If you have been involved in a side-impact collision, also known as a “T-bone” accident, you probably have a lot of questions about your right to seek justice from the driver who hit you. The Pembroke Pines car accident attorneys at Cohn & Smith have helped many people in Pembroke Pines and the surrounding communities pursue compensation for side-impact collisions and other crashes over the years. We are here to serve your family and you as you go through this difficult time.
Side-impact wrecks can occur for a variety of reasons, but some of the more common scenarios include situations in which the responsible driver was:
- Disregarding a traffic control device, such as running a stop sign or traffic light;
- Engaging in distracted driving, such as texting, talking on a cellphone, or eating instead of paying attention to the road; or
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Car accident lawsuits typically fall under an area of tort law known as “negligence.” The basic structure of these actions involves a four-step analysis. First, the defendant must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care and must have breached this duty by failing to act in a reasonable manner. The victim also must have been hurt because of the defendant’s breach, which is known as the causation element. Finally, it will be necessary to identify quantifiable costs and losses that arose from the accident. Each step of a negligence case must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that the plaintiff’s version of events is more likely than not to be true. This is a far less demanding burden of proof than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal trials.
It is up to the plaintiff to prove how the crash occurred and why the defendant should be held liable for the victim’s resulting injuries. In addition to obtaining and reviewing the accident report and interviewing any witnesses who saw it happen, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer may also hire an accident reconstructionist or other experts who can review data from the crash and render an opinion as to who was at fault.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state, and it is not uncommon for a defendant facing a negligence lawsuit to attempt to point the finger at the injured party by accusing him or her of contributing to the accident in some manner. If such an argument is successful, the plaintiff’s damages award is reduced in proportion to his or her level of fault. For instance, if the jury finds that the plaintiff suffered damages of $50,000 but apportions fault 90% to the defendant and 10% to the plaintiff, the plaintiff may be able to receive up to $45,000.
Sometimes, there are multiple defendants in a negligence lawsuit. For example, in a truck accident case, the trucker’s employer may also be named as a defendant under the doctrine of respondeat superior. In a case in which one of the parties’ vehicles malfunctioned, the manufacturer of that vehicle may be brought into the lawsuit.Enlist a Pembroke Pines Attorney to Protect Your Rights after a Motor Vehicle Crash
You should not delay in seeking legal guidance if you have been hurt by a careless driver in the Pembroke Pines area. At Cohn & Smith, our motor vehicle collision attorneys offer a free initial consultation and accept many cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that often no legal fees are required upfront. To schedule an appointment with a lawyer, call us today at (954) 431-8100 or contact us online. We also represent many individuals from Hollywood, Davie, and other South Florida cities.