road, any curves in the road, approaching a railway crossing, etc. Drivers must also abide by speed limits set by official signage. In the state of Florida, drivers have an additional duty of care to watch out for children near schools, playgrounds and other areas where children tend to congregate.

Accidents Between Pedestrians and Cars – Who is Responsible and Who Pays?

This article has laid out some of the basic rules of the road for drivers and pedestrians. The simple answer to “who pays?” is: “Who broke the rules?” In the state of Florida, pedestrians and drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care. If that standard is broken and an accident occurs, a determination of fault must be made. Fault in Florida is not absolute; a percentage of fault will be broken down. What percentage of the fault can be attributed the driver and what percentage of the fault can be attributed to the pedestrian will be determined. It should be noted, if a driver sees a pedestrian “breaking the rules,” that is not permission to get in an accident. A driver must still exercise reasonable care and attempt to avoid an accident. If a pedestrian is being reckless and gets injured in an accident, it may be much harder for him or her to collect damages in a personal injury case in Florida.

What Do I Do Now?

If you have been involved as an injured pedestrian or injured driver in an accident, you will need a determined Florida auto accident injury claim attorney. Car and pedestrian accidents seem simple at first, but the way fault is determined in Florida actually makes these cases quite complicated. The right attorney will work hard to get you the damages you deserve. Don’t settle for less than the best representation. Every claim must be evaluated on a case by case basis. If you were injured in Florida, please contact the offices of Madalon Law. With offices throughout the state, we are sure to have a location near you. If you are unable to travel to one of our offices for whatever reason, we will come to you. We will not charge you to discuss your case. If you choose us to represent you, there will be no charge unless we win your case. We are excited to hear from you soon and want to get to work for you.

Slip & Fall Attorney

Slip, Trip and Fall – Do You Have a Case?


Slip & Fall Attorney

Slip & Fall Attorney

The general perception that slip & fall accidents are really due to the negligence of the “victim” are wrong. When people hear “Slip & Fall”, they tend to picture someone who may have fallen due to their own carelessness and is now trying to seek a quick payday. The property and/or business owners (the party that would be held responsible) are counting on this misguided public perception to discourage someone from looking deeper at why they just fell and injured themselves. Slip, trip and falls are due to more than just liquid spills and banana peels. Even though a slippery surface is dangerous and can cause serious injury, it is only negligence on the property owner’s part if there was reasonable time to pick up the spill and nothing was done about it. Another very common, but much more subtle cause of a slip and fall is design flaws on the property. There are building codes in place to provide a safe walking area for people on a property. Even though property owners are aware of this, many of them choose not to make the required renovations or changes in order to meet safety standards. This laziness on their part not only puts people at risk, but is also a building code violation and shows negligence on their part. Some of the more common building violations include Handrails that don’t meet requirements, Interior and exterior surfaces that are not leveled (creating a tripping hazard), an obstruction within the entrance-way, an uneven ramp or stairways with no landing (the flat surface at the top of the stairs that someone stands on). There is a reason why you tripped and fell. When climbing up or down stairs, it seems like we can mentally go into autopilot. We know the steps are there and once we’ve determined the movement needed for the next steps, we just go. This is one of the reasons there are very strict construction and design guidelines that must be met when building stairs. There has to be a consistency with the depth of the steps and each rise of the next step. This “flow” in design is called Dimensional Uniformity. An inconsistency in the flow of the design is not just a code violation, but a tripping hazard for anyone that may not notice one step is a little shorter or higher than the others. Keep in mind that these guidelines are enforced because those one or two inches do make a difference and have been proven to be enough to make someone lose their balance. Why you need legal representation. There are generally two defenses that property owners will take in a slip and fall claim. The first is to show they were not negligent. If the fall was due to a slippery surface then they will claim that it happened moments ago and they did not have time to clean it up. The second will be to show that the person who was injured was actually at fault due to their own carelessness. Read more