Car Accident Lawyers Serving Miami, Fort Lauderdale, & West Palm Beach, FL
South Florida Car Accident Lawyers
It is a sad fact of life that automobile accidents are much more frequent than anyone would like to believe or admit. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, millions of people are injured in auto accidents each year. If you are one of these people, you are likely facing the burden of how to pay medical bills and how to deal with car repairs, lost wages, and medical treatment. The financial burden adds stress to what is already a difficult experience; particularly if your injuries are severe, the pain and the distress of a car accident combined with the difficulties of knowing how you will pay for all of your needs can create a crisis in your life. When you are experiencing the kind of emotional and physical trauma that comes along with an accident, you should look to work with a car accident lawyer with experience and expertise in the handling of complicated cases.
Zimmerman & Frachtman Auto/Truck/Motorcycle Settlements:
- $1,950,000.00 SETTLEMENT – CONFIDENTIAL V. INSURANCE COMPANY
- $603,792.86 JURY VERDICT – DAVID MANGUM V. FRANK P. STALLONE
Contact us for Experienced Car Accident Legal Help
The experienced car accident lawyers at Zimmerman & Frachtman have more than 60 years of combined experience handling auto and truck accident cases throughout Florida and the U.S. Our office, with a staff of knowledgeable auto accident lawyers, has seen a variety of cases and knows how to manage even the most difficult questions and complex issues. Schedule a free consultation today by filling out a form on our contact page or calling us now at (954) 509-1900.
Common causes of car, truck, motorcycle, bicyclist, or pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted driving (texting, cell phone usage, eating, reading)
- Driver fatigue
- Drunk driving
- Hit and run
- Rear-end collisions
- High-speed collisions
- Accidents involving teenagers
- Intersection accidents
- Tractor-trailer crashes
- Road construction
- Defective products, such as accidents as a result of a GM vehicle, airbags, and seat-belts.
- Ambulance Accidents
And also locations where many accidents occur, such as I-95 and the Turnpike, as well as defective roads that contributed to an accident.
Virtually every attorney handling personal injury cases has some experience with motor vehicle collision cases. But while car crash cases are too often considered routine, at Zimmerman & Frachtman, there is no such thing as routine. We pursue all cases with the same zeal we apply to even the most complex product liability cases. While every case is different, we have had several notable cases that demonstrate our capability to help our clients pursue both settlements and trials; for example, the case of Jonna Mays V Richard J. Lucibella, which ended in a settlement just prior to trial in the amount of $1,750,000. Another notable case is that of Aida Pelaez V. GEICO Insurance, where our client was able to receive the maximum insurance amount of $1,000,000 in settlement. If you work with just any auto accident attorney, you could be putting your case at risk. By working with an experienced car accident attorney, you can maximize your chances to get the compensation you deserve.
Common Accident Injuries: Whiplash
Whiplash is the common terminology for a neck strain and/or neck sprain and usually addresses a cervical spine injury in the soft tissue surrounding the neck and back. Typically, a whiplash injury does not constitute a fracture of the intervertebral disks. Fractures of the intervertebral disks are classified as spinal cord fractures.
In whiplash injuries, the body experiences an impact with such force in a whip-like cessation of the head, neck, shoulders, and back. The results of this sudden jerk can be debilitating depending on the severity of the accident because the sudden impact of force stretches and/or tears the muscles and fascia of the neck. Additionally, because whiplash injuries affect the muscles and fascia, or soft tissue of the head, neck, shoulders, and back, the associated pain and symptoms with a whiplash injury may not develop until days or weeks after the accident.
Symptoms Resulting from Whiplash Injuries Include:
- Neck and jaw pain
- Muscle tightness or muscles spasms in the neck, shoulders, and back
- Lower back pain
- Neck muscles that are tender to the touch
- Decrease in the neck muscles’ range of motion
- Blurry vision, dizziness, headaches and vertigo or a feeling of off-balance
- Swelling, bruising around the throat, neck, shoulders, and down the back
- Arm and leg weakness
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
Treatment for Whiplash Injuries
Depending on the severity of whiplash injury, some treatments include prescription painkillers, massage, or physical therapy. If you believe you have a whiplash injury, seeking sound medical advice is key in medical treatment for whiplash injuries. Injuries for whiplash vary depending on the type of accident and patients can heal at different rates.
Damages for Whiplash Claims
Because whiplash injuries have a statute of limitations and due to their fraudulent past, filing a whiplash injury claim can be difficult. However, this doesn’t mean you should not submit your claim if you have experienced a whiplash injury. Documentation is key for submitting a whiplash injury claim. Damages received for whiplash injuries typically cover out of pocket expenses, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys to help file a whiplash injury claim!
What is Causation in Car Accidents
Causation is generally defined as the relationship between cause and effect. In legal matters, causation is used to establish negligence in civil and criminal liability cases by determining the causes of an injury claim. Causation defines four major requirements that must be met to determine negligence in liability cases.
In regards to a car accident, the plaintiff has the burden of proving causation by fulfilling the four requirements and demonstrating that the at-fault driver was negligent and caused the accident. Proving causation can be difficult in car accident claims, and therefore is crucial to retain a qualified causation car accident attorney to act in your best interest. The attorneys at Zimmerman & Frachtman have the skills to represent your claim and the experienced investigators and other specialists that can recreate your accident to successfully prove causation.
The four main requirements of legal causation are:
- Duty of care
- Breach of the duty of care
- The causation
Proving Causation in Car Accidents
- Duty of Care – When demonstrating causation in auto accident cases, the plaintiff needs to demonstrate why the at-fault driver was negligent. In car accidents, duty of care is assumed after obtaining a driver’s license. Upon obtaining a driver’s license, licensee’s agree to the “duty of care” to operate vehicles in a safe fashion as to not purposely harm others while operating their vehicles on the road.
- Breach of the Duty of Care – To determine breach of duty of care in car accidents, the plaintiff needs to defining the specific actions the at-fault driver took to no longer operate their vehicle in a safe way. Negligent behavior could be slight, socially-acceptable law-breaking actions such as speeding, not signaling a lane change that can lead to an accident. While most drivers on the road do sometimes break these traffic rules, when accidents happen, they are considered negligent. There are gross negligent behaviors that lead to serious injuries or even death. These behaviors can again be slight or atrocious, like texting while driving or drunk driving.
- Causation – Proving causation is tying the injuries sustained to the misconduct or breach of duty of care. The plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that injures are a direct correlation to the other driver’s negligent actions.
- Damages – Finally, damages are explaining the extent of the injuries sustained by the car accident.
It is unfortunate that the burden of proving all four requirements of causation falls upon the plaintiff. In cases involving car accident causation, this can be especially hard because evidence from the car accident can be lost if not addressed on the accident scene. Having an experienced causation attorney on your side can make a difference in how your claim is handled and your settlement amount.
UNDERSTANDING THE POTENTIAL SETTLEMENT FOR YOUR CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM
Auto accident claims are not all equal when it comes to the actual amount of financial recovery available. There are standard items that are commonly included as compensatory damages, such as the value of the vehicle and the amount of medical bills. Depending on the extent and seriousness of injuries, loss wages can also be a considerable claim amount as well. Extent and seriousness of injury are also important when calculating non-economic pain-and-suffering damages, as auto accident injuries can vary widely and serious injuries can often leave an injured victim permanently disabled. And of course, wrongful death claims are also often applicable when settling fatal crashes, and many times includes an additional loss of consortium claim for spouses and dependent children.
After the damages are totaled, there will also be the issue of insurance coverage level and personal contribution to causing the accident by any injured drivers. And then, there are “bad faith” insurance companies who skirt the law before making a settlement in an effort to lessen the claim value. The final result is that injured victims are made totally whole in some instances, and may have zero recovery resources available when people with little assets and no auto insurance cause an accident.
Comparative negligence is the term referring to assessment of fault among all drivers in an auto accident. Many times injured drivers will be assessed a high percentage, which will then be used to discount the amount of damages available for their personal injuries. All states use some form of comparative negligence, with four states implementing pure contributory negligence laws. This doctrine states that an injured party who has any level of fault in causing an injury is not entitled to damage recovery. Some states set the limit at 51% for denial of damages, while other states use pure comparative negligence doctrine that allows damage recovery for anyone with less than 100% assessment of fault discounted by their personal percentage.
All claims that are filed in the beginning are considered compensatory damages by law. However, cases that go to a jury trial are often done so because a jury has the authority to assess negligent parties for egregious “gross” negligence, including insurance companies that negotiate in “bad faith” during the settlement process. This can often result in an additional lawsuit against the insurance company, or they can be assessed a punitive damage award along with the negligent respondent. The potential for punitive damages can provide solid leverage for your personal injury attorney when very serious cases are being finalized.
Many auto accidents actually include several drivers, which will further complicate the ultimate value of an auto accident claim. The calculation is by no means a completely scientific process, and having the right auto accident attorney can make a major difference when several negligent parties are included in the claim. It is typically not a good decision to attempt handling an accident claim personally, as there may be coverage available that the injured victim does not realize such as multiple insurance coverage policies.
BODILY INJURY LIABILITY AND UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE IN FLORIDA
Many people in the state of Florida are confused about the purpose of bodily injury insurance. It is not unusual for people to question why they need this insurance when they already have health insurance. Others do not question the inclusion of bodily injury insurance with their car insurance policy believing that it is to cover their injuries in the case of an accident since health insurance will not cover this type of claim. However, in both cases people would be incorrect in what they assume is the reason that personal injury insurance is included with car insurance policies.
In reality, bodily injury liability covers people when they are responsible for causing an accident in which another person is injured. It protects them from having to pay out of pocket for any harm resulting from the accident for which they are found to be legally responsible. It also will cover the costs of legal assistance should someone sue them claiming damages above those covered by the insurance. Additionally, bodily injury insurance covers any individual who has an accident for which they are at fault while driving the covered parties’ car providing they have borrowed the car with the covered parties’ permission.
Uninsured motorist insurance is less confusing to most people. This type of insurance covers accidents caused by someone else when the person at fault has no insurance or limited insurance coverage and limited or no bodily injury insurance to cover the costs of any injuries another person may sustain. When the person at fault does have bodily injury insurance uninsured motorist insurance covers expenses that are in excess of their bodily injury insurance and is not covered by their insurance.
Uninsured motorist insurance will cover the expenses of the other driver expenses and the damages done to their vehicle under three conditions. These include cases such as:
- When the person who caused the accident has no car insurance
- When the person who caused the accident has only minimal insurance which is insufficient to pay all costs of the other driver
- In the case of a hit and run accident, when someone has no ability to identify the individual who hit them.
In order for Florida residents to be fully protected, both bodily injury liability insurance and uninsured motorist insurance should be obtained.
Experienced South Florida Auto Accident Attorneys
Through examination and meticulous preparation, the car accident attorneys at Zimmerman & Frachtman will ensure that your case is strong enough to stand up in court. We retain nationally renowned experts in the fields of accident investigation and reconstruction, bio-mechanical engineering and human kinematics, economic analysis, vocational rehabilitation, nursing care, radiology and orthopedic surgery, to name just a few. Our office and the experts we call upon work hard to make sure that the most accurate possible story is presented in court; insurance companies work hard to try and mitigate the circumstances of your accident, while we as auto accident attorneys work to try and highlight exactly what happened and the fact that it is not your fault—you’re your injuries are, in fact, the fault of another driver. While no two cases are alike, every case is assured skilled and diligent representation combined with top-notch experts in their fields. As any experienced auto accident lawyer can tell you, knowledge of the changes in the laws regarding car accidents is absolutely vital, and we keep up-to-date on every development in the state’s statutes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents and Lawsuits
Car Accident Lawsuit FAQs
- Contact information (name, address, phone) for anyone who was there, including other drivers, passengers, witnesses, and the tow company if your car was towed
- Police report information
- Information about all vehicles involved:
- Year, make, and model
- License plate number
- Insurance carrier
- Insurance policy number
The truck could have a malfunction of sorts. Sometimes vehicles with improper maintenance are sent out on the road. Some companies figure as long as it passes inspection, it's okay.
It's not easy to say this, but the driver could also be intoxicated. When drivers are out on the open road, their bosses are trusting them to do the job. They are not looking over their shoulder. Some drivers, depending on their personality, do take advantage of this.
This negligence is what causes devastating consequences for everyone involved.
Consult an Auto Accident Lawyer
Our attorneys will also help you understand and navigate the details of insurance policy, Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Property Damage (PD), and the issues that occur with uninsured or under-insured motorists who do not have sufficient coverage. Don’t work with just any auto accident attorney; your injuries and the damage to your property deserve fair compensation, and you should only work with a car accident lawyer who you feel comfortable with, and who can give you the full scope of possibilities for your case, so that you know what to expect.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck and would like to learn more about your legal rights, please contact our firm online or call (954) 509-1900. Our experienced auto accident attorneys in South Florida provide free consultations and charges you only if we win your case.