Top-Rated Hialeah Car Accident Lawyers
Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Our Hialeah Car Accident Lawyers to Learn Your Legal Rights.
Unfortunately, car accidents in the Hialeah area occur frequently. By one estimate , Hialeah represents one of the most dangerous cities in Florida for drivers. The consequences of a car accident can involve a number of unanticipated hassles for an injured person to deal with: responsibility for medical bills; dealing with the insurance companies; holding another driver accountable for their negligent actions; a police report; wondering what rights you possess; and many others.
It can feel overwhelming and scary. For this reason, if you find yourself injured in a car accident, you should reach out to an experienced, knowledgeable Hialeah accident lawyers whose expertise focuses on accidents involving cars and other vehicles. These car accident lawyers in Hialeah explain your rights, represent you and your interests before an insurance company (and possibly in court), and will pursue every dollar entitled to you stemming from your injuries, pain and suffering, and loss of income.
How common are car accidents in Hialeah?
Like many communities in Florida, car accidents are a common occurrence in Hialeah.
Involvement in a motor vehicle accident can feel isolating. Know that your experience, especially in Hialeah, represents an all too common scenario. And the fact that you happen to drive in an area that produces an unusual number of accidents does not mean the fault lies with you or that you don’t have the right to recover compensation for your personal injuries. It does mean you should get legal advice, especially from an attorney with the right expertise: a Hialeah car accident lawyer.
What are the most common types of car accidents in Hialeah?
Car accidents come in a variety of forms. The most common types in Hialeah fall into one of these categories:
- Head-on collisions often represent the most serious accidents. Two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide, striking the front of both vehicles. In these collisions, the impact force represents the combined speed of both vehicles. For example, a vehicle traveling at 40 mph in one direction colliding with a vehicle traveling at 30 mph in the opposite direction constitutes the same force as running into a wall at 70 mph.
- A rear-end collision occurs when one vehicle strikes another vehicle from behind. Rear-end collisions occur more than almost any other collision and, according to one study, result in almost a third of all serious injuries from car accidents. In addition to serious damage to the vehicles, common personal injuries from rear-end collisions include injuries to the neck, jaw, back, and skull.
- T-bone collisions take their name from the alignment of two vehicles in such a crash. One vehicle collides perpendicularly near the midsection of the other vehicle. Unlike other car accidents, occupants in vehicles struck at the midsection do not possess the protection offered by the engine in front of the occupants or the amount of space provided in the rear of the car. Instead, the doors and side of the vehicle provide comparatively thin protection to the occupants from the colliding vehicle.
- Drunk driving accidents—sometimes called “driving under the influence” (DUI) or “driving while intoxicated” (DWI)—involve car accidents caused by a drunk or impaired driver. These accidents may result in various types of collisions (e.g., a head-on collision or a rear-end collision).
- Distracted driving accidents occur when something, or someone, reduces a driver’s ability to reasonably operate their vehicle. These accidents often involve a driver’s use of electronic devices when driving: talking on a handheld device, texting, checking social media, reading emails, and many other scenarios. These actions—illegal in most states—can distract the attention of a driver, cause an accident, and amount to negligence on the part of a driver. Fault based on a distracted driver can also result from the driver adjusting a radio, an overly engaged conversation with a passenger, managing a child in the car, or simply sightseeing while driving.
- Truck accidents—considering the disparity in size and weight of a truck and a car, truck accidents represent some of the most serious accidents on Florida roads and highways. Truck accidents involve many aspects of previously discussed accidents (e.g., involving a distracted driver) but also include unique aspects to the operation of a truck. Commercial trucks—think flatbed trucks, big rigs, and eighteen-wheelers—must have reasonable maintenance, require qualified drivers often with special licenses, and observe legal weight limits for their loads. Failure to observe these standards and laws can represent fault on the part of the truck driver in an accident. Truck accidents can also occur when unsecured loads such as lumber or waste material cause an accident with another vehicle.
- Pedestrian accidents involve a vehicle causing injury to someone walking or running on or near a roadway. These accidents are especially common in areas of the country, like South Florida, where people frequently walk near roads in pleasant weather. Drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians. These include stopping at crosswalks and driving at speeds safe enough to stop in time when a pedestrian appears in front of them. Drivers must also have reasonable awareness for the potential of pedestrians in areas frequented by pedestrians—picture Miami Beach or other popular areas in Miami-Dade County.
Similar to pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents generally involve a vehicle causing injury to someone biking on or near a roadway. And, as with pedestrians, the pleasant weather in places like Hialeah result in people enjoying bike riding near roads in higher numbers than in many other parts of the country. Unlike pedestrian accidents, however, bicycle accidents involving injuries, sometimes serious personal injury, can also result from bikes colliding with bikes. Like drivers, a bicyclist owes a duty of care to pedestrians and other bicyclists.
Typical Traffic Conditions in Hialeah
The typical traffic conditions in Hialeah, frankly, lend themselves to various types of car accidents and crashes, often resulting in serious injuries. Interstates adjacent to Hialeah (I-75 and I-95) and busy Florida state roads like SR-934 introduce a high volume of vehicles onto Hialeah streets. This high level of traffic navigates through multiple intersections, with cars exiting and entering from busy shopping areas, school zones, healthcare facilities, and dense residential neighborhoods.
The statistics bear this out. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the county in which Hialeah sits, Miami-Dade County, averaged over 60,000 traffic crashes between 2014 and 2016, with over half of them resulting in injuries. And as one might imagine, many occurred during the morning commuting hours, but the greatest frequency occurred during the busy evening traffic hours.
With the help of INRIX data, the most common places in Hialeah where accidents are likely to occur:
The dot on the map above indicates where many accidents occur at the intersection of NW 103rd Street and w 49th Street, Hobby Lobby, and Mater Academy Charter Middle / High School. Another common Hialeah location for accidents is pinpointed on the map below near Westland Promenade and Cuma Distributing Inc.
Common Causes of Traffic Accidents in Hialeah
This probably doesn’t amount to a news flash based on the circumstances involved, but the most common cause of car accidents in Hialeah stems from speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, driving at night, and dangerous road conditions.
- Speeding. Drivers frequently speed. And speed frequently leads to accidents. To cite just one statistic, according to the National Safety Council, nearly a third of all fatal car accidents involved speeding. The obvious reason for this? Higher rates of speed give drivers less time to react to dangers and situations on the road.
- Distracted driving. As noted above, distracted driving also leads to accidents. Simple as that. Distractions prevent a driver from directing their attention to operating their vehicle safely.
- Under the influence. Driving drunk makes every situation more dangerous and more likely to result in a traffic accident. Driving while intoxicated reduces a driver’s reaction time, impairs their judgment, and increases visual impairment.
- Nighttime. Driving at night, as the earlier statistics suggest, leads to more accidents in Hialeah. A number of factors come into play with this. First and foremost, nighttime reduces visibility. And in Hialeah, increased nighttime traffic (car, pedestrian, and biking) accompanies reduced visibility, resulting in more car accidents. To add to this, nighttime driving increases the likelihood of fatigued drivers and those driving under the influence.
- Road conditions. You’ve seen them in Hialeah: potholes, road construction and repair, detours, and rain-flooded roadways. These can represent dangerous road conditions, and dangerous road conditions impact driver safety. They can distract a driver, cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, and lead to misjudgments about appropriate speed—all of which can increase the likelihood of an accident.
How does Hialeah’s Spanish-speaking population make car accidents unique?
Spanish-speaking members of the community face the same challenges and frustrations as anyone else involved in a car accident. But they also face unique challenges on top of these. English as a second language can make an already unfamiliar and intimidating process even more so.
To begin with, the description of the accident in the police report, which will impact the determination of fault for the accident, should use clear and detailed language and include important information. Similarly, communications with insurance companies represent an important part of whether an injured person receives the money they deserve and whether responsible parties are held to account. This can present a unique challenge for Spanish-speaking individuals.
As with determinations of fault, detailing the type and severity of injuries and how they relate to an accident demand clear and concise language. These communications will come to represent a part of the record used to determine money owed to an injured party.
What should I do after a car accident in Hialeah?
After an accident, there are certain steps you should take:
- Do not leave the scene. Simple as that—never leave the scene of the accident. In addition to the reasons listed below, leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal charges.
- Check yourself for injuries. If you have injuries, call 9-1-1. If you feel you have suffered serious injuries, try not to move and wait for emergency medical professionals to respond. You should always receive medical care after any kind of auto accident.
- Report the accident. If you have not called 9-1-1, call the nearest police or sheriff’s department or call the Florida Highway Patrol.
- Exchange information with the other driver(s). Obtain and exchange the name(s) of the driver(s), addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information (i.e., the name of the carrier and the policy number).
- Obtain Information from witnesses. If people happened to witness the accident, try to obtain their contact information in the event their statements should prove helpful in supporting your description of the accident.
- Take pictures. If you have the opportunity and presence of mind, pictures of the accident can support your side of the story (e.g., the direction the vehicles traveled, the points of impact, the location of traffic signs and lights, etc.).
- Contact your insurance carrier. Even if you don’t know about the fault of the accident or whether you sustained injuries at the time, contact your insurance carrier. Your insurance carrier can help to investigate the accident (the “claim”) and gather helpful information about your claim.
- Get medical attention. Unless you received medical attention immediately following the accident, you should seek medical attention within 14 days following the accident for two reasons. First, under Florida law, you have a 14-day window following an accident to obtain medical attention in order to receive compensation for your injuries and treatment. Second, obtaining medical attention in the short run can prevent your injuries from getting worse and demonstrates their connection to the accident.
9. Contact a car accident lawyer! This cannot be emphasized enough. An experienced Hialeah car accident lawyer can protect your rights, help you with your claim, explain the steps and procedures, and help ensure you receive all the money you deserve for your injuries. The sooner you have personal injury lawyers on your side, the sooner you will know your rights and interests will be protected. Legal representation is crucial in filing a successful personal injury claim.
How can I prove the other driver is responsible for my car accident damages?
To prove the other party is responsible for your car accident damages, you must show negligence on the part of the other driver. In Florida, negligence amounts to the failure of a person to exercise the reasonable care owed to another person in a particular situation.
In the situation of a car accident, the injured person must show that the other person failed to do what a reasonably careful person would do or not do. The evidence gathered can show whether the other driver acted reasonably. An experienced car accident lawyer from your area can help investigate and prove this by showing the driver was traveling at an unreasonable speed, proving their failure to observe traffic laws, and many other types of unreasonable actions.
Once an experienced car accident lawyer shows negligence on the part of the other driver, they will then try to prove causation: that the negligent acts of the other driver caused the accident. Based on their experience with car accident cases like yours, they know the facts to establish to an insurance company or in a trial.
A thing to bear in mind in a negligence matter: in Florida, a driver has a duty of care to others around them. And when that duty is breached and causes injury and/or damages, they are responsible.
Who will pay for my injuries or damages?
Florida requires all drivers to carry no-fault insurance. Under this Personal Injury Protection system, known as PIP, your insurance company pays injuries or damages you sustained in an accident, regardless of fault. This means look to your own insurance companies first.
PIP has limitations, and an experienced car accident lawyer can expertly help you navigate them, but broadly speaking, PIP requires your insurance carrier to pay up to the first $10,000 of damages. This means for damages exceeding $10,000 (an amount quickly reached with personal injuries or a permanent injury), you will need to pursue the at-fault driver for compensation.
Recent events to keep an eye on with respect to PIP involve the Florida Legislature’s efforts to repeal Florida’s no-fault system. Under the proposed law, Senate Bill 54 (or SB 54), instead of no-fault insurance, drivers would have to have bodily injury insurance coverage. This would introduce the issue of fault early in the process and require the insurance company for a driver at fault in an accident to pay the first $25,000 for injuries.
What damages can I receive compensation for?
Some of the damages you can receive compensation for include: property damage; medical expenses (including ambulance service, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, and medication); income loss; pain and suffering; and loss of quality of life.
How can I calculate my damages?
The amount of compensation rewarded can vary significantly, and an experienced car accident lawyer or personal injury attorney can best identify and explore compensable damages with a client.
Compensation for damages from a car accident generally falls into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages represent the financial costs you incurred from the accident. And these include present, out-of-pocket expenses as well as reasonably anticipated expenses in the future. Some typical economic damages include medical bills for severe injuries or any other physical injuries (which will require having your medical records as evidence), car repair expenses for any property damage, physical therapy bills, and lost wages while unable to work.
No less significant in value, non-economic damages have a less direct financial connection to loss and involve more of a subjective evaluation. Non-economic damages could include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
All of these damages should be included in an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, you must ensure you have all of the right evidence to support your claim. You do not have to go through these difficult times alone. Experienced personal injury attorneys have helped many individuals and families fight for their legal rights and receive the compensation they deserve.
What factors will affect a car accident claim?
Florida’s comparative negligence law may have the greatest effect on your car accident claim’s value. Under Florida’s comparative negligence laws, a finding of fault does not preclude a party from receiving an award for damages. Instead, comparative negligence means that your percentage of fault (if any) in an accident reduces your compensation by that percentage. If, for example, a jury or insurance company found you 10% at fault in the accident, your $10,000 in damages could be reduced to $9,000.
Like the calculation of damages, arriving at the percentages of fault in a car accident involves careful consideration of factors and the use of precise and persuasive arguments. This is ideal terrain for an experienced Hialeah car accident lawyer.
When do I have to file a claim by in Florida?
In Florida, generally, you must file a claim within four years of the date of the accident. Florida’s statute of limitations governs these timelines, and the failure to meet this deadline means your injury claim “expires,” regardless of its strengths or merits.
Should I contact a Hialeah car accident law firm?
Yes. An experienced, dedicated Hialeah car accident law firm can make all the difference in recognizing whether you have a case to pursue and going after all the compensation to which you are entitled. A Hialeah car accident law firm knows the area, understands the law, process, procedures, and knows what it takes to get results. And you get the peace of mind knowing you have a team in your corner doing all they can on your behalf.
Best of all, getting started is easy, as many law firms offer a free consultation. Contact Ward Law now for a free case evaluation to learn about your legal rights from people who have your best interests in mind.
The Ward Law Group, PLLC
7975 NW 154th St Suite 306
Miami Lakes, FL 33016