Miami Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve sustained significant injury in an accident in Miami, you may qualify to press legal charges against the other driver if their negligent actions contributed to the accident.
A skilled lawyer from Flanagan Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Law Firm, P.A can guide you through the claims process in a way that allows you to treat your injuries and address the emotional aspect of the collision while still seeking legal recourse in a timely manner.
When Can I File a Lawsuit?
Though it’s nice to know that you’re covered in an accident, that does not mean the coverage granted by your insurance addresses all damage associated with an accident. Different no-fault insurance states set guidelines that dictate when a driver qualifies to pursue legal action outside of the insurance coverage process. Many states set a clear threshold limit for costs associated with the injured driver’s medical bills, but Miami only requires that the driver sustain:
- Permanent injury
- Significant and/or permanent scarring
- Significant and/or permanent loss of function in a body part
Though Miami does not set a strict figure-based minimum to determine who can press charges, the injured driver must still sustain injury serious enough to cause significant damage. If you qualify to pursue a personal injury claim, you then fall under Florida’s negligence laws.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
When pursuing a personal injury claim, an attorney is a crucial tool to use during the evidence-gathering process. A skilled Miami car accident attorney attorney helps their client obtain valid evidence through an investigation of their case. This means offering services like witness investigation, examining the scene of the accident, and even expert witness consultation, when applicable. One valuable role that a car accident attorney plays is in negotiating your settlement.
Settlement negotiation can be a difficult process to navigate on your own. Claims adjustors don’t have your best interest in mind – but our attorneys do. We offer counsel that gives clients valuable information about what to say, and what not to say, to a claims adjustor, and can even create a settlement figure based on your damages. During negotiation, this figure acts a reference point in determining whether to reject or accept a settlement offer.
We are ready to help with your Miami car accident claim
Our attorneys offer their thoughtful, client-based services to those that have suffered life-changing, traumatic accidents due to a third-party’s negligence. We have supported and represented our clients in their endeavor to recover costs associated with the damages they’ve suffered. Our attorneys understand that the personal injury process is not solely based in compensation for bodily injuries.
In all life-changing car accidents, it is common to experience some form of emotional trauma. Our lawyers help their clients work through the legal process while remaining sensitive to their emotional well-being. We have helped numerous individuals and families recover for all forms of damage caused by an accident, even when other firms refuse to serve them.
Our track record of success
One of our successful car accident cases involves a client who sustained a herniated disc following a collision. Our lead attorney, Michael T. Flanagan, represented this individual, helping them secure $700,000 in compensation for their damages.
Our attorneys are also equipped to handle trickier cases against entities that might work against you. In a case involving Geico, this well-known insurance company claimed that our client lied about injuries associated with an accident after refusing to settle a fair amount for his injuries. We successfully represented this client, securing him $250,000 in compensation.
Damages You Can Recover
Car accidents victims are eligible to recover various damages depending on the circumstances of your case. You may be able to recover:
- Medical bills. You may be able eligible to recover any medical bills you incurred because of the accident. You also have a right to compensation for any future medical treatments for your injuries.
- Lost wages. If your injuries led to you losing income from missing work, then you can recover for your losses.
- Pain and suffering. Aside from financial losses like medical bills and lost wages, you can also recover for any past and future suffering due to your injuries. This can include physical pain, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the responsible party for your damages and discourage further negligent or reckless behavior. These damages are rare and occur in cases where the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional.
Because of the complex processes of determining fair values for non-financial damages and future losses, working with an attorney is your best path to achieving the maximum value for your case. That being said, every case is different and may have a different value in court.
Causes of Car Accidents
While there are numerous potential causes for car accidents, many are the result of preventable human error. Your accident may have been the result of:
- Distracted driving. Any activity that takes your attention away from the road constitutes distracted driving, including looking at your cell phone, texting while driving, talking to other passengers in the car, and eating.
- Driving under the influence. Drunk driving is not only a crime, but also decreases attention span, causes delayed reaction times, and interferes with critical thinking.
- Reckless driving. Whenever drivers act aggressively, change lanes too quickly, drive over the speed limit, or otherwise, they are driving recklessly and can cause accidents like rollovers.
- Inclement weather like heavy rains can create unsafe roadway conditions, especially when drivers do not adjust their speeds appropriately or can’t see their surroundings, causing motorcycle accidents.
- Design defects. When a vehicle design or part is defective, it can increase the risks of crashing.
In many automobile incidents, these causes amount to negligence on a driver or manufacturer’s part. When that happens, the party’s negligence contributes to their fault for your accident.
Miami’s No-Fault Insurance System
Florida is one of twelve states that operates under a mandatory no-fault insurance system. No fault insurance systems are self-explanatory in that each driver’s insurance company covers their own driver, without assigning a fault rating like fault-based states do.
No-fault insurance states remove the interaction between both parties in a collision. Individuals involved in minor accidents cannot pursue any form of claim against the other driver unless they qualify. Most car accidents, however, do not. Minor fender benders and other small collisions must not enter the court circuit – keeping the court system clear of minor small claims is one of the purposes of no-fault insurance.
In Florida, all registered driver must meet the minimum caps for their base insurance plan and liability insurance. Florida requires drivers to purchase a minimum of $10,000 in both property liability and personal injury protection (PIP) to cover for damages the driver could sustain in an accident. However, the state does recommend that drivers also purchase bodily injury liability insurance, which covers at-fault drivers if the other driver involved qualifies to sue via personal injury claim. In Florida, liability insurance is not mandatory – only PIP and property damage liability are.
Florida’s Comparative Negligence Laws
Florida operates under pure comparative negligence laws. In circumstances where an injured driver qualifies to press charges, the fault-based rating system comes into play. This means either the insurance company or the court assigns a percentage-based fault rating to each party. Evidence-gathering is a crucial aspect of this process because the plaintiff’s total compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault they possess. This is where a legal professional comes into play.
Car Accident Statistics in Florida
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 395,785 automobile crashes statewide in 2016. Out of those crashes, 2,935 were fatal accidents that resulted in over 3,176 deaths, and 165,940 crashes resulted in 254,155 injuries – with 17,568 crashes leading to 21,645 incapacitating injuries.
Driving while under the influence is also a major contributor to car accidents, with alcohol contributing to 5,223 crashes in 2016. Drugs also played a role in 617 accidents.
In the same year, young drivers between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four were involved in over 130,000 car accidents. Over 34,000 of those accidents led to injuries, with 353 accidents ending in fatalities across the age group.
Car Accident Laws in Florida
Florida is a “no-fault”(PIP) state when it comes to car accidents. This means that you can recover money from your PIP insurance carrier for your medical bills caused by the accident regardless of negligence. If you can establish that the accident was caused by another person’s negligence, you can recover compensation for lost wages and future medical bills from that person’s bodily injury insurance company. Moreover, if you suffered a permanent injury, you can recover pain and suffering and other damages from the negligent person’s bodily injury insurance. If the at-fault party does not carrier bodily injury insurance, you can recover from your Uninsured/Underinsured motorist insurance.
However, in Florida bodily injury insurance and Uninsured/Underinsured motorist insurance is not mandatory. Florida is one of only two states that does not mandate that all drivers have bodily injury insurance. The result is that in many cases, there is no insurance coverage for victims’ injuries. At our firm, we work to discover all available insurance and explore all possible avenues of recovery. We have a history of success in turning low-value or low-insurance cases into large recoveries.
Who Is Liable for a Car Accident?
Liability in a car accident refers to which party is responsible for causing the incident – and thus should pay for any damages. If the other driver was acting negligently by violating traffic laws, then he or she would be liable for your injuries. In a car accident, you can establish fault by:
- Proving that the other driver acted negligently
- Those negligent actions led to the accident
- The accident was responsible for your injuries, and
- Your injuries are serious enough to require compensation
Without proving liability, you will not be able to recover damages for your accident. Aside from being a no-fault insurance state, Florida law also works under a rule of comparative negligence. If the court finds you partially responsible for your accident, then the courts will reduce any compensation by your percentage of fault.
For example, if your total damages in the claim were $100,000, but the court found you 20 percent responsible for the accident, then you would only receive $80,000 in compensation. In Florida, you can recover as long as you were not solely responsible for the accident. Florida is a “pure comparative negligence” state.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
An attorney can help you evaluate your case and inform you of your legal options. Your lawyer will be able to help you evaluate if an insurance company is offering you a fair settlement offer, and, if necessary, fight for your right to compensation in court. Insurance companies often attempt to take advantage of car accident victims that do not have a lawyer. Oftentimes, they will make unfair settlement offers to unrepresented claimants shortly after the accident. This is an attempt to take advantage of unrepresented victims before they have a lawyer to protect their rights. You need a lawyer to make sure that you obtain maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.
Contact Us Today
When you suffer an injury in a car accident, you don’t have to face the courts alone. Our experienced attorneys have a history of protecting the rights of our clients through successful Miami personal injury claims. When you trust us with your claim, we’ll handle your legal matters so that you can focus on recovery.
Contact us to arrange your free consultation today.