Coral Gables Personal Injury Lawyer
Coral Gables, home to the University of Miami, the Biltmore Hotel, the Miracle Mile, and many other beautiful attractions, holds several of the wealthiest zip codes in the country.
Despite its glamorous status, as part of Miami-Dade County, Coral Gables residents are not spared from the infamous South Florida traffic. In fact, over the past three years, there were an average of 60,000 accidents in the county per year. Here is an overview of some essential things that residents of Coral Gables should know if they get into an accident in Coral Gables and want to avoid any legal issues.
What should I do if I was in an accident in Coral Gables?
Getting into any type of accident can be an overwhelming experience. However, there are specific steps you can take in the situation that will help you in the long-term process of fighting for your legal rights.
- Step 1: Move to the side of the road. If you can, move your car off the main road or go to a parking lot to not cause further accidents or traffic. Once you are safe, exchange information with the other parties in the accident. This information can include names and vehicle registration numbers.
- Step 2: Call the police. If there seems to be more than $500 in damages or if someone died, you must call the police to report the accident. Even without meeting these requirements, you should always call 911 after an automobile accident to ensure that authorities create a police report and that anyone who needs attention from a medical specialist can receive it as soon as possible.
- Step 3: Get a Copy of the Police Report. Once the police officer finishes creating the report, you will likely be able to leave. However, ensure that you receive a copy of the report, as it can be used to support your claim. If you did not obtain a copy of the report, try to call and order a mailed report.
- Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company. Though it may not be required, you will most likely have to report the accident to your insurance company. Based on Florida’s personal injury protection insurance laws, you will have to contact them to pay for any expenses covered under your policy, as further described below. You are not required to, and should not, speak to the other party’s insurance company. It would be best if you also waited to accept any insurance settlement offers until you consult with an experienced Coral Gables lawyer.
- Step 5: Contact an Experienced Law Firm. If you were seriously injured or sustained extensive property damage after your car accident, contact a knowledgeable Coral Gables personal injury lawyer with extensive experience to learn about your legal rights. An attorney will help you evaluate your claim, assess your damages, negotiate with insurance adjusters and discuss a possible settlement, as well as potentially advocate for you at trial.
Should I see a medical professional after my accident?
Yes, there is good reason to see a medical specialist. Seeking care from a medical professional in the days immediately following the accident will create a report. This can be used to document your injuries after the accident, which will help refute potential claims that your injuries were made worse by failing to seek medical care, or that your injuries were not severe and the compensation you’re seeking is excessive.
Further, any negligence claim or personal injury lawsuit will require proof of damages, and a report from a medical professional will establish this element of the claim.
What do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
Personal injury attorneys are civil litigators who advocate for their client’s rights, the injured party. Let’s explore what that means for the average citizen who may be in need of a personal injury attorney. It means your personal injury attorney will deal with the court and opposing counsel on your behalf: this includes giving legal advice, identifying the critical issues in your case too prove the other party’s negligence, researching the law, filing a complaint in the appropriate venue, conducting discovery, preparing legal documents, negotiating with opposing counsel to reach a settlement or arguing your case in court as a plaintiff if necessary.
In summary, the job of your personal injury attorney in Coral Gables is to navigate an often complex and potentially convoluted legal system. Their role is to help you receive the compensation and justice you deserve after being injured by another party’s negligence or wrongful actions.
What kinds of cases do Coral Gable personal injury attorneys handle?
The Ward Law Group has years of experience helping people obtain money for a variety of personal injuries. These include:
- Car accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Distracted driver accidents
- Car vs. bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Road rage incidents
- Truck accidents
- Uninsured motorist accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle
- Defective car parts
- Slip and fall injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Product liability
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death cases
- and Others
These attorneys can handle so many different types of cases in various practice areas because of the legal theory of negligence. The law imposes a duty on everyone to act as a reasonable person would act in the same or similar circumstances. If someone fails to act with this reasonable standard of care and another person gets injured, they could be liable for negligence.
What are the most common types of accidents in Coral Gables?
In Coral Gables, car accidents are the most common type of accident that causes serious injuries or permanent disability. However, other types of accidents are prevalent as well, including slip and fall accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, boating accidents, and cruise ship accidents. In each case, the responsible party owed the injured victim a duty of care and breached that duty of care.
Individuals, or family members of individuals, who are victims of any type of accident and are injured because of the negligence of another person can receive compensation — and they do not have to navigate the Florida law alone during these difficult times. Coral Gables injury attorneys have had many successes and can help you navigate the legal process and fight for your best interests with personal attention.
What can I do to protect my rights after an accident in Coral Gables?
The following steps will help ensure you do the most possible to protect your legal rights after a FL area accident:
- Police Report: The police report is an integral part of protecting your rights. This will create an official record that can be used if someone disputes your version of the story or changes theirs. You can and should obtain a copy of the police report. If you spot any inconsistencies or omissions, you should request that the report be corrected. It is crucial that you are truthful when speaking to the police, however, do not admit fault when speaking to them. Your words can, and most likely will, be used against you. The answer to the question of who is responsible is a legal conclusion that should be determined in a court of law.
- Insurance Company: If you have not had time to seek legal representation, you may be able to avoid speaking to an insurance adjuster by refusing to answer their questions and referring them to the police report.
- Gather and Document Evidence: Take pictures or videos of each vehicle involved. Be sure to write down all of the relevant details of the accident, the damages that the accident caused, and the accident scene as a whole, when possible. You should also try to find eyewitnesses to the accident and be sure to get their contact information, in case their testimony is needed. Finally, keep a log of your expenses resulting from the accident. This includes travel expenses, repair estimates, medical bills, and any other sensitive information. This log will help establish the amount of compensation you are owed.
How can I file a personal injury claim after an accident in Coral Gables?
Filing a personal injury claim or a civil lawsuit is crucial to receive the compensation you may be entitled to. An experienced Coral Gables personal injury attorney can help:
- Evaluate Your Claim: To get some idea of how their help could relieve your burden, determine the strength of your claim, the amount of time you are willing to invest in resolving your claim, if you are willing to settle your claim out of court, and the amount of money it would take for you to do so.
- Determine Who to Sue: Florida is a no-fault state, meaning you first have to seek compensation for your injuries from your insurance company regardless of who was at fault. This involves sending a demand letter to your insurance company along with your accident log to establish how much compensation you are owed.
- If your insurance company refuses to pay, your costs exceed your coverage, or your injuries fall within the exceptions to the no-fault rule, then there may be several other parties you could recover from.
- Negotiate: Aggressive legal representation will negotiate with the appropriate party and reach a settlement.
- File a Claim: If you do not reach a settlement, you will need to file a lawsuit against the appropriate party to get the compensation you may be entitled to.
Do I need a Coral Gables personal injury lawyer?
Yes. An experienced Coral Gables personal injury lawyer will help you with each of the steps described above to ensure that you accurately evaluate the value of your claim, determine who is at fault, negotiate with all third parties including insurance companies, and properly file the claim.
What types of damages can I win?
The total amount of compensation you may be entitled to will be dependent on the factors of your case. An experienced lawyer will help evaluate each of these elements to determine the value of your case. These factors include:
- The extent of your injuries. You have the right to seek compensation for all past and future medical expenses related to your injuries. Thus, the more severe the injuries and the longer you require medical treatment and physical therapy training for those injuries, the more compensation you may be entitled to.
- Lost wages. If your accident impaired your ability to work in or out of the office, you may be entitled to financial compensation for lost income and diminished future earning capacity. This covers not only compensation you would have received for time taken off work but also compensation for income that will be lost in the future due to your injuries.
- Future loss of income. If you can no longer work at your previous place of employment, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of future income.
- Pain and suffering. The extent of your pain and suffering can affect the value of your claim. Pain and suffering damages are financial compensation for the physical pain and emotional anguish you have endured. These damages can also compensate for a reduced quality of life.
- Property damages. Any property damages, such as damage to your car, can also be used to evaluate the value of your claim.
- Punitive damages. If the defendant injured you intentionally or acted with gross negligence, and it can be proved by clear and convincing evidence, you may be able to recover punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant.
- It is vital to understand that while this process may appear simple on paper, it can be incredibly confusing and complex. To save yourself the hassle of dealing with your injuries while navigating a potential legal minefield, contact an experienced Coral Gables personal injury attorney for a free consultation. They will ensure that all these steps are taken correctly and on time.
What evidence do I need to prove my case?
Most importantly, a lawyer will help gather all of the relevant evidence to ensure you can support your claim. For gathering evidence, there are many things that may seem useful but cannot be used in court as evidence. Lawyers know who to talk to and how to go about getting the evidence needed to win your case. However, generally speaking, here is a list of evidence that would be useful to successfully bring a personal injury claim:
- Photos of the scene of the accident
- Physical objects that were damaged as a result of the accident
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
- Footage from camera phones or surveillance cameras
- Black Boxes
- Testimony from expert witnesses
- Store maintenance logs
- Medical records
- Work records
When do I have to file my claim by?
The Statute of Limitations is a law that limits the amount of time that can pass before you bring your lawsuit. Once the time limit has passed, you cannot file a claim on that cause of action. In Florida, the statute of limitations for actions in negligence is four years for filing a claim, which begins on the date the accident happened.
How will Florida’s insurance laws affect my claim?
As part of the state of Florida, Coral Gables participates in the state’s no-fault regime. Florida is one of ten states that require personal insurance protection (PIP). Florida PIP coverage is also known as the Florida no-fault insurance. This insurance policy requires policyholders to first seek compensation from to their own insurance companies for any medical expenses after any type of accident, even if the policyholder was not at fault. The PIP policy will pay injured parties up to $10,000 for immediate medical coverage, or 80% of the costs. The policy is in place to allow parties to avoid the tedious and often lengthy process of determining fault in court.
However, this Florida’s no-fault regulation is limited. If an accident causes serious injuries (i.e., injuries that cost more than $10,000 in medical expenses or lost wages) or permanent injuries (such as death), Florida will act as an at-fault state. The victim is then allowed to sue the at-fault driver for losses. The at-fault driver must compensate the victim through bodily injury liability insurance or personal assets.
For more information, please visit: https://www.flhsmv.gov/insurance.
How can I find a personal injury lawyer in Coral Gables?
Here are some sources you can ask for a recommendation:
- Family, friends, and acquaintances.
- Websites like avvo.com, martindale.com, and the Legal Information Institute have directories and reviews of attorneys you can find.
- Typing terms like “personal injury lawyer near me” into a search engine generates results for local personal injury attorneys.
- The Florida Bar and other local bar associations will likely have a list of attorneys that practice personal injury law.
- Once you’ve narrowed the list down to a few potential contenders, you should look for a variety of factors like:
- The attorney’s experience.
- How often they go to trial versus settling cases.
- How often they win when they go to trial?
- If the lawyer is part of a firm, you should pay attention to whether your attorney will be handling the case themselves or if they will give your case to a junior attorney.
- Are their fees hourly or contingent?
- Do they offer a free consultation?
- Are they accessible by phone call or do you have to fill out a contact form?
When should I contact a Coral Gables personal injury lawyer?
If you’ve been injured in Coral Gables and want to file a claim, you should hire an experienced Coral Gables personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. From the moment an accident occurs, the statute of limitations begins running. You should act fast before evidence goes stale and memories fade.
If you are unsure how to proceed, call Ward Law Group for a free legal consultation at 855-DOLOR-55. Ward Law’s legal team of experienced attorneys is skilled at handling personal injury cases.
A free consultation will ensure that you have the best information available before deciding to become their client. Our firm handles cases in Kissimmee, Orlando, and throughout the Miami Metro area, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, Doral, Carol City, and many more.