Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Serving All of Broward County and the State of Florida

Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer, Anthony J. Milano, assists all residents within Broward County with all motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, wrongful death, slip and falls, and all other types of personal injury cases.

We handle cases throughout Broward County, including: Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Sunrise and all other areas of Broward County and Florida.

Fort Lauderdale and Broward County Car Accidents

It’s well known that Fort Lauderdale traffic is some of the most dangerous in the state of Florida. Broward County motor vehicle crash statistics reflect that.

Broward County has experienced a dramatic increase in motor vehicle accidents since 2012, and in 2016 the crashes have increased almost 100% since their 10-year low of 23,210. With the ever-increasing tourism and snow-birds from up north, Broward County motor vehicle crashes have maintained over 40,000 crashes per year for the last four years.

Broward County Car Crash Fatalities

Broward County has experienced 200 car crash fatalities per year over the last 10 years. Over the past five years, car crash fatalities have averaged over 224. The most reasonable explanation for this spike in fatalities is not only the overall increase in Broward County car crashes, but also the increase in tourist traffic.

Broward County is only second to Miami-Dade County in total car crashes, fatalities, and injuries over the past few years among all Florida counties.

Should I Hire a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer?

Assuming you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, it’s in your best interest to hire a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer. There are several reasons to hire a lawyer for a car accident injury case, but the most important ones include:

Level the Playing Field

Having a lawyer knowledgeable in Florida personal injury law and experienced in dealing with insurance companies will even the playing field.  Insurance companies are large corporations with thousands of employees and tens of millions of dollars of resources.  Fighting them on your own can be disastrous.  Having a lawyer not only gives you a fighting chance, it can give you an advantage. 

Overcome the Insurance Company “Three D’s”

Like all for-profit businesses, an insurance company’s main motive is to make a profit.  This is, of course, reasonable.  Insurance companies profit by collecting millions in premiums from their insureds.  Then, they invest all this cash into several different investments, including the stock market.  The longer they’re able to hold that cash, the more investment income they can make.  Therefore, it is their main goal to pay out as little in claims as possible, and if they have to pay claims, take as long as possible to pay.  Therefore, insurance companies employ the DELAY, DENY, and DEFEND strategy.  They delay paying claims by taking their time to investigate claims; they deny claims that should be paid; and they defend claims all the way up until trial and appeal. 

When you have a lawyer on your side working on your case, the insurance company will not have free rein to avoid processing and paying your claim.  They are careful to abide by Florida law.  Having a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer on your side will speed up the claims process; validate your claim; and combat their defense to your claim.

Maximize Your Compensation

Hiring a lawyer will maximize your compensation and there are studies that prove it.  This has been proven in two separate studies by the Insurance Research Council (IRC).  One of the IRC studies found that attorney represented claimants received 40% higher settlements than those that weren’t represented by an attorney.  The other IRC study found similar results that claimants reported a higher rate of reimbursement for their losses.

How Much Do Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyers Charge?

Personal injury attorneys only get paid if they are able to get a settlement or obtain a favorable verdict.  This is called a “contingency fee.”  The amount of the contingency fee is regulated by the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, Rule 4-1.5(f).  This rule limits the amount that can be charged in a personal injury or property damage case.  There are a few factors that change the maximum contingency fee that can be charged.  These factors include how much the total settlement is, whether you’ve filed a lawsuit in your case and the other party responded (i.e., “answer”), and whether the other party has accepted liability for the accident. 

The rule states that “before the filing of an answer or the demand for appointment of arbitrators or, if no answer is filed or no demand for appointment of arbitrators is made, the expiration of the time period provided for such action:

  1. 33 1/3% of any recovery up to $1 million; plus
  2. 30% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus
  3. 20% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.

After the filing of an answer or the demand for appointment of arbitrators or, if no answer is filed or no demand for appointment of arbitrators is made, the expiration of the time period provided for such action, through the entry of judgment:

  1. 40% of any recovery up to $1 million; plus
  2. 30% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus
  3. 20% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.

If all defendants admit liability at the time of filing their answers and request a trial only on damages:

  1. 33 1/3% of any recovery up to $1 million; plus
  2. 20% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus
  3. 15% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.

An additional 5% of any recovery after institution of any appellate proceeding or postjudgment relief or action is required for recovery on the judgment.”

How Much Is the Average Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Case Settlement?

There were two studies conducted addressing average car accident claim amounts, one by the Insurance Information Institute and one by the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.  Both of these studies arrived at similar results.  The Insurance Information Institute report concluded that in 2017 the average bodily injury claim value was $15,270 and the average property damage claim was $3,638.  The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association study found that in 2013 the average bodily injury settlement was $15,443. 

As these two studies indicate, most accidents are relatively minor since a $15,000 settlement probably meant that there was minimal medical treatment in most cases.  With current medical care costs as high as they are, a ride in an ambulance and emergency room visit could easily reach over $15,000.  So, although the $15,000 area is an average, it doesn’t mean your case is worth $15,000 or more or less. 

Keep in mind that your injury and medical treatment are the two largest variables affecting your settlement amount.  If you have whiplash and minimal medical treatment, it’s likely your case will be around the average or maybe less.  If you had more serious injuries such as broken bones, your case will be worth more than the average.  In addition, in order to be eligible for non-economic damages in Florida, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish, your injury will need to be permanent within a reasonable degree of medical probability.  The inability to receive non-economic damages compensation will greatly reduce your overall settlement amount.

How Much Is My Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Case Worth?

In order to determine what your car accident case is worth you will need to determine your “damages.”  Damages are your actual losses that you suffered as a result of the accident.  These include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.  Some of these damages are easier to calculate than others.  For example, calculating your total medical expenses may be as easy as adding up all your medical bills that were paid with those that are still outstanding.  However, quantifying pain and suffering or mental anguish in dollars is no easy task.  Calculating these types of damages, known as “non-economic” damages, takes experience in handling several different types of injury cases.  An experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer would be the best source to value your case. 

A quick method to calculate your case value would be to use the formula below.  Your economic damages include your medical expenses, including the ones that were paid by you or your health insurance/Medicare/Medicaid and those still outstanding.  In addition, lost wages are also part of your economic damages.  So, you’ll include the time you took off of work as a result of your injury.

[(Economic Damages + Non-economic Damages) x Comparative Fault %]

Calculating your non-economic damages are a bit more complex.  They really vary depending on the type of injury you have.  As mentioned above, if you do not have a permanent injury, determined by a physician, you cannot receive non-economic damages. 

You will likely find two common methods to calculating your non-economic damages—the Multiplier Method and the Per Diem Method—both of which are not accurate. 

Multiplier Method

The Multiplier Method uses an injury severity scale from 1.5 to 5, with 1.5 being the least serious injury and with 5 being the most severe.  You multiply your economic damages by that factor and the product is your non-economic damages.  For example, if you had a broken arm, your injury severity may be a 4 and if you had a total of $100,000 in economic damages, you would have $400,000 in non-economic damages.  In this case, your case may be worth $500,000 total without taking into account any adjustment for comparative fault.

Per Diem Method

The Per Diem Method assigns a dollar value to each day you experienced pain and suffering or mental anguish.  Some may assign a value equal to a day of your salary, since pain can be viewed as equivalent to working a day of work at your job.  So, if you make $200 per day and you’ve experienced 90 days of pain, your non-economic damages would be worth $18,000.

Both of these methods are flawed and are not used by either insurance companies or juries.  Insurance companies use claims software to calculate non-economic damages and they always under-value this part of the claim, especially in soft tissue injury cases.  Usually, in soft tissue injury cases, they will assign a nominal amount, such as $2,500 – $5,000, for your non-economic damages.  In cases with more substantial injuries, they can range anywhere from $5,000 to millions.

Case Value Example:

Paula Plaintiff was injured in a car accident when she was rear-ended by Dexter Defendant.  Dexter was determined to be 100% at fault for the accident.  She was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the accident and received eight weeks of chiropractic treatment and received pain management after her MRI showed that she had a disc herniation in her neck.  Paula’s total medical bills equaled $50,000.  She missed four weeks of work and lost $5,000 in wages.  Therefore, Paula has $55,000 in economic damages.  Paul thinks the pain she experienced is worth $10,000.  Paul’s case value would be as follows:

[(Economic Damages + Non-economic Damages) x Comparative Fault %]

[($55,000 + $10,000)] = $65,000

Broward County Case Settlements

To illustrate what a real Broward County settlement may be, the following are Broward County cases that settled before a final verdict was given. 

Michel v. Weil

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Witny Michel, riding on a motorcycle was hit by defendant, Susan Weil, while making a left turn in front of him.
  • Injury: Fractures in his fibula, tibia, femur, hand, and back.
  • Medical Treatment: Emergency room taken by ambulance; open reduction internal fixation with plates and screws to repair fractures in his fibula, tibia, and femur; surgery for hand fractures; open reduction internal fixation to repair his middle back fractures; physical therapy
  • Insurance Company: Travelers Home & Marine Fire Insurance Company and United States Liability Insurance Company
  • Total Settlement: $1,200,000

Warren v. Geimer

  • Facts: Plaintiff, Dueane Warren, crashed into the vehicle driven by defendant, Alicia Geimer, as a result of Ms. Geimer’s failing to yield his right of way.
  • Injury: Bulging discs at C5-6 and C6-7
  • Medical Treatment: Chiropractic treatment and two epidural steroid injections, as well as a recommendation for future discectomy surgery.
  • Insurance Company: State Farm
  • Total Settlement: $50,000