Tag Archive for: Ft. Lauderdale FL car wreck attorney

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.

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.