Helping Car Accident Victims in Miami for 24 Years

caraccidentAny accident can leave a person feeling physically, emotionally, and financially drained. Specifically, Florida has been known for its frequent car accidents and collisions. According to Allstate Insurance, Miami ranks number 9 for being one of the worst cities to drive in. This inadvertently makes Miami a complex city that houses many reckless drivers. Although it may not seem like much, Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES) reports that Florida drivers have an 8.59% chance of being involved in a traffic crash as of 2014. Therefore, it may prove essential to hire the help of an experienced car accident attorney in Miami from the Law Offices of Suarez & Montero.

Car Accident Statistical Information

In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report that projects the number of fatalities due to injuries sustained in car accidents for the first quarter of 2019. The report estimates that about 8,110 persons died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a decrease of about 1 percent as compared to 8,200 fatalities that were projected to have occurred in the first quarter of 2018. See Table 1 and Figure 1 below. The first quarter of 2019 represents the eighth consecutive quarter with year- to-year decreases in fatalities and the fatality rate. The actual counts for 2018 and 2019 and any change from 2018 to 2019 will be further revised as the annual reporting FARS files for 2018 are available later this year, as well as when the final file for 2018 and the annual reporting file for 2019 are available next year.

Car Accident Stats Miami
Miami Car Accident Stats

What are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?

More than half of all accidents in Florida result in an injury to the driver or his or her passengers. Our lawyers are familiar with the many types of injuries caused by car accidents. At Suarez & Montero, our knowledgeable lawyers understand that serious injuries can significantly impact your quality of life. When you or a loved one sustain injuries in a car accident, you and your loved ones deserve to be compensated appropriately by the at fault party. Our attorneys are familiar with the various types of injuries that are caused by car accidents including:

  • Catastrophic Injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Bruising
  • Whiplash
  • Concussion
  • Eye injury
  • Chest injury
  • Degloving injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Amputation
  • Paralysis
  • Wrongful death.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries

What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?

When most people think about car crashes, most people think about drunk driving. While driving while under the influence of drugs is definitely one of the most common ways that accidents are caused, there are several other causes of car accidents including:

  • Speeding: Research shows that most drivers speed when driving even when there is no need to do so. Sadly, almost 31 percent of all fatal car crashes in the U.S. are caused by excessive speeding. Remember, Local and state governments set specific speed limits for a reason, your safety. Exceeding posted speed limits prevents drivers from operating vehicles with due care, often resulting in terrible car accidents that can be fatal.
  • Drunk Driving: Drinking and driving is a leading cause of deadly car crashes in South Florida.
  • Distracted Driving: Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction while driving. Distractions are everywhere on today’s highways and roads. It can be difficult for many drivers to stay focused while operating vehicles. To put things into perspective, a 2016 study by the NHTSA states that approximately 391,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver and 3,477 people were killed due to distracted driving.

What to Do If You Were Involved in a Car Accident in Miami, FL

If you are involved in a car accident, the first thing you should do is offer assistance to anyone who is hurt. This means you should offer to call 911 and call the police. When it’s safe, if possible, exchange contact information with all of drivers involved in the accident. This includes driver’s license information if asked, insurance information, phone number, etc. Offer the same information to any law enforcement officer on the scene and investigating the incident. In addition, provide the officer with your insurance information.

Should I Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?

If you have been involved in a car accident resulting in a physical injury, your likely next step is to file a claim with your insurance provider in addition to the insurance provider of the at-fault party. Depending on the severity of the accident, damage to your car, and injuries sustained, your car accident can turn into a legal battle with your insurance company. Since Florida is a no-fault state, a PIP insurance (Personal Injury Protection) claim will be opened. Additionally, you will need to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider in order to pay for the medical bills and lost wages that exceed PIP’s $10,000.00 limit. At this point, it will be up to the insurance company to determine the outcome of your claim. If they decide to underpay or undervalue your claim or deny your claim all together, you may need legal help. If this is your situation, then you may want to consider hiring a personal injury attorney.

How to Choose the Right Miami Car Accident Attorney

Accidents happen in South Florida every single day. If you’ve been involved in a car accident and think you may have a case, you may be wondering how to find the right attorney. The attorneys at Suarez & Montero have come up with a short guide of suggestions for anyone who is looking to hire an attorney for their personal injury claim after a car accident. Here is a short list of suggestions that may aide you in your search for the right Miami car accident attorney:

  • Education and Qualifications: If the attorney’s website doesn’t list their education and qualifications, then ask them for it. If there is an issue in getting this information that should be a clue that maybe this isn’t the best car accident attorney for your Miami injury case.
  • Reviews: Google the lawyer and the law firm. Read their reviews from other clients. You might find out valuable information about the Miami personal injury lawyer you are considering. Be alert to what others say about them, especially on independent review sites.
  • Experience: Look for experience with your type of case specifically. Have they tried or settled similar cases in your city or county? Do they have an office near you?
  • Staff: Evaluate the complete team of staff, not just the partners or people who make up the face of the law firm. Keep in mind as you research and interact with the firm that it may not be the same person you speak with initially who will be your primary contact.

When Can I Sue for a Car Accident in Florida?

After a person experiences a car accident in South Florida, it is recommended that you reach out and speak with a lawyer about your case. A car accident lawyer will gather as much information as possible concerning your accident and make an attempt to settle your insurance claim. An insurance adjuster and your attorney will try and reach an agreement as to the settlement amount. If this attempt is unsuccessful or it appears that the insurance company’s offer to settle is too low, the next step is to file a lawsuit.

What Do I Need to Know About Florida Car Accident Laws?

All drivers in Florida should have a basic understanding car accident laws in Florida in the event that they are involved in a car accident. For new drivers, or drivers who need to refresh their memory, here’s what you need to know about the car accident laws in Florida:

You Must Report the Accident. Florida law requires all drivers to stop at the scene of an accident to help anyone who’s injured. If the accident causes injuries or damage in excess of $500, it must be reported to local law enforcement (police, sheriff, or highway patrol).

You Must Not Leave the Scene of The Accident. If injuries occurred, you’re required to stay at the scene of the accident. You must also exchange information (name, address, vehicle registration) with all parties involved. While not required by law, you should also write down the names and contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident take place. Other important details to note include weather conditions and road conditions.

You Must Not Block a Roadway with Your Car. You must also move your car if it blocks traffic or arrange for a tow service if you cannot move the vehicle yourself. It’s a violation of Florida law to block the roadway with your vehicle, so try to move it over to the side if you can do so safely.

You Must Obtain Insurance. All Florida drivers are required to purchase car insurance and have proof of insurance in their vehicle. Per Florida law, the minimum insurance drivers must have been at least $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 for property damage liability (PDL). PIP covers non-property related costs such as personal injury and lost wages.

Florida is a “no-fault” state. This means that each driver’s insurance company pays for their own accident costs—regardless of fault. If an accident causes someone more damage or injuries than your insurance policy covers, you may have a right to sue you for additional damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations in Florida is Four Years from Date of Accident. If you’ve been injured or subject to property damage in an incident in which the other party was driving under the influence or otherwise negligent, you have up to four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

Pure Comparative Fault applies in Florida. Even if both drivers are found to be at fault in an accident, you may still be able to file an insurance claim in Florida. Florida follows what is known as a “pure comparative fault” system. This means contributory fault to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and noneconomic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault but does not bar recovery. For instance, if you’re found to be 60 percent at fault for an accident that resulted in $10,000 in damages, you are still eligible for suing for 40 percent of the damages ($4,000).

Compensation for Injuries Suffered in A Car Accident

If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, you may be thinking about the different types of damages you may be entitled to. Damages are compensation provided to a plaintiff (person filing a lawsuit) for harm or injury suffered as a result of another’s negligence. The amount of damages a plaintiff may recover depends on the circumstances of the case, including the following: the negligence committed; the injury suffered; and the identity of the defendant. Generally, damages are payable for actual losses suffered from your accident. Since Florida is a comparative negligence state, if a plaintiff is partially at fault for an accident in which they suffer harm, that person’s recovery of damages will be reduced. Some examples of damages include medical treatment, replacing damaged or destroyed property, losses suffered as a result of not being able to attend work, and other damages depending on your circumstances and the facts of your case. Most of the time, an insurance company will pay for the following types of damages:

Medical Treatment:

Accidents involving cars where injuries are sustained including vary from minor whiplash injuries to permanent disability or death. Thankfully, a significant number of people injured in car accidents each year are able to make a full recovery but in order to do so in the shortest time possible it is normal to require a period of therapy, specialist treatment or other type of medical assistance under the supervision of a doctor. As well as consultations, you may need crutches, bandages, heat pads, or other items to assist in your recovery and these can also be claimed as an expense. Your PIP coverage will pay 80 percent of “all reasonable” necessary medical expenses, as long as you seek medical attention within 14 days after your car accident.

Damage to Your Car:

If there are any items belonging to you that were damaged in the car accident, you will be able to include them in your claim for their repair or replacement as personal property. Although the most obvious of these is the vehicle itself, claims under this category can include clothing, shoes and jewelry amongst others.

Lost Wages:

Lost wages from missed time at work due to injuries from a car accident are compensable. A full recovery requires complete rest so a person’s body can heal. Depending on the nature of the injury, accident victims might not be able to return to work for weeks or months. Those who must engage in large amounts of manual labor in their jobs still may have work restrictions when they return, sometimes resulting in lost wages because of reduced hours or reduced duties.

Pain and Suffering:

When you file a car accident lawsuit, you can also ask for compensation for non-economic damages. This is one of the most important reasons to enlist the help of a qualified attorney. Damages payable for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of a car accident are payable based on the type of injury, the extent of the pain suffered, and the prognosis for the injury in the future. If the accident victim is likely to suffer pain for the rest of his or her life, damages will be greater than if he or she is likely to make a full recovery within a few years. Damages for pain and suffering aren’t purely paid out for physical afflictions: it is also possible to claim for psychological injury and emotional damage. This can include embarrassment, humiliation and shock as well as anxiety and stress.

Loss of Affection:

If an injury sustained by a person in a car accident affects their marriage, it may be possible to claim for loss of companionship, care, affection and sexual relations. Unlike the other types of damages, it is the uninjured spouse who makes this claim, which is dependent on the success of the plaintiff’s claim.

Call our Experienced Miami Car Accident Lawyer Today

At Suarez & Montero Car Accident Attorneys, our clients know they can trust our team of highly experienced and well-informed car accident attorneys to deliver the type of aggressive legal representation needed to take on insurance companies. If you’ve been in any type of vehicular accident, let our motor vehicle accident lawyers review your claim! Our skilled Miami car accident attorneys will work around the clock to hold the appropriate parties responsible for your injuries. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. Let us review your case and discuss your legal options. Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.

Here are some of the types of Accident Cases We Handle:

Schedule a FREE Consultation ! Call 305-631-1911

We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:

Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.

Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston; and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.

Miami Car Accident - Blog/News

Car Accident Resources

Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Auto Warranties and Maintenance – Provides consumer education materials on automobile warranties and the importance of routine maintenance.

Insurance Information Institute: Auto Insurance – Great introduction to automobile insurance, with information to help you choose the right policy or make a claim.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – Provides crash statistics and articles about automobile accidents, product safety, and child passenger safety.

National Safety Council (NSC): Driving information – Information about defensive driving, distracted driving, employer traffic safety, teen driving, and related topics.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – Features consumer publications, product recalls, reports on unsafe products, statistics and more; including content pertaining to automobile safety.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) – Features automobile statistics, dockets, rules and references; with dedicated sections on distracted driving and other vehicle safety issues. – Comprehensive resource for car owners, car shoppers, and parents; with crash test ratings, recalls, and other automobile safety information (NHTSA).

The Center for Auto Safety – Organization that provides news headlines and action alerts for defective automobiles and other vehicle safety information.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation – Organization that develops comprehensive safety training programs for motorcyclists.

Motorcycle Safety (NHTSA) – Motorcycle safety guide published by the NHTSA in conjunction with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Frequently Asked Questions

To successfully prove your case, you must show that the party who is at-fault acted negligently. Negligence is any behavior that falls below the standard of care expected of a reasonable person and causes harm to another person. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably careful person would use under like circumstances. Negligence is doing something that a reasonably careful person would not do under like circumstances or failing to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under like circumstances.

Rear-end car accidents collisions are very common in South Florida. Some occur at intersections and any more occur on the highways. Some of the worst types of accidents involve sometimes tens of vehicles at a time. And, of course, there are rear-end collisions in parking lots of shopping centers and at restaurants. In Florida, when an accident is caused by a rear-end collision, the rear driver is presumed to be at fault. Generally, to prove negligence in a rear-end collision case, there must be a breach of the duty of care. Generally, where other vehicles are able to stop behind the lead vehicle, the driver of the last vehicle that precipitates the chain reaction collision has breached the duty of care and is negligent. In a rear- end collision case, it must be established that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. Causation is often disputed. In cases where the rear- end collision involves more than two vehicles, causation is an issue that can become complicated.

One of the first concerns in handling an automobile accident case is procuring the client’s insurance benefits. Often the client is out of work and is receiving medical bills and collection letters on a regular basis. We make sure that the personal injury protection (PIP) application forms are provided to the carrier and benefits are paid as soon as possible. Under Florida law provides that benefits received through PIP coverage are primary, except that any workers’ compensation benefits received must be credited against the PIP benefits. Effectively, this means that both PIP and workers’ compensation are primary coverage for a work-related automobile accident.

Gap insurance is not an insurance coverage that is mandated by Florida law, but some drivers are required to pay for gap insurance as a condition on their lease or auto loan. If you loaned or leased a fairly new vehicle, gap insurance can be valuable because you may owe more money on the car than the car is currently worth, as measured by the vehicle’s actual cash value. As your car ages, its value drops quickly, and most policies only cover a vehicle’s current value. Once you have gap insurance, make sure to periodically monitor your vehicle’s change in value over time and compare that to your loan balance. As soon as you’re no longer “upside down” (you owe less than your car is worth) you can go ahead and remove gap insurance coverage from your vehicle.

A proposal for settlement is a pretrial litigation tool. In Florida, a plaintiff may serve a proposal for settlement no earlier than 90 days after effecting service of process on a defendant in the case. No proposal may be served later than 45 days before the trial date or the first date of the docket on which the case is set for trial, whichever is earlier. If the defendant does not accept the settlement offer within 30 days and the plaintiff’s net recovery against the defendant is at least 25% greater than the settlement proposal, the plaintiff is entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees and costs. There are several different provisions that must be included in a settlement proposal.

When you hire a lawyer to represent you on a contingency fee basis, your interests and those of your attorney are very much on the same page as they will only receive a fee when they are successful in recovering compensation for you. If a lawyer’s fee structure is contingency based (in which case they are paid a portion of the allotted damages if they win the case), working capital is needed to cover various expenditures. In most cases, costs are advanced on behalf of the client and are payable, at the conclusion of the case.