If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is vital that you consult a car accident lawyer who has experience and success handling auto accident claims. Dealing with insurance claims adjusters, the responsible parties, and their attorneys can feel like a nightmare at times. We work to get your vehicle repaired or replaced as quicky as possible and we guarantee that you will not pay us anything unless we win your case. Call for a free consultation with Prosper Shaked today.
How to Choose the Best Car Accident Lawyer in Miami-Dade County
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 car accident lawyer is right for you, it is important to assess the following questions:
- Wil the attorney handle the vehicle repair and property damage claim at no cost?
- Does the 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 Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA, we lean on our successful experience in helping victims of car accidents recover for their injuries. We use this past success to help guide us towards future victories for people just like you.
How Much is a Car Accident Injury Case Worth?
The total amount of money that you can recover in an auto accident personal injury case depends on the following factors:
- Insurance: The amount of bodily injury and uninsured motorist insurance coverage that is available will control the maximum value of your case in most cases involving non-commercial vehicles. If your claim is worth $100,000.00, but the car that hit you only has $10,000.00 in bodily injury insurance coverage, your settlement may be limited to only $10,000.00. Alternatively, if your case is worth $100,000.00 and the vehicle that hit you has $250,000.00 in bodily injury coverage, you may be able to obtain the full value of your case and then some.
- Severity of Injuries: This is the most obvious factor in determining how much a case is worth—the more severe the injuries, the greater the case value.
- Medical Care: Serious injuries often require more intensive and frequent medical treatment than minor injuries. For example, a car accident victim who is hospitalized and forced to undergo a three cervical disc replacement surgery will likely incur over $150,000.00 in medical expenses. The defendant driver is responsible for paying these medical bills when it comes time to settle the case. On the flip side, a car accident victim who suffers minor injuries and visits a chiropractor five times will not have very many medical expenses. These medical expenses are economic damages that drive the value of car accident cases.
- Lost Wages: The total amount of time you were forced to take off of work directly impacts the value of your settlement because the lost wages are recoverable. Moreover, if you can no longer work or if you are unable to continue the same type of work due to your injuries, the defendant will be responsible for paying you the future wages you no longer have the ability to earn.
- Property Damage: Insurance carriers often pay much better settlements when there is significant property damage to the vehicles involved. In cases where there is minor property damage, the defendant and their insurance company will argue that your injuries could not have been caused by the accident and that your injuries were preexisting.
- Comparative Fault: Your total settlement or judgment will depend on whether you contributed to causing the accident. Florida is a comparative fault state. For example, in the event of a rear-end collision, if a jury decides that the other driver was 100% at fault, you will receive 100% of the total judgment awarded. However, if it is difficult for the jury to determine that the defendant driver was entirely to blame, the jury may decide that the other driver was only 70% at fault. In a situation like this, your award will be reduced by 30% because the jury decided that you were 30% to blame and the other driver was 70% to blame.
- Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering are non-economic damages that are difficult to calculate without looking at the total picture. The value of your pain and suffering depends on the other factors listed above. The amount of pain and suffering a car accident victim can collect often depends on the severity of their injuries.
What Should I Do if I Was Involved in an 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:
- Move Vehicle Out of the Way: 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. Safety should be your number one priority at this point.
- Call 911: 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.
- Get the Driver Exchange of Information: Obtain a copy of the driver’s 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.
- Get Medical Treatment: Seek medical attention if you were injured. The full effect of injuries is often not readily apparent. Many severe and long-term injuries do not surface until weeks or months after an accident. It is critical to seek immediate medical attention and legal representation.
- Photograph: Take photos and videos of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved.
- No Recorded Statements: 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. If you retain a car accident attorney, they will handle all communication for 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 successfully negotiate any car accident claim, you should know the answers to the following questions:
- How much is my case worth?
- What damages are the insurance company required to pay for?
- Which insurance company should I file a claim with?
- Which insurance company is paying for my medical bills?
- Will my medical bills go into collections if they are not paid on time?
- Which doctors should I go to?
- Which insurance company is responsible for paying my lost wages?
- Which insurance company is responsible for paying for my vehicle’s repair?
- Am I entitled to a rental car while my vehicle is at the body shop?
- How will I get to my doctors appointments?
You are not expected 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 is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
Personal injury protection or “PIP” is a type of first-party automotive insurance coverage that pays for medical benefits and lost wages. PIP is required on all personal car insurance policies in the State of Florida. If you were the passenger or driver of an insured vehicle registered in Florida, then PIP will likely apply in your case.
These medical payments are made directly to the medical providers, and the lost wages are paid directly to the accident victim so long as the claim is submitted correctly to the insurance carrier. At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA, we ensure that your PIP claim is properly handled so that you receive the full extent of your benefits.
What Does No-Fault State Mean?
Florida is a called “no-fault” state because all vehicles are required to have PIP insurance coverage. The PIP coverage pays up to $10,000.00 in medical bills and lost wages regardless of who caused the accident. However, this does not mean that accident victims cannot or should not still pursue a personal injury case against the driver and/or owner of the vehicle that caused the accident.
Why Hire an Attorney if Florida is a No-Fault State?
There are several reasons to hire an accident attorney and pursue a personal injury case even if you are eligible to receive $10,000.00 in No-Fault or “PIP” benefits:
- PIP insurance pays just 80% of all medical bills until a total of $10,000.00 has been paid out. This means that you will be left to pay the remaining 20% balance for any medical bills that PIP helped pay. For example, if PIP paid $10,000.00 in medical benefits, you will have a minimum of $2,000.00 in unpaid medical bills.
- PIP insurance often includes a $1,000.00 deductible.
- PIP insurance coverage does not provide compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
- PIP insurance coverage is limited to $10,000.00, which is wholly insufficient to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain in suffering in most cases.
In order to make a full recovery, it is necessary to pursue a claim against the at-fault parties. As with most car accident lawyers in Florida, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that our fee is a percentage of the final recovery. However, we do not take any portion of the PIP benefits that you receive. Our clients regularly receive their full $10,000.00 in PIP benefits before their accident case against the at-fault driver is resolved.
What are the Most Common Types of Car Accident Injuries?
Every motor vehicle 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 include:
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Spinal injuries
- Brain injuries
- Knee and leg injuries
- Chest and arm injuries
- Internal bleeding
Causes of Car Accidents in Miami-Dade County, Florida
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 – It rains heavy and frequently here in South Florida. The constant rain and flooding pose risks to drivers that often cause accidents.
- Speeding, Reckless Maneuvers and Tailgating – Miami is home to some of the worst drivers in the country. Reckless and careless drivers are abundant.
- Traffic Violations and Ignoring Street Signs –Accidents often occur because a driver either misses or ignores a traffic sign or red light. 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.
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.
How Long Do I Have to Sue For a Car Crash in Miami?
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.
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.
Can I Pursue a Personal Injury Case If I Was Partially at Fault for Causing the Accident?
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.
Things to Know About Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers In Miami
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 discount auto insurance companies. In fact, 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.
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. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will even 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.
Contact Miami Car 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. 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 Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA, we will do our best to use every resource available to help you get back on your feet and obtain the compensation you deserve.