Protecting Your Rights After a Ft. Lauderdale Car Accident
If you are involved in a serious car accident in Ft. Lauderdale where you or a passenger may have suffered injury, there are a number of steps you should take immediately to ensure you don’t forfeit your rights under the law. Florida is one of the few states in the country that has no fault insurance, an idea that sounds fair on paper but doesn’t work all that well in practice particularly if there is a personal injury involved.
In theory, with no fault insurance you don’t seek damages from the liable party, rather your own insurance pays for your property loss and medical expenses. The problem with the medical expenses (Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage) is that it is limited to actual medical expense and lost wages. There is no provision for ongoing expenses or pain and suffering. Also, the max paid is normally $10,000 which of course can be used up in a very short period of time.
There is a provision to file a personal injury case if the car accident results in permanent disability, disfigurement or death. However, a recent change in Florida law makes it even more difficult to pursue a personal injury case or even collect under your PIP coverage. Today you have to seek medical treatment within 14 days of the car accident if you want payment from your PIP coverage or file a personal injury claim.
If you are involved in a Ft. Lauderdale car accident time is of the essence!
Actions You Need to Take When You are in a Ft. Lauderdale Car Accident
If you are involved in an auto accident, what you do and don’t do can have an effect on your ability to collect on PIP or file a personal injury lawsuit. We recommend:
- If you or anyone is injured in the accident immediately call 911 for medical assistance.
- Even though this is a no fault state, do not admit liability to anyone.
- Don’t rely on the police report to be complete and/or entirely accurate. The police are overburdened as it is and they want to get the roadway clear as quickly as possible.
- Use your cell phone to take pictures or video of the cars involved and the other drivers/passengers.
- Get contact info from witnesses. An easy way to do this is to share your mobile number with them and ask them to call you right then and there. This will give you their number and you can call them later.
- Even if you believe you or your passenger(s) are not seriously hurt, seek medical attention. Concussions may not be readily obvious and even more important, traumatic brain injury (TBI) may not show up for a week or longer. Get medical attention so you don’t miss out on the 14-day deadline.
- If you are hurt consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for an opinion and guidance on what steps are available to you.
Accidents are always an inconvenience but if there is an injury they can be a serious life event. Get help from a qualified Fort Lauderdale law firm like Martin, Lister & Alvarez that has a record of successful verdicts and settlements for their personal injury clients.