For some reason, a lot of accident victims assume that they’re entitled to compensation simply because they were involved in a crash. When they visit with our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers, all they want to know is how much money they’ll receive if they sue the other driver.
The truth is that nobody is ever guaranteed to receive compensation. Even if you do, there’s no telling exactly how much you’ll receive.
Nobody Is Ever Guaranteed Damages When They Sue Somebody
One of the first things our car accident lawyers in Ft. Lauderdale tell our clients is that there are no guarantees in personal injury. Just because you were involved in a car accident, that doesn’t mean the judge is going to award you damages.
In order to receive any compensation, your Fort Lauderdale accident attorney is going to have to prove fault. If you cannot demonstrate that the other driver caused the accident, you may not receive any compensation.
Your Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Must Prove Fault First
When you first meet with your Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney, they’re going to need to look at all the paperwork you have related to the crash. They will need to determine whether they can prove that the other driver caused the accident.
Some of the things they will look for include:
- A copy of the police report indicating that the defendant was more than likely the person who caused the accident
- Correspondence from the insurance carrier stating that the defendant was partially at fault
- Your medical records which document the nature and extent of your injuries
- Statements made by any witnesses to the crash
- Statements made by the other driver
- Pictures or videos of the accident
Depending on what evidence is available, your car accident lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale will have a better idea of what your case is worth.
Can Your Car Accident Lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale Prove Negligence?
To prove fault, your Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer must show that the defendant was negligent. To do this, they must demonstrate the following four things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- They breached this duty.
- You were injured.
- Your injuries were directly caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
If your car accident lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale can prove all four elements of negligence, then you’ll have a good chance of receiving damages.
Can the Defendant Prove That You Were Partially at Fault for the Crash?
Of course, while you’re trying to prove that the defendant was at fault, they’ll be doing the opposite. The other driver’s lawyer, and the insurance company, will try to demonstrate that you were at fault.
If they’re able to do this, it will make it harder to prove your case. It will come down to which party’s evidence is stronger. What your Ft. Lauderdale accident attorney knows is that you can still collect damages even if you were partly at fault.
How Does Comparative Fault Work in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida?
Florida follows the comparative negligence rule. According to Florida Statute 768.81, a plaintiff can still sue for damages as long as they are less than 50% at fault.
What this means is that, even if the defendant proves you were at fault, you may still be able to collect damages. However, while you can collect damages, they will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
If you initially sued the other driver for $100,00 and were found to be 20% at fault, your damages will be reduced by $20,000 (20%).
If You Prove Negligence, Then You Can Discuss Damages
Once your car accident lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale proves negligence, they will move on to prove your damages. In most of the car accident cases our firm handles, our clients are entitled to some, or all, of the following:
- Medical bills and future medical bills
- Lost wages and lost future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Whether you receive these damages will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries. It will also depend on what your attorney can prove.
If you would like know more information about what a personal injury case is, view this page.
Medical Bills and Future Medical Bills
If you experienced any injuries as a result of the crash, you’ll accrue thousands of dollars in medical bills. There’s no reason why you should have to pay for your medical care. If the defendant caused your accident, they should be held accountable for these bills.
In addition to any medical bills you’ve already received, you can also demand compensation for future medical care. Your Ft. Lauderdale accident attorney will submit an affidavit outlining the type of care you’ll need going forward.
Property Damage if Your Vehicle Was Damaged or Destroyed
Obviously, if your car or SUV was damaged or destroyed in the crash, you can demand compensation for that as well. Just remember – you can only demand the fair market value for your vehicle.
You aren’t able to demand money to buy a new car. You can only get the value of your car at the time of the crash.
Lost Wages and Lost Future Income
If you suffered serious injuries, you’ll likely miss several days or even weeks from work. Your car accident lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale can demand reimbursement for these lost wages.
You can also demand compensation for lost future income. If you can no longer do the same kind of work you did prior to the accident, you may be entitled to this additional compensation.
Your Ft. Lauderdale accident attorney must demonstrate the difference between what you would’ve earned at your old job and what you’ll now earn.
Pain and Suffering
For people who suffer serious physical injuries, they can demand damages for pain and suffering. These damages are meant to compensate you for any physical and mental anguish you experienced after the accident.
In many of the cases our car accident lawyers in Ft. Lauderdale handle, these damages make up the lion’s share of our clients’ settlements.
Contact Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Review
Sometimes, after your car accident, you aren’t quite sure what to do. You know you’re supposed to file an insurance claim, but after that, you’re at a loss. This is when you know it’s time to call a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer.
When you contact our Ft. Lauderdale law firm, one of our staff will schedule your free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to find out if your case has merit. You pay no legal fees unless we win compensation for you.