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 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 and it’s easy to find yourself as a crash victim.
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. Dealing with insurance claims adjusters, the responsible parties, and their attorneys can feel like a nightmare at times. Call for a free consultation with the experienced car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today for assistance in getting you the money you are entitled to.
How to Choose the Best Accident Attorney in Miami
One of the most important decisions you will make after suffering an injury in a car accident is which attorney you choose to help you recover compensation. It is essential to hire an attorney who has not only the experience in this area but also the time and attention to detail that is necessary for you to get the best possible recovery in your case. You should speak to multiple car accident attorneys before you make your decision. If an attorney tries to pressure you or make you uncomfortable, then it is important to understand that you can simply leave and seek help from someone else. Do not believe any guarantees from an attorney about the outcome of your case; the only thing that an attorney can guarantee is the effort that they will put into your case. In trying to decide which Miami car accident attorney is right for you, it is important to assess the following questions:
- Does the car accident attorney have any awards or accolades from any specific legal associations?
- Does the attorney have a transparent showing of authentic car accident client testimonials?
- Does the attorney have a good reputation in the local community and courts?
- Does the attorney have a track record for winning car accident cases just like yours and helping people recover proper compensation?
- Does the attorney have the proper time and resources to put into your car accident case?
- Will the attorney work on your case, or will you speak with their assistant every time you call?
At The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked, we lean on our successful experience in helping victims of Miami car accidents recover for their injuries. We use this past success to help guide us towards future victories for people just like you.
Should I Try to Negotiate My Car Accident Claim Without an Attorney?
You do have the option of speaking with your insurance company first to settle your car accident claim. The downside with doing this is you will be facing an insurance company car accident attorney or claims adjuster whose job is to minimize payouts to people who are insured by their company. You may be a “client” of an insurance company, but you are a client simply because you pay for their service, not because you have an actual relationship with the insurance company. If you look to negotiate your claim, you will also find that you are competing with a company with resources and experience that far outweigh whatever you can present on your own. To be able to negotiate any car accident claim properly, you will need to be able to answer a few questions on your own before speaking to anyone at your insurance company. These questions include:
- How much are you actually entitled to?
- What damages are the insurance company required to pay for?
- Which insurance company or companies are responsible?
- What about my ongoing medical expenses?
- Will my medical bills go into collections?
- Which doctor should I go to?
- Am I going to the right doctor?
- What about damages for my pain and suffering?
- What about my lost wages?
- What about punitive damages?
- Is the other driver liable for anything?
- What about the repair of my vehicle?
- Am I entitled to a rental?
- How will I get to my doctor’s appointments?
You are not expected to be able to answer these car accident questions on your own. Insurance companies know this and are trained in how to deal with those trying to represent themselves. Any settlement offers made to you by an insurance company are likely most beneficial to the insurance company, not you. If you don’t know what your case is worth to begin with, how can you properly negotiate your claim? The amount of money you might be entitled to is not just a number that is conjured out of thin air. It is a number that is calculated from the actual, recoverable expenses that you incur as the result of a car accident. In order to best understand what you can recover, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney who can help you calculate exactly what you are owed.
What Should I Do if I Was 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.
- Obtain a copy of the driver exchange of information from the police officer at the scene of the crash. This document contains important information needed to pursue your claim. Failure to obtain this information may delay your personal injury case.
- Seek medical attention if you were injured. 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.
- 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 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.
How We Handle Car Accident Cases at The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked
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.
How Long Do I Have to Sue For a Car Crash in Miami, FL?
In Florida, you have 4 years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the at-fault driver and/or vehicle owner. 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. If you are covered by an uninsured motorist policy, you will have up to 5 years to file a claim against the uninsured motorist insurance carrier.
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. Our attorneys will guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit and help you maximize your compensation.
How Much Money Can I Recover?
The total amount of money that we can recover for you really depends on (1) how much insurance is available to collect, (2) how badly you were injured, (3) the type of medical treatment your received, (4) how badly damaged the vehicles were after the crash, (5) how the accident occurred, (6) how much money you lost out on because you were unable work, and (7) how much income you will miss out on moving forward if you are unable to continue working or are limited in your ability to work due to the severity of the injuries. The types of compensation available are compensatory damages and punitive damages. The purpose of compensatory damages is to make the plaintiff “whole.” Compensatory damages are divided into two subcategories, economic – lost earnings, property damages, etc. – and noneconomic – Pain, suffering, etc.
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
Although quite rare, there are instances where a court can find that a defendant’s actions were particularly outrageous and egregious. In these cases, a plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant driver and make an example of them. Punitive damages are most often available in accidents caused by drunk and/or impaired drivers, drivers who were racing, and drivers who fled the scene of the crash. 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.
What are the Most Common Types of Injuries Sustained in Auto 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
What are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents in Miami?
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:
- Alcohol, Illegal Substances, and Prescription medications – 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.
- Negligence and Distractions – 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.
- Inclement weather conditions
- Speeding and Reckless Maneuvers
- 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.
- Roadway Design Defects – 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.
- Unfamiliar roadways
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-Dade, Florida Car Accident Facts and Statistics
In 2019, the most recent year with full statistics, there were a total of 401,867 car crashes according to the The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles annual report. Of these, 65,143 of the crashes occurred in Miami, Florida. This means that in 2019, 16.25% of Florida’s car accidents occurred in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Further studies by The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reveal that 31,698 individuals were injured as the result of auto accidents in Miami, FL in 2019. In fact, 298 of these car crashes resulted in death. 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. In fact, 22 of the individuals who died as the result of car accidents in Miami, Florida in 2019 were victims of alcohol related collisions.
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. Having worked on thousands of car accident cases in Miami, we find that a large number of accidents in Miami are caused by the following two types of drivers:
Drivers between the ages of 15 and 24 were involved in 17,831 accidents in Miami, Florida in 2019. Teen drivers face a fatality rate per mile that is three times higher than drivers who are age 20 and over. The newest drivers who are aged 16 or 17 are at the highest overall risk of being in a fatal crash. Because of these facts, younger drivers have more restrictions on their ability to drive a vehicle. New drivers must first obtain a ‘learner’s license’ and next an ‘intermediate license’ before they graduate to a full Florida driver’s license. Both of these types of licenses that teens are issued before they obtain their full Florida driver’s license impose driving restrictions. For example, a teen who holds an intermediate driver’s license is only allowed to drive between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., unless he or she is joined by an adult over the age of 21 who is a licensed driver. The adult driver must also be riding in the front passenger seat next to the teen driver.
Teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident in Miami than any other age group. Their lack of experience and susceptibility to be distracted can cause serious and even fatal injuries due to car accidents. A teen driver can also be held responsible for his or her failure to act with reasonable care as he or she may lack the ability to properly assess driving risks due to inexperience behind the wheel. Other behaviors such as speeding, texting while driving, or even driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in the teen driver being found negligent as a matter of law since they failed to follow required road regulations. Any driver under the age of 21 who is found to have driven with a blood-alcohol level of .02% or more will have their license immediately suspended by the state of Florida. These actions can and will likely lead to criminal charges for the teen driver, which can also infinitely strengthen your claim against the teen driver.
Miami is a place that is full of people, young and old. It is a hugely popular place for elderly people to retire and live by the beach for the rest of their days. The popularity of Miami for elderly people means that more elderly people are on the congested and crazy roads of Miami, inevitably leading to accidents. While older age may mean a slower pace of life, this slower pace is not shared by those who are younger. Elderly people find themselves in a world that is constantly evolving and moving more and more quickly. Age generally decreases people’s vision, hearing, and reaction times, which are critical to avoiding accidents on the road.
Florida has the highest number of drivers over the age of 65 who are involved in fatal car crashes. The state requires drivers who are over the age of 80 to pass a vision test before renewing their Florida driver’s license. Older drivers are also subject to other medical guidelines and review in relation to their ability to drive in the state of Florida. If you have been involved in an accident with an elderly driver, it is crucial to find out all of the information about the driver, as they may have a specific medical condition which affected their ability to drive safely.
What If the Other Driver Fled the Scene of the Crash?
If you are the victim in a hit and run accident, then you are likely wondering what you are able to do in order to recover money for your injuries. If the other driver is not found, then you will be able to recover money from your own car insurance company under Florida’s required personal injury protection coverage. If you have this coverage, then your Florida insurer will cover up to 80% of your medical bills, and up to 60% of your lost wages all the way up to how much coverage you have. You may also be able to recover under some other type of insurance coverage, such as uninsured and underinsured motorist protection. If you have specific questions about which coverage you may have in a hit and run accident, then you will need to speak to an experienced attorney who can best guide you.
When is someone guilty of a hit and run? Drivers are required to do certain things if they are involved in any sort of an accident, including:
- Stopping immediately at the scene of the accident, only moving as far as necessary to stop in a safe place away from traffic.
- Calling the police and ambulance if necessary, to help render aid.
- Exchanging information with all other drivers, which includes name, address, and insurance information
If a driver does not stop or do any of the following things above, then they can be held liable as a hit and run driver and will likely also face criminal charges for leaving the scene of the accident. In some cases, a driver might not realize he or she hit anybody and continue on as nothing happened. With the amount of technology in our cars today, that argument has become more and more difficult for hit and run drivers to make.
As a hit and run victim, the most helpful thing you have in your favor is the fact that Florida is a no-fault state. This allows you to seek recovery from your own insurance, which required you to purchase personal injury protection coverage that you probably would not have bought if it were not required here in Florida.
Can I Pursue a Case if My Family Member Was Killed in a Crash?
If a family member was involved in a fatal car crash in Miami, then you may be able to hold the driver financially responsible for the accident through a wrongful death claim. Pursuant to Florida’s wrongful death law, specific immediate family members can file suit and seek financial. compensation for the loss of their loved one if it can be proven that the death was the result of another’s negligence or misconduct. Liability here is typically proven under state negligence laws, as you have seen on this page.
If you are able to prove a defendant’s liability for the death of your loved one, then you are entitled to receive both economic and non-economic damages. You are entitled to have specific expenses covered that resulted from the accident, which includes any medical expenses, and funeral and burial expenses. If you are a dependent of the deceased, then you may be able to be compensated for the lost financial support you would have had otherwise, along with loss of companionship and any pain and suffering. To best understand what your options are after a fatal accident involving a loved one, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney immediately.
What if the Other Driver Has Bad Insurance?
Many drivers in the Miami area (a) cannot afford car insurance, (b) do not have bodily injury coverage, or (c) have bargain insurance policies through cheap auto insurance companies like United Automobile Insurance Company . Florida does not require drivers or vehicle owners to purchase bodily injury insurance coverage. However, vehicle owners can purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to pay for injury related damages sustained in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. If you purchase uninsured motorist coverage in Florida you receive both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage applies when the at-fault driver or vehicle do not have bodily injury insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage applies when the at-fault driver or vehicle have bodily injury coverage, but the amount of their coverage is not enough to fully compensate you. It is incredibly important to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance if you own and drive a car in Florida. When a driver who is responsible for an accident has limited bodily injury insurance or none at all, the amount of compensation available might not be sufficient to cover all of the costs and damages they caused. Additionally, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will provide you with coverage in the event that the at-fault vehicle flees the scene of the crash before anyone can collect their information.
We regularly take on clients who retained and were subsequently rejected by other law firms who informed them that there is no insurance available. When you call to discuss your case with us we will thoroughly analyze all of the available insurance policies to make sure that we can successfully pursue a personal injury case on your behalf. We find that many of our clients have no idea that they have uninsured motorist coverage. It is our job to make sure that all avenues are exhausted.
Can I Pursue a Personal Injury Case If I Received a Ticket for Causing the Accident?
Florida is a comparative fault state, which means that a determination has to be made about the level of fault apportioned for each party. Police officers responding to the scene of an accident often get the story wrong, especially in a diverse city like Miami where so many different languages are spoken. It is extremely common for Police officers in Miami to agree with the driver who best explains why the other vehicle caused the accident. Unfortunately, this does not work out too well for drivers who are not native English speakers.
The big question here is how fault is apportioned to the parties involved in a car accident. The basic and necessary thing that you need here is evidence. Every bit of evidence that you are able to present showing that the other party is at fault for the accident will be crucial in your recovery. The main types of evidence that are important to seek and collect include:
- All basic information from all the parties involved. This includes names, phone numbers, addresses, any insurance and vehicle information, and driver’s license numbers for anyone who was driving.
- Any information and statements from any eyewitnesses. It is important to collect their contact information for any follow up interviews.
- Pictures of everything. This includes any damage sustained to the vehicles involved or any nearby property, the scene, any traffic control devices such as stop signs or traffic lights, and any other evidence that is relevant to help show how a driver was driving at the time of the accident.
- Any and all medical reports, the results of any medical exams, and medical diagnoses made by qualified doctors. Any need for continued medical care will increase the amount of your potential payout.
- Police reports. These are crucial as law enforcement will do their own investigation and make their own determination of fault regarding a car accident. These reports can be refuted when they are incorrect or are not complete. The police reports are not evidence of anything and cannot be introduced into evidence at trial. It does not matter whether the police officer decides that you were at fault, the police officer’s decision has no bearing on the outcome of your personal injury case.
- An analysis of the crash scene and any injuries by a qualified expert. This information can be critical towards convincing an insurance company, a court, or a jury who was at fault and how an accident happened. Not all experts are able to do this type of work, it is important to make sure you have an accident reconstruction expert who has the necessary experience to be able to help you.
During our free consultation we will discuss all of these factors with you to help determine if your case is the type that we can help you with.
Can I Win My Case If the Other Driver Was Not 100% at Fault?
Yes. In some situations, the person you are suing in your car accident claim may point the finger back at you and claim that you are the actual cause of your injuries. Some states prevent someone from recovering any money for an accident they were partially or more than 50% at fault for. The law in the state of Florida is more forgiving, as it is a ‘comparative fault’ state. Under the comparative fault approach, the fault of each side is determined by a court and is based on all of the available evidence. A percentage of fault is apportioned to each side based on this determination, which will then affect recovery payouts.
For example: If a court determines that the plaintiff is 30% at fault in a car accident, then their maximum potential recovery will be reduced by 30%. This means that the defendant would only then be financially liable for 70% of the plaintiff’s medical expenses based on this apportionment of fault. What this means in the state of Florida is that even if you are more than 50% at fault, you can still recover money for your injuries. To best understand what your potential recovery for injuries suffered in a car accident claim can be, it is important to speak to an experienced Miami car accident lawyer like Prosper Shaked as soon as possible.
Contact Miami Auto Accident Attorney 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) 694-2676 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.