Miami Car Accidents
Miami car accidents happen extremely often. According to data from Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES), more than 1,000 accidents occur in Florida every single day. Before you’re done reading this page, another 7 accidents may happen.
A lot of the time, accidents cause significant damage, severe injury and even death. This year alone, Florida experienced approximately 1,190 fatalities and 87,176 crashes involving property damage.
Sadly, in the many of these cases, victims fail to file an accident claim, receive less than they should or even have their claims rejected. In many cases, injured persons may have their compensation compromised simply because they did not have the benefit of good advice.
There’s nothing more unfair than suffering damage or injury due to the fault of another person and having to bear the costs on your own. Unfortunately, it happens more often than you’d think.
In our experience representing victims of Miami car accidents and Doral accidents we have noticed one consistent theme. If you fail to act after a Miami car accident, your chances of recovering compensation may be much less.
The best way to avoid this is to ensure that you understand what the law on Miami car accidents is and how it affects you.
In order to help you, we have prepared this article that guides you on Miami car accidents law. It explains your rights in a Miami car accident and what you need to know to get the compensation you deserve. Let’s start with what should happen immediately after a Miami car accident.
What should you do immediately after a car accident?
There are essential things you need to do (and refrain from doing) after a Miami car accident. They will be vital to establishing a solid foundation for your claim to go on. Here are 7 of them:
#1: Remain at the scene
This is your obligation under the law. Florida law requires all drivers involved in the accident to stop at the scene and check if anyone is injured. If you are not seriously injured but someone else is, you are also required to provide ‘reasonable assistance’ to them. Note that it does not matter who was at fault for the accident.
If you leave the scene of the accident before the police and emergency services arrive, you could be charged with a hit and run offense. Yes, that’s right. it won’t matter that you never hit anybody. The only time you may be able to leave the scene is if you had to get help or search for a call signal to call for help.
#2: Call the police
If the crash results in injury or property damage of up to $500, you must report the accident to the local police department immediately. For example, immediately call Doral PD or Miami PD depending on where the accident occurred. If the accident did not occur within a municipality, you can report to the county sheriff or the nearest station of the Florida Highway Patrol. If it doesn’t involve injury or damage of this scale, you have 10 days to file a report.
Apart from being the law, reporting the accident allows you to get the facts of the accident on record. This goes a long way with insurance companies and will provide corroboration to your story. Make sure you request a copy of the crash report afterwards and check for any errors in the reporting. They could be damaging to your claim.
#3: Get medical treatment
On no account should you think you can walk off the injury after any car accident. Even if you think what you have is a minor injury, it is important to get checked out by a doctor at the scene of the accident or within 48 hours after the car accident.
If you delay medical treatment, the insurance company will likely use the delay against you. Also, keep in mind that it is common to notice pain or soreness days after the accident. Make sure you inform your doctor’s immediately. If you don’t, the insurer may use it against you to lower the value or even reject your claim entirely.
If you are worried about the cost of treatment, get in touch with your Miami car accident lawyer or personal injury attorney. They will be able to advise you on possible options to defray your treatment costs.
#4: Gather what evidence you can
Pictures and statements from witnesses present at the scene of the accident will be important to establishing your claim. Insurance loss adjusters are paid to investigate the accident and try to reduce the company’s liability to pay. So if there’s little evidence to prove your claim, you could be left with the short end of the stick.
If you have suffered serious injury, you might not be able to take pictures. But if you are conscious, you can ask a bystander to help you take pictures of the accident scene. Make sure any statements by witnesses are signed and dated. You can even record a video of the statement if they agree.
#5: Inform your insurer
Florida is a no fault state. This means that after your car accident, usually, you first may have to go after your insurer. Make sure to inform them about the accident as soon as possible.
Failing to inform them may be a breach of your insurance contract. This can make an issue that may even hold some grounds for rejecting your claim, devaluing your claim or even cancelling your policy.
#6: Be careful with your words
Remember this. Whatever you say at the scene of the accident may be used against you later. Not only by the insurance company, but also by the other party. Avoid statements like “I’m not really that injured”. If you turn out to be seriously injured later, the insurer may think you’re trying to lie or be dishonest.
Don’t say things like “I should have been more careful”, not even to the police. You should be truthful at all times, but never assume that you know the full facts of the accident. What you think was your fault may turn out to be the other party’s fault. Your duty is to merely state the facts. Later investigation will determine who is really at fault.
#7: Get in touch with a Miami car accident lawyer
Miami car accident lawyers are your best resource for resolving your car accident damages. Do not delay in contacting a Miami car accident lawyer. Doing everything listed above provides your Miami car accident lawyer with the necessary ammunition to fight for you and to take the fight to insurance companies and the other party on your behalf.
Insurance companies prefer to deal with you alone. They don’t want to deal with your lawyer. Insurance companies will try to pressure you into receiving a settlement offer before getting your lawyer involved. But you should not accept a settlement offer or sign any release before talking to a lawyer that is on your side. Insurers are only really looking out for themselves, not you. And if paying you less than your claim is worth will make their bottom line better and keep money on their side, that’s exactly what they’ll do. Always speak with an attorney and seek representation to ensure your best interest is properly fought for. Our team of Doral accident attorneys and Miami accident lawyers are ready to assist you with your needs.
What is the “no fault” system in Miami car accident law?
Miami is in the state of Florida. Florida is one of 12 US states that follow the no fault system, this means that Miami accidents and Doral accidents are governed by this system. Under this system, all parties in a car accident, may turn first to their own insurer for compensation.
To make the system work, every driver is required under Florida law to obtain personal injury protection of at least $10,000. The same amount is required for property damage protection. This way, if you are injured in a car accident, you can be assured of protection up to that amount, at the minimum. And it would not matter whether you caused the accident or not.
Fault will still be relevant though, in order to determine how much to pay out. The insurance loss adjuster will determine fault by estimating they think you should be entitled to after the accident. Remember, the adjuster works for the insurance company, not you. Your Miami car accident lawyer represents you, not the insurance company.
An issue with the no fault system is many drivers still get on Miami roads without insurance. According to Insurance Journal, nearly 1 in 8 US motorists are driving around without insurance in Florida. If you don’t have car insurance, you may have a bit of a problem recovering compensation under the no fault laws.
How can you claim compensation if you don’t have car insurance?
Miami car accidents cause damage. First thing to note is driving around without car insurance in Miami is an administrative offense. You could be liable to face suspension of your license, as well as a fine of between $150 and $500. That’s not the worst of the problem though. The question is what do you do when you are involved in a serious car accident?
If you are at fault for the accident, you don’t have to do anything. The other driver will simply claim from their own insurer and many times that may settle it. On your own part, you will have to pay out of pocket for any damage you suffer and could be exposed to liability as well. That’s the cost of driving without insurance.
If the other driver’s damage is more than their policy limit or if it involves very serious injury, you may be facing a lawsuit for compensation. The consequences of that aren’t pretty, as they may involve wage garnishment to pay up the judgment debt you owe.
If you were not at fault, you may still have to pay for your damage by yourself. The other driver will approach their own insurance company if they have an active policy at the time of the accident.
If you suffered permanent damage or if your property damage exceeds your policy limits, you can file a case in court against the at fault driver. In any of these instances, your Miami car accident lawyer will advise you on the proper course of action. If you have any questions speak to one of our Miami accident lawyers or Doral accident attorneys by scheduling a free case evaluation for your accident today.
How to prove your case in court
Miami car accidents can happen to anyone, but how do you prove your case in court? Should you have to pursue your claim before the court, there are certain things that you must prove to succeed. These are the elements of a car accident case, and they are basically two. First, you must prove that the other party was at fault for the accident and, second, you must prove that your injuries or damage rose from the fault of the other party.
In order to show that the other driver was at fault, your case would require proof of negligence or recklessness. Every driver owes every other road user a duty to drive carefully and in accordance with the law. This is a duty of care that they owe to other road users.
When a driver fails to drive according to the laws, they breach that duty of care. For instance, if the other party was texting while driving, they would have breached this duty.
For proof of your injuries, you would need to show that what you have suffered is a result of the driver’s breach. An example is showing that they failed to notice you and rear-ended your car because they were texting. This way, they would be held responsible for any injuries you suffered from the car accident.
While the process of proving these elements seems cut and dried as related here, the truth is it is rarely straightforward. However, your Miami accident lawyer will know exactly what facts to emphasize in order to show the fault of the other party and the injuries that resulted.
How long you have to file your case in court?
Miami car accidents have limitations to how long you have to file your case in court. Note that you don’t have forever to decide if you want to sue or not. Under Florida’s limitation law, you have 4 years from the date of the car accident to bring a lawsuit. If you fail to file before the end of the period, you may be barred from filing the case in court.
Even if your claim will be strictly dealt with only by your insurer, it is still important for you to start the claims process and seek medical attention as soon as possible. In practice, settlement of insurance claims is usually a complicated process.
The insurer will want enough time to investigate the claim properly. Even when they make an offer, there will be some back and forth before agreement is reached on an amount that both sides accept.
If you take too long to start the process, your case may be statute barred by the time you realize the insurer will not pay what you’re asking or it may be barred by a policy time limit as well. This would leave you with no choice other than to accept what they’re offering.
So it is important that you contact a qualified Miami car accident attorney, within days of the car accident. Our Miami Car accident lawyers and Doral attorneys are ready to help you today.
How a lawyer can help you?
Miami car accidents are always different, people wonder how a lawyer can help you and the answer is a lawyer can always help. The immediate aftermath of a Miami car accident is a sensitive period. This is because your claim will most likely be won or lost within that period. That is why you have to give yourself the best chance of recovering fair compensation. And that starts with hiring qualified legal counsel.
The car accident attorneys at PereGonza Law Group understand that a successful claim begins with in-depth preparation. Our goal is to help you recover a fair settlement as quickly as possible. But you have to help us achieve that by reaching out as soon as possible.
You don’t have to worry about how you will pay our fees. We will not take a dime from you if we don’t win. All you have to do is reach out to us today and start a conversation with one of our Doral car accident attorneys and/or Miami accident lawyers.