In Coral Gables, car accidents and injuries arising from them are fairly common. Contacting a car accident lawyer, especially an experienced legal team with multiple individuals assigned to your case, gives you someone to help you navigate the complex world of insurance claims and court processes and get your life back to normal quickly.
Although a claim might seem straightforward, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, such as those at the Ward Law Group, PL, gives you an advantage in negotiating a settlement and obtaining fair compensation from an insurance company. Ward Law serves clients in Coral Gables, Miami Lakes, Fort Lauderdale, and other surrounding areas.
What should I do after a car accident in Coral Gables?
More than two million people are injured as a result of a car accident every year. This large number does not even include the number of car accidents that didn't result in injuries. After a car accident, a million things can be going through your head about damage to the car, dealing with insurance, how to pay for medical bills, and so much more. Even if your case seems straightforward, contacting a car accident lawyer can help make the process more streamlined for you.
Immediately after being involved in a car accident, it is important to stay calm and check yourself and anyone else in your car for injuries. Once you are in a safe area, it is important to call 911 for an officer to document the accident and create a report to help with the handling of insurance and any case that may arise.
Florida law requires that for any crash involving injury or death, or at least $500 in estimated property damages, you must contact local law enforcement.
After calling law enforcement, gathering evidence from the immediate area, and seeking medical attention, the next step is to report the accident to your insurance company and contact a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights and help ensure adequate compensation. All of these steps can help you in any potential claims for financial compensation.
How common are car accidents in Coral Gables?
Unfortunately, car accidents are far more prevalent than some people might think. In the entire state of Florida, there were 403,626 crashes reported in 2019, leading to 3,135 deaths and 167,219 injuries. As the Fine Dining Capital of South Florida and a part of the Miami metropolitan area, many residents of Miami-Dade County and the surrounding areas travel through the Coral Gables area, meaning that Coral Gables gets its fair share of traffic.
Some accidents in the Coral Gables area involve just vehicles. In contrast, others involve pedestrians, and many of them lead to serious injuries with long-term impacts on the victims.
For example, a woman was sent to the hospital with multiple severe injuries after being struck by a car while riding her bicycle in Coral Gables.
In another case, three teenagers were seriously injured after crashing a car that they had stolen in Coral Gables. The 16-year-old driver and a 15-year-old in the back seat were thrown from the car and later taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries.
Most accidents in Coral Gables occur near intersections and on the major highways in and out of the city. Two common areas for accidents to occur in the Miami area are near the Miami Lakes Branch Library and at the intersection of NW 167th Street and the Palmetto Expressway.
What are common injuries after a car accident in Coral Gables?
Depending on the severity and the positioning of the accident, many different injuries can occur, ranging from minor to major.
One common injury is whiplash, especially in rear-end accidents when your body quickly jerks forward and causes a rapid back-and-forth motion of your neck.
Other injuries include cuts or scrapes and broken bones or fractures, both occurring due to the seatbelt, shattered glass, deployed airbags, or other loose or broken objects in the vehicle.
Other major accidents can also lead to more serious injuries, including internal bleeding, spinal injuries, and brain or head injuries. These major injuries can lead to more extensive and time-consuming medical treatment as well as increased medical expenses.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Coral Gables
Every year, more than 2 million Americans suffer injuries due to car accidents. While there are innumerable causes of car accidents, the top causes are:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving.
Distracted driving is when the driver of the vehicle is doing anything that takes their attention away from the act of driving, including sending a text message, talking on the phone, setting the navigation, changing the radio, and even eating or drinking.
Reckless driving is when the driver of the vehicle does something irresponsible that causes the accident, such as speeding, abruptly switching lanes, or even following the car in front of them too close.
Aside from these accidents, there are also ones caused by road rage, rollovers of heavy vehicles, defective car parts, and abrupt stops by cars in front of someone.
With all of the different Florida laws and regulations that apply to drivers, driving, and car accidents, hiring an experienced car accident lawyer can help you figure out the legal aspects of your specific case.
What types of damages can I win in a civil lawsuit?
There are three types of damages available in a civil lawsuit:
What is my claim worth?
The value of your claim depends on the circumstances of your accident and the extent of injuries or other damage, including property damage. In order to support your claim and receive fair compensation for your damages, you will need as much evidence as possible to support your claims, such as police reports, medical records, witnesses, photos, property damage records, and other information relating to the accident and injuries resulting from it.
Do I need a personal injury lawyer?
Yes. Many personal injury claims can arise from someone else's negligence: car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and so many more. By contacting a personal injury lawyer after a car accident, they can help you manage the process of obtaining evidence, communicating with the insurance company, and navigating the legal process.
The lawyer can guide you through each area of the personal injury case: planning and preparation, discovery, filing the complaint, possible settlement, and trial, if necessary. If you can make a phone call to an attorney from the accident scene or shortly after, he or she can send someone to help collect important evidence from the scene and help get estimates of vehicle damage.
An experienced car accident lawyer, like those at Ward Law, can help explain your rights to you for various types of accidents and offer legal advice on how to navigate the legal process and the best next steps to take.
What types of accidents does a personal injury lawyer take on?
A personal injury lawyer like those at Ward Law can help with many different kinds of car accidents. The most prevalent three are distracted driving, drunk driving, and reckless driving. Despite these common types of accidents, they are not the only ones that Ward Law will consider when pursuing a claim on your behalf. Other accidents include head-on collisions, hit-and-run accidents, parking lot accidents, road rage accidents, rollover accidents, rear-end collisions, T-bone collisions, accidents caused by defective vehicle parts, car service accidents, accidents caused by uninsured drivers, and many more.
How can I prove that the other driver was at fault?
In most states, the driver responsible for the accident can be financially accountable for any injuries resulting from the accident.
However, Florida is a "no-fault" state, meaning that each driver goes through their own insurance carrier to cover injuries resulting from the accident, regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
To prove fault, you will need evidence of the accident, such as the police report, repair records and medical records, witness statements, and photos of the damage done to the vehicle, injuries you sustained, and the scene itself. Under Florida law, to seek damages and compensation from the other driver, the amount of damages and compensation needed must exceed $10,000, the amount that personal injury protection (PIP) insurance covers for each policyholder, or death must have occurred.
What is the difference between bodily injury and PIP?
Bodily injury coverage pays for another person's injuries resulting from an accident but does not cover any of your own injuries. Bodily injury coverage also provides coverage against lawsuits filed against you if you were the one at fault in the accident. On the other hand, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays for your injuries and expenses resulting from the accident, regardless of whether you were the one at fault or not, but does not cover legal representation if you are responsible for the accident and get sued. Florida law only requires owners and drivers of vehicles to have personal injury protection, not bodily injury coverage.
Under Florida law, you are required to have personal injury protection coverage of $10,000. This means that your own PIP insurance covers your medical expenses if you're injured from up to $10,000. Any expenses or damages that PIP does not cover, over $10,000, may be recovered from the driver who caused the accident by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Since Florida is a no-fault state, drivers are not required to carry insurance with bodily injury coverage.
What is a PIP lawsuit?
In Florida, a personal injury protection claim is filed against the insurance company in order to recover for expenses and bills that you incurred after a car accident or any medical issues. One of the goals of PIP claims is to provide payment for injuries sustained in a car accident. Since PIP covers expenses regardless of who caused the accident, there is no need to wait around for a personal injury case to be resolved before seeking treatment.
Despite this benefit of PIP, there are limits to the coverage and important requirements that the injured party must satisfy before they can receive payment from the insurance provider, such as receiving treatment within fourteen days of the accident. If your personal injury protection benefits do not cover all of your medical expenses due to these limits, you can also reach out to your health insurance provider about covering the rest.
If the PIP provider delays, denies or undervalues your claim, you have a legal right to file a PIP lawsuit in order to recover the proper amount for expenses and injuries. If your medical bills or expenses exceed your PIP coverage or the accident causes a death, you have a legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver at fault to recover any amounts that were over your personal injury protection coverage.
Does Florida PIP cover passengers?
Personal injury protection coverage follows the person rather than the vehicle. However, the law surrounding the coverage of passengers is complicated. It is recommended that you consult a lawyer with any questions about whether a passenger in your vehicle is covered if an accident occurs.
When do I have to file a claim by in Florida?
In Florida, there is a four-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims arising out of an accident. This means that you have four years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the driver at fault for the accident.
However, there is a different statute of limitations for injuries that occurred not related to the accident, such as medical malpractice. By contacting an experienced car accident or personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, they can help you make sure that any potential claims are filed before the statute of limitations runs out, so you don't lose out on any financial compensation that you are entitled to.
When should I contact a Coral Gables car accident attorney?
It is important that you contact a Coral Gables car accident attorney as soon as possible to provide adequate legal services. The earlier you contact an experienced attorney, the easier your case will be for you since you won't be navigating insurance claims and potential lawsuits on your own.
You will have an experienced lawyer with access to many resources to help you recover money for any injuries and damages, especially those with a long-term impact on your life. A legal team like Ward Law, a law firm with plenty of experience and a proven track record with personal injury cases, can help by answering any questions that you have, explaining your legal rights and the legal processes to you, negotiating with the insurance provider on your behalf, gathering evidence, handling sensitive information, and so much more, completing all work with your best interests in mind.
By contacting a car accident attorney earlier in the process rather than later, you can save yourself the added stress of trying to figure everything out on your own. If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident in Coral Gables, Miami, Miami Lakes, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Orlando, Kissimmee, or the surrounding cities, you can fill out the contact form on Ward Law's website today for a free legal consultation.