South Florida Car Accident Lawyers
Attorneys Dedicated to Protecting Rights of Clients Injured in Car Accidents and Fatal Car Accidents in Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Across South Florida
Driving a car is so much a part of our everyday lives that we often forget how dangerous this basic aspect of life can be. Unfortunately, a car accident can provide a sharp reminder of the fact that we are never fully in control while driving here on the South Florida roadways. The negligent or reckless actions of a third-party driver can change your life in an instant, and, in many cases, insurance can never fully compensate you for your losses. Even if the accident did not result in a fatality, your routine is likely to be disrupted—the costs of injuries can be substantial and long-lasting, and coordinating with law enforcement officers and insurance companies to recover compensation for injuries or even for vehicle damage is often challenging.
At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., we understand that you are likely overwhelmed following a car accident that caused an injury or the death of a loved one. We know that, after the accident, you may suddenly face substantial medical bills, damage to the vehicle that you use to get to work, and even funeral expenses if you lost a family member in the accident. Many of our clients are without health insurance, which can turn an emotionally challenging time into a future financial crisis. Our South Florida car accident attorneys are here to help you cope both emotionally and financially. We have 35 years of combined experience both working with insurance companies and fighting for our clients’ rights to recover compensation after a car accident. We can also help ensure that you follow the specific insurance laws that apply in Florida in order to preserve your right to receive compensation from your insurance company under Florida’s no-fault statute.
Contact our offices today if you have sustained injuries in a car accident in Palm Beach County or Broward County, FL, and let us take on the burden of pursuing your right to receive compensation from the insurance company, as well as from the person whose negligent or reckless behavior caused the car accident.
Types of South Florida Car Accident Cases We Handle
The legal team at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. has experience representing clients who have been injured in car accidents throughout South Florida. We handle all types of car accident claims, including:
- Fatal car accidents
- Taxi accidents
- Uber and Lyft accidents
- Distracted driver accidents, including accidents caused by texting
- Drunk driving accidents
- Fatigued driving accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Whiplash injuries, and other head & neck injuries
- Uninsured & underinsured motorist accidents
- Vehicle rollover accidents
- Car accidents in construction zones
- Tire blowout accidents
Our experienced car accident lawyers can also answer any questions you might have about your car accident. We will help determine:
Initial Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Our significant experience dealing with the insurance companies has given us insight into how these companies operate following a car accident. First and foremost, the most important initial action step to take after a car accident is to seek medical attention. This is for the injured party’s own personal benefit, from a health perspective, as well as to preserve the right to recover compensatory damages for injuries sustained in the accident. Serious injuries will be obvious, but even if it seems that everyone has escaped the crash unharmed, many injuries only become apparent to the untrained eye days after the accident. Under Florida’s no-fault law, a person who is injured in a car accident is required to seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident in order to preserve his or her right to recover under a personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy.
In addition to receiving medical attention and helping any parties who were injured in the car accident, after a car accident, you should also do the following:
- Contact the police to notify them of the accident.
- Obtain the insurance information and contact information of others involved in the car accident.
- Obtain the contact information of any witnesses to the car accident.
- Take photos of the accident scene.
- Contact an attorney.
Do not provide statements to an insurance adjuster or sign any documents provided by the insurance company or other parties to the accident without first contacting a lawyer.
Additionally, remember that you can always take steps to obtain relevant information and file a police report at a later date if your injuries are extensive, or if you are concerned about the extensive injuries suffered by a loved one who was in the vehicle. If the negligent or reckless driver was uninsured when the accident occurred, our attorneys can explain alternative routes to recovering compensation after you have exhausted your own PIP coverage.
Identifying the Cause of an Accident Is Step One to Recovering Compensation in a Car Accident Claim
In order to recover monetary compensation for damages sustained in a car accident, it is first necessary to identify the responsible party–which means determining the exact cause of the accident. In some cases, a single party’s negligent driving or reckless driving may have caused the accident. In cases involving multiple vehicles, our attorneys will evaluate the comparative negligence of all parties involved in order to determine each party’s relative degree of fault. (In some cases, a judge may make this determination.)
Our attorneys will investigate the scene of the car accident and identify witnesses to determine how the accident was caused. We have handled hundreds of different cases where personal injury or wrongful death was caused by a car accident, and we have experience determining whether the accident was caused by:
- A drunk or impaired driver.
- The unsafe driving of another driver.
- Failure to check blind spots.
- Blown tires or other manufacturing defects in the car.
- Distracted driving, whether because the driver was texting or using a cell phone.
- Road hazards.
- Inclement weather.
Our South Florida injury attorneys understand that you might have unpaid medical bills following the car accident, and you may even have lost your job after the accident if your injuries were serious. We advocate for our clients’ right to recover compensation from the responsible party in every car accident case, regardless of how severe your injuries were.
Attorneys Gonzalez & Cartwright Can Evaluate Your Case for Free & Clearly Explain Your Options
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you have options for recovering compensation. In addition to recovering compensation that your own insurance company owes to you under Florida’s no-fault law, our attorneys can explore options with respect to filing an insurance claim with the responsible party’s insurance company, or a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit against the individual who was responsible for causing the accident. A lawsuit may become especially necessary if the responsible party was driving while uninsured or underinsured.
If the negligent or reckless actions of a third party caused your car accident, our attorneys can help you recover monetary compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including anticipated future medical expenses.
- Lost wages during your recovery time.
- Future lost earnings capacity, depending upon the severity of the injury.
- Rehabilitative costs, including costs for physical therapy and counseling.
- Pain and suffering.
- In the case of a wrongful death action, loss of support or companionship, in addition to funeral expenses.
We know that many of our clients may feel uncomfortable dealing with law enforcement or the courts, and we are often able to reach a settlement agreement for fair compensation well before trial. We want our potential clients to understand that our office is a safe environment, regardless of your immigration or legal status, and we will always take your comfort level into account when determining how best to proceed with your case. If trial does become necessary, we will be there to offer our support and guidance throughout the process, and we will fight tirelessly to protect your rights.
Injuries Commonly Sustained in Car Accidents Vary Based on the Type of Accident
The type and amount of compensation that may be available following a car accident will vary, depending upon the severity of your injuries. In most cases, more severe types of car accidents will generate larger compensation packages. Our attorneys are skilled in handling claims involving all types of car accidents, including:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end accidents
- Vehicle rollover accidents
- T-bone accidents
- Tailgating accidents
- Side-swipe accidents
- Accidents caused by defective airbags
Regardless of how severe your injuries were, we cannot overemphasize how important it is to seek medical attention as soon as possible following a car accident in order to preserve your right to a claim against your PIP insurance coverage. A physician’s recommendations can be especially important in car accident cases that result in serious personal injury because these injuries will likely require extensive future medical care, the costs of which should be included in any comprehensive compensation award. If you have sustained the following types of injuries, our attorneys can help evaluate your physician’s recommendations to determine a fair estimate of future medical and rehabilitation expenses:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limbs or amputation
- Head injuries
- Whiplash injuries
- Other catastrophic injuries
Navigating the Florida Auto Insurance System Can Present Additional Complications
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that each party looks to his or her own insurance carrier first for compensation following a car accident. Despite this, additional complications can arise, depending upon the type of motor vehicle accident involved. For example, our attorneys have experience handling insurance claims relating to:
- Uber or Lyft accidents: Uber and Lyft drivers are subject to a different set of insurance laws, and they must carry coverage that exceeds the generally applicable $10,000 PIP coverage for individual drivers. Coverage requirements vary based upon whether there was a passenger in the car at the time the accident occurred.
- Taxi accidents: Taxi drivers are also subject to different insurance requirements under Florida law, and they are specifically excluded from the no-fault rule. Taxi drivers must carry at least $50,000 in property damage coverage, $125,000 in bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage per person, and $250,000 in BIL coverage per accident.
- Accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers: If the negligent driver was not sufficiently insured, it may be necessary to pursue a claim under an uninsured motorist insurance policy, or resort to a lawsuit to obtain full compensation.
Contact an Aggressive and Trustworthy Attorney to Discuss Getting Compensation For Your Case Today
At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., we take pride in providing exceptional legal representation to the residents of South Florida who have been injured in car accidents, and we will work tirelessly to maximize the amount of compensation to which you are entitled in your car accident case. While we have been nationally recognized by prestigious organizations such as Super Lawyers, Top Latino Lawyers, and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, we are most proud of the recognition that we have received from satisfied clients whose financial security we have helped to preserve.
If you have been injured and need help following a car accident or fatal car accident call or contact our offices today for a free consultation. Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. has been serving the local community in South Florida both inside and outside the courtroom for over 10 years. We offer a fully bilingual office environment—all of our attorneys speak fluent Spanish and English to more effectively help our clients navigate the legal system. We are available to visit you in the hospital or at your home, if you prefer.
Frequently Asked Questions About South Florida Car Accidents
Top-Rated Florida Accident Lawyers Represent Clients Injured in Car Accidents in West Palm Beach
Car accidents can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had to make a car insurance claim before. Our lawyers are here to help you navigate the process to make sure you get the compensation you need if you’ve been injured.
FAQ: What types of compensation can I recover after a serious injury in a car accident, or after the death of a loved one in a fatal car accident?
Current and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, rehabilitation costs, and damages for pain and suffering may be available in all car accident cases. The level of compensation will depend upon the severity of the injuries involved. In a wrongful death case, you may also recover damages for loss of support, loss of consortium or companionship, funeral expenses, and emotional suffering. Depending upon the actions that caused the car accident, punitive damages may be available to punish the individual or individuals responsible.
FAQ: What is Florida’s no-fault rule? Doesn’t the no-fault law preclude my right to recover compensation from the at-fault party in my car accident case?
The Florida no-fault statute essentially provides that, in the case of a car accident, each party seeks compensation from his or her own insurance company, regardless of who caused the accident. However, if compensation from your own insurance company is inadequate, we can negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to obtain additional compensation. Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits can also be brought against the at-fault party or, in some cases, even against the company that manufactured the vehicle if a defect caused the accident.
FAQ: Where in South Florida do you handle car accident cases?
We handle cases throughout all of South Florida including but not limited to:
- Palm Beach County
- Broward County
- Pompano Beach Car Accident Lawyer
- Lake Worth Car Accident Lawyer
- Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer
- Boynton Beach Car Accident Lawyer
- West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer
- Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyer
- Delray Beach Car Accident Lawyer
- Wellington Car Accident Lawyer
- Miramar Car Accident Lawyer
- Coral Springs Car Accident Lawyer
- Sunrise Car Accident Lawyer
- Plantation Car Accident Lawyer
- Jupiter Car Accident Lawyer
- Hollywood Car Accident Lawyer
- Pembroke Pines Car Accident Lawyer
FAQ: How much is an average car accident settlement?
All Florida drivers must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, but it’s important to remember that every car accident settlement is different. The average car accident settlement should account for (1) medical expenses, (2) lost wages and (3) property damage. For especially severe injury cases, compensation for loss of your future ability to earn a living, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life may be available.
FAQ: How do you know who is at fault in a car accident?
The police often make an initial determination of who was at fault for a car accident based on the evidence at the scene. This finding is not always conclusive, but it can provide valuable evidence about who was at fault. Additional evidence can be found in witness statements, damage reports and any photographic or video evidence of the accident scene.
FAQ: Can you get compensation if the accident was your fault?
Yes, in some cases. Under Florida’s pure comparative negligence standard, your compensation award may be reduced by the amount of fault assigned to you.
FAQ: What happens in a no-fault accident?
Florida is a no-fault state. This basically means that, after a car accident, you first make a claim with your own insurance company to cover any damages. When someone else caused the accident, you might be able to make a claim against their insurance company or sue them personally if your injuries were serious or permanent.
FAQ: What if I don’t know who caused my accident?
Our car accident lawyers are experienced in handling these types of complex cases and will investigate to determine who caused the accident. We can locate evidence, including video surveillance footage and cell phone records, to learn what happened to cause the car accident. Where hard evidence isn’t available, we can work with forensic experts to reconstruct the accident scene.
FAQ: Can you go to jail for causing a car accident?
In some cases, yes. It depends upon the circumstances of the car accident. If one driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and caused the accident, jail time is much more likely.
FAQ: What should you not say to your insurance company after an accident?
You should say as little as possible to the insurance company after a car accident. Even if you don’t realize it, you might inadvertently admit something that could damage your claim. Even your own insurance company wants to settle with you for as little as possible. For example, if you were injured in the accident and mention a pre-existing condition, such as back problems, the insurance company can use that to minimize their own payment obligations.
FAQ: Should I hire a lawyer for a minor car accident?
Even minor car accident claims can become complicated. If you were injured, it’s worth scheduling a free consultation with a car accident lawyer who can evaluate your claim.
FAQ: Who pays the medical bills in a car accident?
In Florida, drivers must carry no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This means that your own insurance company will pay your medical bills up to your policy maximum. Your health insurance may also pay for your medical bills. In cases where that insurance is insufficient, we can pursue a claim against another driver in some cases.
FAQ: Can someone sue you personally after a car accident?
Only if you were at fault and the accident resulted in serious injuries. To be considered “serious”, the injuries must (1) be permanent, (2) involve significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement or (3) result in significant and permanent loss of a bodily function. Death also qualifies as a serious injury. These categories are subject to interpretation and our lawyers can help evaluate whether the injury will qualify under Florida law.
FAQ: What happens if a friend crashes my car?
Most car insurance policies cover other drivers who you have given permission to use your car. If your friend caused the accident, you will file a claim with your insurance company in the same way as if you had been driving. If the damage exceeds the policy limits and your friend has car insurance, that policy would kick in to cover additional damages. If someone else caused the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy may apply.
FAQ: What is the difference between bodily injury and medical expenses?
Bodily injury refers to injuries that someone else sustains when you cause an accident. Bodily injury liability protection can shield an at-fault driver from paying medical expenses of the accident victims when those expenses exceed the $10,000 minimum coverage requirements mandated under Florida law. Medical expense payments coverage generally refers to compensation for injuries caused to any injured parties in your vehicle at the time of the accident.
FAQ: My car is wrecked, should I take pictures?
Yes. Use your smartphone to take pictures and videos of the car to document the damage. If possible, it’s also valuable to take pictures and videos of the accident scene immediately after the accident (or have someone else take them if you’ve been injured).
FAQ: What should I avoid doing after an accident?
After a car accident, you should avoid making formal statements to the insurance company. You should also wait to talk to a lawyer before signing any documents. Stop posting on all social media—whether about the accident or not—until your claim has been resolved. Insurance companies and defense lawyers can use your social media posts as evidence that you really deserve less compensation because your injuries are not severe.
FAQ: What is an independent medical examination?
An independent medical examination (IME) is a medical exam that your own insurance company will order. Usually, IMEs are ordered before you file a lawsuit based on your car accident claim. Your insurance company can order an IME if your physical or mental health are in question—in other words, if you’re claiming medical benefits based on the accident. Your insurance company picks the doctor who will examine you. The purpose of the IME is usually to deny or reduce your benefits, so it’s especially important to talk to a lawyer if you have been ordered to submit to an IME.
FAQ: The person that hit me does not have insurance, what can I do?
First, you will recover compensation from your own car insurance carrier. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, that insurance policy will provide benefits above and beyond your traditional coverage. If your injuries were serious, we can fight to recover additional compensation via a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
FAQ: How much time do I have after my accident to decide whether or not to sue?
Car accident claims must be filed within four years of the date of the accident. However, it’s important that your car accident lawyer get to work quickly to make sure all of the evidence is located soon after the accident.
Have Questions After a Car Accident in South Florida? Our Skilled Accident Attorneys Have Answers
Our dedicated South Florida accident lawyers are here to answer any questions that you have after a car accident. For a free, no-risk initial consultation, call or contact our office today.