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Naples Personal Injury Attorney > Fort Myers Car Accident Attorney

Fort Myers Car Accident Attorney

Have you been hurt in a car accident? Reach out to a Fort Myers car accident attorney at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., now!

No matter how safe of a driver you are, car accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Negligent drivers can sideswipe you on the highway, run stop signs, or crash into you at an intersection.

Car crashes are sadly common on our roads. Over 3,700 people lost their lives in crashes on Florida highways in 2021, and car accident deaths continue to rise year after year.

Lee County is particularly infamous for its startling number of traffic accidents. Just one week into 2022, more than 130 people died in car accidents throughout Lee County, a number that’s far higher than the amount of fatalities in other Florida counties. 

Regardless of how your accident happened, the outcome is the same: You’re left with injuries, a damaged or totaled car, and stacks of bills for medical treatments. Even a small accident can cause severe financial trouble for your family, especially if you have to take time off work to recover.

If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident, our Fort Myers car accident attorneys from The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. can help.

Read our reviews to see how we’ve assisted our past clients in Fort Myers, then call us for a consultation at 239-500-5000.

Common Causes of Car Accidents in Fort Myers

What causes car accidents in Fort Myers? Below, learn about some common causes of crashes in our city.

Drunk and Impaired Driving

Drunk and impaired driving is one of the leading causes of accidents in our state. Nationally, about 37 people die in drunk driving-related accidents every single day, which equates to one death every 39 minutes.

Many drunk drivers never intended to hurt anyone. They may think, “I’ll just have one more beer,” before leaving the bar and heading home for the night. But driving under the influence puts other drivers and pedestrians at risk.

If you believe that a drunk driver caused your accident, reach out to a Fort Myers car accident attorney right away. We can investigate where the driver was before they drove and talk to eyewitnesses to establish whether the driver was behaving erratically. This evidence can support your case for compensation.

Speeding

You don’t have to travel far in Fort Myers to find drivers flying down the roads at a frightening speed. Drivers who ignore the speed limit simply don’t have time to react to hazards on the road. If someone in front of them slams on the brakes, it’s easy to imagine what happens next.

If you’ve suffered car accident injuries because of a speeding driver, call our Fort Myers personal injury attorneys to see how we can help. As local experts, they have the knowledge and experience to effectively handle cases in the area.

Distracted Driving

When drivers take their eyes off the road to check a text message, answer a call, or speak to a passenger, serious accidents can occur. At that moment, they may not see that another driver has hit the brakes in front of them, leading to a rear-end accident or a side-swipe accident during a merge.

Examples like these play out dozens of times on our Fort Myers roads every single day, and you need an experienced lawyer on your side to make your case for compensation.

Drowsy Driving

Hopping behind the wheel when tired is incredibly dangerous, yet many people do it anyway. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 700 people lost their lives due to drowsy driving-related accidents in 2021.

Reckless Driving and Road Rage

Swerving, tailgating, braking aggressively: You’ll see all of these things and more when you journey out onto our Fort Myers roads.

Incidents of road rage are sadly common throughout the city. Take, for instance, the story of a man who encountered a group of aggressive motorcycle riders on Pondella Road. The bikers were blocking intersections, cutting off other drivers, and recklessly speeding down streets.

The victim asked the bikers to stop blocking traffic, and they reacted by smashing the man’s windows and beating him with a wrench. The suspects only relented when passersby approached to stop the attack.

Other drivers force victims to pull over and then drag them out of their vehicle to attack them. Some ride the bumpers of drivers because they’re not going fast enough for their liking. They may even deliberately hit the car in front of them to “teach them a lesson.”

Such attacks can be terrifying, and in many cases, the suspect flees before the victim has a chance to jot down their license plate number. This can make it very hard to seek justice.

Have you been hurt by reckless driving or a road rage incident? Call us today. For 30 years, our car accident lawyers have been representing clients who were victims of car accidents in Fort Myers, including those that happen due to road rage. We can help you prove negligence by the at-fault driver and pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.

Car Accidents Can Cause Devastating Injuries

Car accidents can lead to serious injuries, even at low speeds. If someone backs into you in a parking lot, for instance, you could have an aching neck that takes weeks to heal.

Crashes on the highway often cause severe injuries, including:

  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Brain injuries,
  • Spinal damage
  • Paralysis
  • Death

In a major accident, cars can catch on fire. Victims trapped within can suffer burns, leading to scarring and disfigurement. Such injuries can haunt them long after the pain has faded away.

Physical injuries aren’t the only thing victims must worry about. Many go on to develop mental trauma, such as depression and anxiety. Some develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suffer flashbacks of the accident every time they enter a car.

Perhaps one of the saddest outcomes of car accidents is the loss of a pregnancy. The impact of a crash is often enough to cause serious harm to a developing fetus.

If you’ve suffered a serious injury in a car accident, call us to see how a car accident lawyer in Fort Myers, FL, can help you hold the negligent driver responsible.

Can You Sue a Negligent Driver After a Car Accident in Fort Myers, Florida?

Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means you must first turn to your own insurance’s personal injury protection (PIP) for compensation. This can be a good thing because your insurance will compensate you for medical bills and repair costs for your car, regardless of whose fault the accident was.

According to Florida law, your insurance company must pay:

  • 80% of accident-related medical expenses
  • 60% of lost wages because of the accident
  • $5,000 in death benefits if a loved one died in the accident

In Florida, drivers are required to have at least $10,000 in PIP coverage and property damage liability (PDL) coverage.

As you might expect, this amount may not be enough to cover all your bills if you’ve suffered serious injuries. If the accident caused a permanent injury, scarring, loss of a bodily function, or death, it counts as a “serious injury” under Florida law. For serious injuries, you can sue the negligent driver.

Our lawyers at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. can explain what damages you can seek compensation for in a lawsuit.

Medical Bills

Even if you have decent insurance, medical bills can add up quickly. This is especially true if you need to stay in the hospital for weeks or even longer. When you’re finally well enough to go home, you could have bills totaling millions of dollars.

In a lawsuit, you can seek damages for all accident-related medical treatment, both current and anticipated. That includes the cost of:

  • Ambulance transportation
  • Emergency care
  • Surgery
  • Specialist visits
  • Follow-up appointments with your doctors
  • Medications
  • Medical equipment, such as walkers and wheelchairs

You can also sue for the cost of medically necessary modifications you must make to your home. For example, if you must use a wheelchair for the rest of your life, you may need to install ramps or a stair lift. You may also have to pay someone to lower your kitchen counters or widen doorways.

Additionally, you might have to hire an aide to help you at home if you’re unable to move around the house much. However, this type of care doesn’t come cheap. You may need to spend $100 or more per day on home care. Fortunately, you can count the amount spent on home care as part of your damages.

Lost Wages

Has your accident left you so hurt that you need to take time off work to recover? In some cases, you may even lose your job because your disability prevents you from performing your duties as you once did.

This is a very common outcome of car accidents, and it can feel like being kicked when you’re already down. Florida law allows you to sue for lost wages, including benefits and paid time off (PTO). You can also sue for loss of earning potential if you’re too disabled to ever return to work again.

Property Damage

Even if you escape from a car accident relatively unscathed, you’ll probably have at least some damage to your car. Broken windshields and body damage can cost hundreds of dollars to fix.

If your accident was particularly serious, your car may be completely totaled. You can seek damages for the cost of replacing it with a new vehicle.

Pain and Suffering

Insurance does not provide compensation for pain and suffering, but you can seek these damages for it by filing a lawsuit. Pain and suffering, as the term implies, includes physical pain and anguish caused by an accident. Conditions that may qualify for pain and suffering damages include:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Back pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Dislocated joints
  • Broken bones
  • Paralysis

Emotional Distress

Car accidents can take a heavy mental toll on victims. After your accident, you may be too fearful to drive anymore or feel so depressed that you can barely leave your bed. Quite a few accident victims develop PTSD, too, which can cause them to relive the accident whenever they enter a car.

Some people who suffer head injuries develop personality changes as well. They may lash out at their family or feel extremely angry all the time.

Such mental distress can make it very hard to live your life. In Florida, you can recover money to compensate you for your anguish. Your car accident lawyer in Fort Myers, FL, can help you calculate the right number.

What If You’re Partially at Fault for the Accident?

Sometimes, car accidents aren’t the fault of just one driver alone. For example, perhaps you were speeding because you were late to work when another driver ran a stop sign. They clearly broke the law, but so did you. If you hadn’t been speeding, you may not have hit them.

For many years, Florida allowed victims to seek damages regardless of how much fault they had for accidents. The court would simply lower the amount of their award based on how much blame they shared.

In March 2023, however, Florida adopted a new modified comparative negligence standard. Under this standard, people may not recover any compensation if they’re found more than 50% at fault for the accident.

This is a major change, and it could have a big effect on your claim. The other driver’s attorney will likely try to shift the blame for the accident to you so their client doesn’t have to pay damages.

Our Fort Myers car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., are well aware of such tactics. Your car accident lawyer will work hard to establish negligence in your case.

Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Case

If you think you have a valid case against the driver who hit you, you’ll need to prove that they acted negligently to seek damages from them. As your Fort Myers car accident attorney, we can help you do just that.

The elements that we will need to prove include:

  • The driver had a duty of care to you. In car accident cases, this means that they should have been driving carefully and obeying traffic laws.
  • The driver breached their duty of care. This could mean that they were driving recklessly, speeding, or talking on the phone when they hit you.
  • The breach of duty led to an accident. In other words, if the driver had not breached their duty to you, the accident wouldn’t have happened.
  • The accident caused injuries or losses that the negligent driver can compensate you for.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

If you have a case against a negligent driver and wish to file a claim against them, you’ll need to work quickly. Florida gives you four years from the date of the accident to do so. If you pass the four-year deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case. That means you can’t recover any compensation for the accident.

There are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations, though. These include:

  • The at-fault driver tried to conceal their identity to avoid a lawsuit
  • The at-fault driver left Florida before you could file a lawsuit
  • You were incapacitated in some way after the accident, and therefore could not file an accident before the four-year deadline. In this case, you have up to seven years to make a claim.

What To Do After a Fort Myers Car Accident

The aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful and confusing time. Your car is damaged, and you’re probably hurt. What should you do first? We provide a breakdown of the steps you should take following an accident below.

Make Sure Everyone Is Out of Harm’s Way

If you’re able to, after an accident, move your car and the other driver’s vehicle out of the road. Failing to do this can lead to a pileup that causes even more people to become injured.

Escort injured people away from the street as well. However, if a person can’t sit up on their own, don’t try to move them. They may have damage to their neck or spine, and moving them could worsen their injuries.

Investigate the Scene

Immediately after your accident is the perfect time to do some detective work. Of course, if you’re badly hurt, you should head to the hospital rather than try to document the scene. Your safety is the most important thing.

The goal here is to gather evidence that could help help your case. Take pictures of everything, even if something doesn’t seem important to you right away. The right photo could be enough to prove negligence from the other driver. 

Use your phone to collect photos of all cars involved in the accident from different angles. Take pictures of broken glass, tire marks, street signs, and road conditions.

Look around for any witnesses as well. They may have seen something that you didn’t. If you find witnesses, ask if they have permission for your lawyer to contact them.

Report the Accident

Many people wonder if they must bother reporting their accident to the police. If either of these is true, the answer is yes, and you’ll need to make your report within 10 business days:

  • The accident caused $500 or more worth of property damage
  • The accident led to injuries or death

Dealing with the police can seem like an annoyance, but it’s actually a good thing. The police report can come in handy if you make a claim against the negligent driver.

See a Doctor

Quite a few accident victims skip this step because they assume they’re not badly hurt. After an accident, they may feel a little bit shaken up, but otherwise no worse for wear.

But that can be a big mistake. Often, the true extent of your injuries doesn’t become obvious until days after an accident. One day, you might realize that you’re in more pain than you first thought.

It’s also a wise idea to seek treatment so you have a record of your injuries. Doing so will allow your lawyer to more easily connect those injuries with the accident that caused them.

Be Careful When Talking to Insurance Companies

If an insurance adjuster calls you (and they likely will), don’t say things like, “I just took my eyes off the road for a second,” or “My phone rang, and it distracted me.” Don’t even say you’re sorry. Insurance companies can use such statements as an admission of blame.

Remember that if an insurance adjuster asks you probing questions, you don’t have to answer them. Direct all such questions to your attorney, who can talk to the adjuster on your behalf.

Hire a Fort Myers Car Accident Attorney

It’s certainly possible to handle a car accident case yourself, but we wouldn’t recommend it. You likely are not well-versed in legal matters, such as negotiating car accident settlement agreements, and the other driver’s attorney knows the law like the back of their hand. You’re at a major disadvantage if you try to represent yourself.

Instead, hire an attorney to guide you through the process. At The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., we will review the details of your case, interview witnesses, assign a value to your damages, and represent you in court if the case goes to trial.

Need help proving negligence? Learn more about our team, then give us a call to discuss your case.

Contact The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A.

If you’ve been in a wreck, hiring a car accident lawyer in Fort Myers, FL, is one of the smartest things you can do. The driver who hit you will likely have good representation, and so should you.

Our law firm has years of experience serving Fort Myers clients, and our many awards and accolades speak for themselves. We understand what you’re going through after a traumatic accident and will do all we can to help.

For a free consultation in Fort Myers, FL, call The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. at 239-500-5000.

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