Life in and around North Miami Beach is fast-paced and energetic. However, this same frenzy of activity, which makes the area exciting for locals and tourists alike, also creates the potential for busy and hazardous road conditions. Many drivers are rushing to reach their next designation and are not giving proper care and attention to the road. Statistics show that the greater Miami-Dade County area is one of the most dangerous areas in the State of Florida for drivers. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, more than one out of every six Florida vehicle crashes takes place in the Miami region. Likewise, the greater Miami Beach region consistently sees more than 50,000 car accidents per year, which comes to more than 4,000 accidents per month. More than 20 percent of the crashes that took place in the greater Miami region happened within the city limits of Miami.
If you sustained injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, the personal injury lawyers at Sibley Dolman may assist you with your case. Our attorneys can assist you with obtaining monetary compensation by emphasizing the strengths of your case and downplaying any weaknesses. In addition to being skilled negotiators, our attorneys are also experienced litigators and welcome the opportunity to take your case to trial, if necessary.
Preliminary Steps to Take Following Your Car Accident
No one asks to be injured in a car accident. However, when you do sustain injuries in an accident that someone else’s negligence caused, it is essential that you take prompt action to safeguard all of your legal rights. After contacting the police, exchanging insurance information with the other driver(s), and contacting your insurance company, you should seek immediate medical attention as soon as possible following your accident. You should take this step even if you do not believe that you were seriously injured in the accident. This is because—in the case of soft tissue injuries especially—symptoms do not always manifest themselves until long after the date of the accident.
When it comes to seeking medical treatment after a car accident, a skilled South Florida car accident attorney may assist you. A personal injury attorney may also refer you to a medical specialist or a pain management specialist. Once you complete all of your medical treatments and physical therapy, an experienced attorney can gather all of your medical bills and records and submit them to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, along with a settlement demand. Finally, an attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and file a timely claim or lawsuit, if necessary.
Proving Your Car Accident Case
Car accident cases can be complex and may be difficult to prove, depending on the facts and circumstances. As it pertains to car accidents and insurance, Florida is a “no-fault” state, and motorists are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This means that when a crash takes place, an injured accident victim must first turn to his or her own insurance company to pay the costs of medical care and lost wages. However, there are some exceptions to Florida’s “no-fault” law that allow an injured accident victim to file a claim or lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver’s insurer. For example, if the accident victim suffered a permanent injury because of the accident, then he or she may bring a claim for medical bills and lost wages, as well as for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. A permanent injury is defined as:
- A significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- A permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scars or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scars or disfigurement
Exception to Florida No-Fault
Another exception to Florida’s no-fault rule comes when the accident victim’s injuries are not permanent, but the medical bills or lost wages total more than the $10,000 in required PIP coverage. In that instance, the injured car accident victim may bring a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer to recover the medical bills or lost wages that the accident victim’s PIP insurance does not cover.
Determination of Damages
The amount of damages an injured car accident victim may be entitled to depend on many factors. One such factor is the property damage to the vehicles involved in the accident. Generally speaking, the more significant the property damage, the more compensable the claim and the more damages the accident victim may be entitled to. Likewise, the more severe and permanent the accident victim’s injuries, the more compensable his or her damage claim.
In addition to permanency damages, the estimated costs of future surgeries, medical procedures, medical care, or long-term care and treatment at a nursing home or assisted living facility may be added into the accident victim’s total damage figure. Finally, when Medicare, Medicaid, or a private insurer pay for some or all of an accident victim’s treatment, then that entity may be entitled to a lien—or set-aside—against a portion of the accident victim’s monetary recovery obtained via settlement or jury verdict. The good news about these liens, however, is that in most cases, they can be reduced. A car accident attorney can assist you with obtaining damages in your case and with getting any outstanding Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance liens reduced to a manageable amount.
Liable Parties in a Car Accident Case
In many cases, the matter of who is at fault for causing a car accident is quite clear since it is very often another driver that caused the accident. However, those that can be held liable for the car accidents that cause severe injuries are not limited to just other drivers. In fact, there can be multiple parties at once that contributed negligence that helped cause a car accident to occur and injure someone severely.
Companies That Own the Vehicle
In some situations, the vehicle that caused the accident may be owned and operated by a certain company and the vehicle was being driven by one of their employees. The negligent actions of the company’s employee can make them liable in a claim. This is the case because of vicarious liability which essentially means that someone can be held accountable for the actions of someone else typically when the person has a responsibility of control of the one party because of some amount of control they have over them which in this case would be the employer-employee relationship. Vicarious liability may also be known as respondeat superior.
Government Liability for Road Hazards
Roads are not always kept up to safe conditions which can cause car accidents. One car may crash into another because a driver loses control but a road hazard could contribute to the accident which can make whoever is responsible for maintaining the road liable. The state or federal government may be responsible for maintaining a road to safe driving conditions and can occasionally be negligent in this endeavor by failing to remove dangerous debris after given ample time, filling in dangerous holes in the road, or
Call a North Miami Beach Car Accident Attorney Today for a Free Legal Consultation and Initial Case Evaluation
Car accidents in South Florida often take place at high rates of speed and produce serious injuries. If you were injured in a car accident that someone else’s carelessness or negligence caused, you need skilled legal representation from Sibley Dolman on your side. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a North Miami Beach car accident attorney, please call us at (305) 676-8154 or contact us online today.
1820 NE 163rd St #306,
North Miami Beach, FL 33162