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 have 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 still 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 speed that the drivers were going and the location of the collision are determining factors in what kind of injuries result. 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 to occur. Oftentimes, there are several factors involved especially when the accident results in severe injuries and fatalities. Below is a list of factors that can cause a car accident to occur:
- 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 to ensue. 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 statistics from 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, 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.
270 of the car crashes in 2017 were fatal. These accidents took a total of 285 lives. While this is, fortunately, a low number and 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.
To put these numbers in perspective, these statistics mean that there are approximately 180 car accidents per day or 7 1/2 accidents per hour.
What to Do if You Were Involved in an Accident in the Miami Area
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 ok, 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.
- 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 the 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 Florida?
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.
Florida’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 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 always sue for their wrongful death as well. 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. 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.
How We Handle Car Accident Claims
Most car accidents 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
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.
How Can Miami Car Accident Attorney Prosper Shaked Help?
If you or a loved one have 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. How to contact our law firm: For a free and confidential consultation, call (305) 690-0244 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.