Miami Car Accident Lawyer
Miami is a city of fast-paced living. Its roads are no exception. The roads and highways in South Florida are always crammed and busy, whether it be tourists driving through the state or residents commuting to and from work. Miami never slows down. Unfortunately, this means that car accidents are a fairly common occurrence. Sometimes an accident is just a fender bender where everyone walks away unscathed, and other times, excessive speed and loss of control breed tragedy.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the greater Miami or South Florida area, it is vital that you consult a personal injury attorney who has experience handling car accident claims. It is difficult to focus on being compensated for your injuries when you are trying to heal. Dealing with insurance claims adjusters as well as the responsible parties and their attorneys can feel like a nightmare at times. Consult with experienced Miami car accident lawyer Prosper Shaked today for assistance in getting you the compensation you deserve.
Common Injuries and Causes of Car Accidents
Every car accident is different and, in large part, the driver’s speed and the location of the collision are determining factors in the types of resulting injuries. The harm caused could be as slight as a small bruise and as severe as quadriplegia or death. Some of the most commonly observed injuries in car collisions are listed below:
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Spinal injuries
- Brain injuries
- Knee and leg injuries
- Chest and arm injuries
- Internal bleeding
There are numerous factors that could cause a car crash. Oftentimes, there are several factors involved when the accident results in severe injuries and fatalities. Below is a list of factors that can cause a car accident:
- Illegal substance abuse
- Prescription drugs
- Inclement weather conditions
- Excessive speed
- Reckless maneuvers
- Failure to follow traffic regulations
- Design defects in the roads
- Unfamiliar roadways
- Personal grooming while driving
- Texting and talking on the phone while driving
This list is not exhaustive and there are certainly many more factors that can cause a collision. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney can help you assess the damages owed for injuries sustained during a crash.
Miami Car Accident Facts and Statistics
In 2017, the most recent year with full statistics, there were a total of 65,983 car crashes according to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES). Not all of these crashes were serious, and not all of them involved two cars. 805 of these accidents involved bicycles and 1,547 of these crashes involved pedestrians. Motorcycles account for another portion of these accidents as well.
In these accidents, there was a total of 21,572 involved injuries. This accounts for almost 1/3 of the accidents – approximately 32.7%. Many crashes involve more than one injured individual, especially in cases where there are multiple injuries. A total of 32,389 individuals were injured in these crashes. If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident, you may face medical expenses and lost wages that need compensation.
In 2017, 270 of the car crashes were fatal. These accidents took a total of 285 lives. While this accounts for less than half of a percent of the total number of accidents, these accidents still took a toll on hundreds of families and thousands of people. If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you should not hesitate to consider taking your case to a Miami car accident lawyer.
Leading Causes of Car Accident Collisions in the Miami Area
Car accidents and the injuries that follow can be caused by a variety of driver errors. The following list contains the most common causes of car accidents in Miami:
Distracted or Negligent Driving
Negligent driving is a broad category of careless conduct, usually involving distracted drivers. Drivers are required to operate their vehicles in a safe, responsible manner. Accidents occur when a driver’s attention is diverted and they are unaware of the surrounding traffic conditions. Some common examples of conduct that could constitute negligent or distracted driving include cellphone use, eating, or changing radio stations.
Traffic Violations and Ignoring Street Signs
Accidents often occur because a driver either misses or ignores a traffic sign. Other times, a driver may willfully ignore a stop or yield sign.
Despite local and national campaigns, increased penalties and awareness, driving under the influence is still a major cause of accidents on Miami roads and highways. Impaired drivers continue to present a risk to other motorists.
Sometimes, car accidents are the result of road conditions or poorly designed highways, roadways, or signage. Insufficient mergers, poorly maintained or constructed roads, or restricted visibility could all contribute to an accident. Any party that failed to reasonably do their job and jeopardized the safety of drivers could be held liable for any injuries sustained. Some common examples of conditions that could contribute to an accident include debris or hazards on the road such as potholes or tree branches, improperly designed speed bumps, curbs, or barriers, unreasonably steep roads, and restricted visibility of street signs or traffic lights.
Our personal injury accident attorneys have assisted Miami residents injured in automobile accidents caused by various reasons, including:
- Impaired driving due to drugs or alcohol
- Driving without a driver’s license
- Improper lane changes
- Road rage or aggressive driving
- Failure to maintain the car in a safe operating condition
- Defective or flawed parts or vehicles
- Poorly maintained roadways
- Driving while operating a cellphone
What to Do if You Were Involved in a Car Accident in Miami
While we cannot provide legal advice to individuals who are not our clients, here are some basic concepts that you should keep in mind if you find yourself involved in an accident:
If possible, safely move your vehicle out of the roadway. If you are a passenger and can move freely, make sure to safely exit the vehicle and move away from any traffic. If you are okay, check on all other drivers and passengers, including the at-fault driver. Safety should be your number one priority at this point.
Do not leave the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident can be a crime in the State of Florida. Call 911 to report the accident. Make sure to alert the authorities of any person needing an ambulance or fire rescue. Cooperate with law enforcement, but do not answer any questions that you feel may be self-incriminating.
- Seek medical attention if you were injured.
- Take as many photos and videos as possible.
The full effect of injuries is often not readily apparent. Many severe and long-term injuries might not surface until weeks or months after an accident. It is critical to seek immediate medical attention and legal representation, even if you believe you are fine.
Do not provide a recorded statement to any person or insurance company. These statements can and will be used against you regardless of what you say. Insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions that set you up to admit fault, even in situations where it was clear that the other driver caused the accident.
Do not accept the insurance company’s first offer to settle your claim. Insurance adjusters rush to settle personal injury claims with individuals before they have had the opportunity to discuss their case with an attorney.
In Florida, you have 4 years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the at-fault driver. However, if your loved one died as a result of the accident, you only have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
Hire a personal injury attorney who specializes in auto accident cases. A good car accident attorney will guide you through the medical healing process while helping you maximize your compensation.
When Can I Sue for a Car Crash in Miami, FL?
Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state, which might complicate your car accident lawsuit. It is important to talk to a Miami car accident attorney about your case to ensure that you protect your right to sue. Our attorney can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit and help you maximize your compensation. You should always call an attorney before discussing your case with an insurance company or accepting any payments from them.
The state’s no-fault insurance rules typically prevent you from suing unless the injuries you suffered are very serious. The threshold for what is considered “serious” may be more lenient than you think, and your injuries may qualify you for a lawsuit. If your case involved property damage only, Florida expects you to handle your Miami car accident case through insurance instead of taking your case to court. However, any case involving injury might qualify you to fight your case before a judge and jury.
To file a lawsuit for a car accident, your injury must be worth at least $10,000. Damages for medical expenses and lost wages can add up quickly, and you may reach this $10,000 threshold even with relatively common injuries like concussions and broken bones.
Alternatively, the law protects your right to sue for particularly severe permanent injuries even if the damages do not amount to $10,000. These types of injuries must have one of the following to be considered permanent:
- Loss of bodily function
- Injuries a doctor declares permanent
- Serious scarring
If the accident in question resulted in the death of a loved one, you can sue for wrongful death. This can help you and your family recover compensation to help support yourselves.
It is vital to talk to an attorney before accepting any payments from the insurance company. If you accept a settlement from the insurance company or the at-fault driver, you may miss the opportunity to claim full damages. No-fault insurance’s “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP) coverage will pay you for your injuries regardless of who was at fault for the crash, but it may pay only a reduced amount.
Insurance payouts are typically limited to a certain percentage of your damages, and your insurance will rarely cover your damages in full. Often, insurance companies will do whatever possible to lower the amount paid on a claim, or attempt to deny your claim. If another driver caused the accident, their insurance company might not place a fair value on your claim, including minimizing the extent of your injuries or alleging that your injuries were not a result of the accident. Additionally, insurance typically does not cover pain and suffering damages at all. That means that pursuing your case through an insurance filing will almost certainly result in lower damages than you would be entitled to claim in court.
Miami Car Accidents Involving Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists
Often, drivers in the Miami area cannot afford car insurance or are underinsured. Drivers can carry uninsured motorist coverage that would pay compensation for injuries sustained in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. Additionally, this coverage would also apply if an individual is injured by an unidentified vehicle.
A Miami driver can also opt for underinsured motorist coverage. When a driver who is responsible for an accident has limited liability insurance, the amount of compensation available might not be sufficient to cover all of the costs and damages. Underinsured coverage will pay the additional compensation required. It is important to talk with our experienced car accident attorney to review the types and coverages of insurances involved in your claim.
How Our Miami Attorney Handles Car Accident Claims
Most car accident claims in Miami are handled by law firms with few attorneys and many secretaries. To keep up with the high volume of new cases, these firms are forced to delegate very important stages of your car accident claim to secretaries and paralegals who may or may not have the experience and qualifications needed to effectively investigate and maximize the value of your claim. At the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked, a licensed attorney handles all stages of the claim from the intake all the way through the settlement or verdict. Prosper Shaked uniquely tailors his approach for each of his clients because no two car accidents are the same. Car accident claims are usually pursued by proving that other driver operated their vehicle negligently. To demonstrate negligence, we must prove three things:
- The defendant owed a duty to the victim;
- The defendant breached that duty;
- The victim suffered damages as a result of this breach.
Although there are many stages in the process, the investigation is key to proving that the other driver was negligent. To investigate each claim, we do the following:
- Find and interview all witnesses to the car accident.
- Obtain all photographs from the scene of the crash, those involved in the crash, and all property and vehicles damaged during the car accident.
- Obtain all medical records pertinent to the injuries sustained during the car accident.
- Obtain insurance information from all parties at-fault.
- If there is any indication that the at-fault driver was text messaging or in any way distracted by their cell phone at the time of the car accident, we will obtain all cell phone records.
- Obtain red light camera and any other video footage that may have recorded the crash.
- Perform a background check on the at-fault driver to determine their financial resources and their criminal history.
- Retain expert witnesses to assist in handling and presenting the claim.
- Compensation for Injuries Suffered in a Car Accident
Compensation You May Recover in a Miami Car Accident
The types of compensation a victim can receive after being injured in a car accident fall into two categories: compensatory and punitive. The purpose of compensatory damages is to make the plaintiff “whole.” Compensatory damages are divided into two subcategories: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages include damages that can easily be calculated using documents, bills, and witness testimony. Some examples of economic damages that a person injured in a car accident might receive are:
- Present and future lost earnings
- Present and future medical expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Property damages
- Wrongful death damages
- Household services
- Any other calculable and foreseeable economic loss as a result of the accident.
Noneconomic damages are more difficult to calculate but are nevertheless recoverable in a personal injury claim for car accident injuries. Some examples of noneconomic damages include:
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
In cases where a court finds that a defendant’s actions were particularly outrageous and egregious, a plaintiff will be awarded punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to make an example of the defendant so as to deter people from committing similar acts in the future. Many states put a cap on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in a personal injury cause of action. In the State of Florida, an injured party can collect up to the greater of three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $500,000.
Contact Miami Car Accident Lawyer Prosper Shaked for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, do not wait any longer to retain an attorney to help you prove your case. The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked can give you an honest assessment of your case in a free initial consultation, develop a plan of action for recovery, and assist you from the beginning of litigation until your case is resolved. For a free and confidential consultation, call (305) 850-6053 or schedule a consultation using our online contact form. At The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked, we will do our best to use every resource available to help you get back on your feet and obtain the compensation you deserve.