Miami Lakes Car Accident Lawyer
If a negligent driver injured you or someone you love in a car accident, you might be entitled to compensation. A car accident lawyer can help you through this difficult time. Contact Ward Law’s Miami Lakes car accident lawyers to understand your rights. We have years of experience representing clients after car accidents to help them receive the compensation they deserve.
In 2019 alone, there were three fatal car accidents and fifteen people involved in deadly accidents in Miami Lakes, Florida. Based on 49 reports , 61.2% of accidents occurred with light conditions known as “dark – lighted,” and 85.7% of the accidents happened in clear conditions. Only 14.3% of Miami Lakes’ accidents happened when it was raining, or the data analysts did not know the conditions.
Car Accidents in Florida
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 403,626 crashes in 2019. These accidents led to a total of 3,135 deaths and 167,219 injuries. Additionally, the Florida Uniform Traffic Citation Statistics reported 2,055,566 traffic violations in 2020.
Florida has one of the highest deaths per 100,000 population statistics, at 14.8%, and is the third-highest state in the US for fatal motor vehicle accidents. The number of car accidents occurring is a serious issue, with many surviving car accident victims seeking compensation to assist with their recovery.
Car Accidents in Miami Lakes
The Florida Uniform Traffic Citation Statistics reported 418,738 traffic violations in Miami Lakes, Florida, in 2020. While this does not directly correlate to the exact number of accidents, our team at Ward Law researched, with the help of INRIX data, the most common places in Miami Lakes where accidents are likely to occur:
The dot on the map above indicates where many accidents occur at the intersection of NW 167th Street and NW 67th Ave., right by the McDonald’s on the northeast corner and just north of the Miami Lakes Branch Library.
Another common location for accidents is at the Mobil and Speedway gas stations at the NW 167th Street and Florida State Road 823 intersection pinpointed on the map below.
What is a car accident lawyer?
A car accident lawyer is a specific type of personal injury lawyer who understands car accident laws. Miami Lakes car accident lawyers help those injured after a car accident build a claim to recover compensation they may be entitled to cover medical expenses and other injury- or property-related damages. Car accident lawyers understand the stress you might experience after a car accident, and they’re there to ease the burden when it comes to the legal side of things.
You don’t have to go through the process of navigating the legal system alone. You deserve to receive compensation for your injuries to assist in your recovery. A car accident lawyer in Miami Lake will work tirelessly to ensure that you are compensated for your incurred damages so you can get back to your life pre-accident as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
What does a car accident lawyer in Miami Lakes do?
A lawyer’s role can vary depending on the facts of your case, but generally, a car accident lawyer in Miami Lakes does the following:
- Handles communications with healthcare providers
- Negotiates with the other driver’s insurance company
- Negotiates with the other driver’s lawyer (if they have representation)
- Gathers all medical records and bills
- Obtains all necessary evidence to prove liability (eg, accident or police reports, witness testimonies, etc.)
- Organizes the evidence to support your claim
- Helps you get a satisfactory settlement
A car accident attorney can help you in many ways, depending on your case’s complexity and severity. Whether gathering evidence to support your claim, drafting documents to initiate your lawsuit, or negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company or lawyer, a car accident lawyer can assist and guide you throughout the entirety of the legal process to receive fair compensation.
How can a Miami Lakes car accident lawyer help you?
A car accident lawyer can help you sue the negligent party whose wrongful actions led to the accident that injured you. The idea of a car accident injury settlement or judge or jury award is to compensate you for expenses incurred following your accident to repair your vehicle, treat your injuries, and make up for lost wages due to time off work. Car accident lawyers can generally help in the following ways:
- Understanding your rights. Florida has specific laws related to negligence and maximum recovery amounts, dependent on who bears the majority of fault for the accident. Your lawyer will help you understand how the facts of your case may impact the amount you might be entitled to for compensation.
- Gathering and analyzing evidence. A lawyer can help you gather relevant documentation needed to support your claim. You will likely need proof of your injuries and related expenses, such as medical bills, accident reports, photographs, and witness testimonies. Your car accident lawyer can evaluate the evidence to understand how each piece of information applies to the desired outcome. Your lawyer can also communicate with your healthcare providers to ensure that your medical records accurately reflect your injuries.
- Communicating with the other party’s counsel and insurance companies. Insurance companies will often reach out to the victim as soon as possible to quickly settle the case because they know that individuals without legal counsel may not fully understand their rights to a fair and adequate compensation. Car accident lawyers have experience negotiating with insurance companies and other lawyers to ensure you receive the payout you deserve.
- Preparing for Settlement or Litigation. Your car accident lawyer can help determine if your case needs to go to litigation (court). If you’re not satisfied with the result of settlement discussions, your attorney can prepare you as your case proceeds to court. Our firm’s lawyers can research case law and statutes to support your claim to help you succeed in the courtroom. We can also draft any documents needed to move forward in the litigation process and ensure a desirable and timely outcome.
- Handling the Discovery Process. Before entering the courtroom, both parties need to request as much evidence as possible to support their claims. Our law firm knows what evidence to look for to get you the compensation you deserve.
Representing You at Trial or Throughout an Appeals Process. At trial, a car accident lawyer can advocate for your rights and prove the necessary elements to support your claim. If either party is dissatisfied with the trial results, they can appeal the decision. Your lawyer can continue to assist you through this post-trial process.
Common Car Accidents in Miami Lakes, Florida
In Miami Lakes, Florida , many car accidents occur on or at intersections near the Palmetto Expressway. The most common types of car accidents include:
- T-Bone Accidents: When the front of one car crashes into the side of another vehicle, forming the “T” shape. This type of accident happens most often when drivers enter the intersection without having the right of way.
- Rollover Collisions: When the car rolls over. These accidents are common to SUVs, which tend to be unstable since they are top-heavy.
- Rear-End Collisions: Extremely common to the area, these accidents are often the fault of the driver following too closely behind the car in front of them, especially at high speeds, when they aren’t paying attention, or they’re tailgating as an aggressive driver. Distracted driving (eg, texting, talking on the phone, or other forms of distracted driving) usually leads to rear-end accidents.
- Head-On Collisions: Less common to the area, these types of accidents can cause the highest likelihood of death. Head-on accidents happen when one car’s front-end hits another car’s front-end, usually when the two vehicles travel in opposite directions and the impact is extremely forceful. This type of accident typically occurs when one driver crosses the centerline, often due to fatigue, confusion, or intoxication, into oncoming traffic.
Common Injuries Associated with Car Accidents
The most common injuries that can result from car accidents include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash is especially common in rear-end collisions. It happens when your body jerks forward and backward, resulting in a forceful, rapid back-and-forth motion of your neck. The trauma strains the muscles and other soft tissue, leaving you sore and in pain for days or weeks.
- Cuts or Scrapes: Many people in car accidents sustain cuts and scrapes from their seatbelt, shattered glass, or a deployed airbag. Other loose objects in the car, such as your phone, can also hit you, causing bruising or other injuries.
- Head Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other head injuries, such as a concussion, can affect you long-term, leading to impaired brain functioning, impaired senses, chronic headaches, and sleeping difficulties.
- Broken Bones or Fractures: Broken bones are prevalent injuries occurring due to car accidents. Depending on the extent of the break and the bone affected, the recovery process can be lengthy, painful, and costly.
- Internal Bleeding: Many internal organs can be affected in an accident. This injury type can be extremely dangerous if you don’t receive treatment right away following the accident. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention even if you cannot see any outward signs of injury.
- Spinal Injuries: Whether you suffer from a herniated disc or a more severe spinal injury that causes paralysis, spinal injuries must be attended to as soon as possible.
Psychological Issues: Your emotional and mental state can be affected after an accident. Mental health conditions, including PTSD and anxiety, can be just as crippling as your physical injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You likely have many questions after a car accident. We are happy to answer your questions and ease your stress following an accident. We hope to help guide you through your recovery by determining your next steps and discussing the possibility of compensation to potentially cover any financial burdens brought on by another driver’s negligence.
What should I do after an accident?
Car accidents are common occurrences, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find yourself involved in a car accident, it’s important to try to stay calm and take the following steps:
- Check for injuries and ensure you are safe. Determine if you or anyone else in the car is injured. If someone is injured, immediately call 911 so that an ambulance and police can come to the accident scene to help.
- Move to a safe area. If possible, remove yourself from the vehicle or move the vehicle to a nearby safe location, especially if your vehicle comes to a standstill at a dangerous intersection or in a precarious position where you risk causing more damage or harm.
- Call 911. Even if there are no visible injuries to you, your passengers, or the other driver, call 911 so that a police officer can document the accident and create an accident report. In fact, Florida Statutes Section 316.055 requires that any crash involving injury or death to a person, or a minimum $ 500 estimated vehicle or property damages, must contact local law enforcement. Doing so can be very useful in supporting a potential future claim for compensation.
- Exchange information with the other driver. It’s helpful if you try to get as much information as possible from the other party, such as:
- Telephone number or email address
- Insurance information
- Gather other evidence at the scene. In addition to obtaining information from the other driver, try to speak to any witnesses at the scene and get their contact information if you need to follow-up with them. If you can, try to collect other forms of evidence, too, including:
- Photographs of both cars
- Photographs of the damage
- Photographs of the surrounding areas
- Time of the accident
- Police report number
- The police officer’s name and phone number who wrote the report
- Any personal notes on the accident
- Seek medical attention. If you’re injured, it’s important to seek medical attention and make a record of your injuries stemming from the accident.
- Report the car accident to your insurance company. Many insurance company policies require you to report the car accident to your insurer as soon as possible.
- Contact your local Miami Lakes car accident lawyer. A car accident lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure you compile and present the appropriate evidence to support your claim. Before you provide any statements to either insurance company, consult with an attorney to make sure you don’t say the wrong thing and risk shifting liability and losing out on fair compensation to cover your accident-related expenses.
Can the police use what I say against me?
No. Florida’s law states that “. . . each crash report made by a person involved in a crash and any statement made by such person to a law enforcement officer for the purpose of completing a crash report required by this section shall be without prejudice to the individual so reporting. Such report or statement may not be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal. However, subject to the applicable rules of evidence, a law enforcement officer at a criminal trial may testify as to any statement made to the officer by the person involved in the crash if that person’s privilege against self-incrimination is not violated.”
Test results of breath, urine, and blood tests are not confidential, so any driver determined by an officer to be driving under the influence based on one of these tests may later find that evidence used against them.
What if the "at-fault" driver's insurance company contacts me?
If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, refrain from making any statements and do not agree to a settlement offer without consulting with an attorney. Insurance adjusters often attempt to offer a compensation amount before you have an opportunity to calculate your total damages. Your lawyer can help you negotiate with the insurance company to receive the compensation you deserve.
What does it mean that Florida is a "no-fault" state?
Florida is one of twelve states in the US that operates under a no-fault rule. This rule means that each insurance company must provide personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to each policyholder. PIP insurance puts the burden on your own insurer to cover your medical or rehabilitative bills if you’re injured in an accident, irrespective of whether the accident was your fault.
PIP coverage must be at least $10,000. If there are fees or damages that PIP does not cover, you can recover those amounts from the at-fault driver by filing a personal injury claim.
What if the at-fault party doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance?
Often, car accident victims attempt to receive compensation from the at-fault party and discover they aren’t insured. If that’s the situation, you need to look to your own auto insurance policy, which should come with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. This coverage is meant to provide compensation to you in the event an at-fault driver does not have insurance or is underinsured.
How will I pay my medical bills and expenses if my case is still pending?
If PIP coverage (up to $ 10,000) does not fully cover your expenses, your health insurance will likely be your next resource to rely on to cover your outstanding medical bills. A car accident lawyer can work with you and your health insurance company to provide reimbursement upon receiving a settlement or judge or jury award for compensation.
Should I go to the doctor even if I don't feel injured after a car accident?
Yes. Your doctor or emergency medical professionals can identify injuries from a car accident that may not seem serious at first but can quickly become something more severe. Sometimes, after an accident, your body experiences shock or a surge of adrenaline, so you may not yet feel pain or discomfort from your injuries.
You may be entitled to recover compensation for your doctors’ visits and short- and long-term medical treatment recommended following your accident. Keep track of your medical records to demonstrate your injuries as part of settlement negotiations or at trial.
What if the car owner was not driving the car at the time of the accident?
In Florida, an accident victim can hold the car owner (e.g., an employer) liable for the driver’s negligent acts (e.g., the employee). Known as vicarious liability, this legal standard enables you to sue an employer to receive compensation for your injuries. To prove the employer’s liability, you must be able to show (1) the driver was operating the vehicle within the scope of their employment when the accident happened and (2) the driver was operating the vehicle during the course of employment to further the employer’s interests in some capacity. If you can prove these elements, you can name the driver and the employer as defendants in your case.
How do I know if I have a case?
Whether you have a case is dependent on the facts of your accident and the extent of your injuries or other damages. Contact an attorney to discuss the facts of your case, so they can help you determine who you can sue and an amount you might be entitled to recover. Even if you’re partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to receive compensation. That’s why it’s essential to contact a law firm to determine your case’s validity.
When should I file my case?
As soon as possible. The statute of limitations in Florida for personal injury and negligence cases, including car accidents, is four years. This is the time limit you have after the date the accident occurred (or, in special cases, after you discover your injuries) to file a claim against the at-fault driver. The sooner you file, though, the sooner you can receive compensation to help repair your damages and treat your injuries.
It’s important to note that if you’re filing a wrongful death claim, meaning you’re filing a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who died in a car accident, the statute of limitations is only two years.
What type of compensation can a personal injury attorney help me recover?
You can recover costs related to your injuries or property damage stemming from the accident. Recoverable costs typically include:
- Medical Bills and Expenses: These costs can include both current and future medical bills. The calculation for compensation can include all expenses related to hospital visits, ambulance costs, medication costs, surgery, or rehabilitation costs. The total amount can also include any future or anticipated costs (i.e., ongoing rehabilitation, future surgeries, or prescriptions).
- Property Damage: Property damage costs include payments made, estimated, or invoiced for damages to your vehicle or other personal property in your vehicle at the time of the accident.
- Lost Wages: Lost wages include any amount of money you would have earned but didn’t because you could not return to work following the accident (i.e., due to emergency care and recovery time).
- Loss of Future Earnings: These costs are determined by calculating the amount of money you were expected to earn in the future based on your previous earnings capacity but are no longer able to earn due to your injuries.
- Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering refers to the emotional distress you’ve endured because of the accident and any resulting trauma still affecting you. Your lawyer might also include loss of enjoyment of life (i.e., if you can no longer do activities you enjoyed before the accident) in this calculation. It’s difficult to quantify emotional damages (non-economic damages), but your car accident lawyer can help you do so based on the facts of your case.
How much can I recover from my lawsuit?
It depends. Every car accident lawsuit is different and depends entirely on the unique set of facts specific to your case. Usually, the insurance company and lawyers will evaluate all factors listed above and discuss a possible settlement before proceeding to trial. At trial, a judge or jury determines how much you can recover.
It’s difficult to determine if a settlement yields a lesser or greater payout than a possible jury award. Most car accident lawsuits settle, but you have less control over the outcome if your case goes to trial. Your car accident lawyer can discuss your options and calculate a fair and reasonable compensation award you might be entitled to based on your case’s facts.
How long does a car accident lawsuit take?
The length of time your car accident lawsuit takes can range significantly depending on whether the parties can settle or if the case proceeds to trial. If the parties can reach a settlement agreement, your case can resolve within as little as a few months. Though, some settlements take years. If your case goes to court, a personal injury lawsuit generally takes at least one year to conclude.
What do I have to prove to win my case and recover damages?
To receive compensation after your car accident, you need to prove the other driver was negligent. You need to show negligence by a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning there’s more than a 50% chance that your claim is true. The elements for negligence include:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached that duty
- That breach caused your injury
- There were actual injuries
When a driver operates a vehicle on the roadways, they owe everyone else using the roads a duty of care not to act recklessly or carelessly or in a manner that is likely to cause an accident. You can prove negligence if a driver runs a red light, fails to come to a full stop at a stop sign, or is driving under the influence. All of these actions result in a breach of the previously mentioned duty of care, leading to the accident that caused your injuries.
Proving your injuries is an essential element to get the compensation you need to recover. It’s important to ensure you have the proper medical documentation to support your claim.
What if the accident was partly my fault?
Florida is a “pure comparative fault” state. This means that “[i]n a negligence action, contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and non-economic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.” Simply put, if you’re at fault for any portion of the accident, you must deduct the percentage for which you’re to blame from the total amount you can recover.
For example, suppose a judge or jury determines you contributed to the accident by 5%. Your total amount of compensation will likewise be reduced by 5%, leaving you with 95% of the decided award for damages.
Do I need a car accident attorney in Miami Lakes?
Car accident attorneys can help protect your rights so you can receive fair compensation to assist in paying costs related to your recovery. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case, who is likely also a lawyer. It’s probable for you to benefit from having an attorney handle communications with the attorney-adjuster to prevent low-ball offers for your legitimate claims.
How do I find the best Miami Lakes car accident attorney?
When looking for an established car accident attorney in Miami Lakes, it’s best to read client testimonials to eliminate the ones with subpar reputations. Utilize Google reviews to find helpful information about the firm. Try not to choose a firm based solely on its paid-for billboards or television and radio advertisements. Rely on legal directories and pay heed to awards acquired by or affixed to the lawyer or law firm. It might also be helpful to look on state attorney bar websites to determine if a lawyer or firm has any disciplinary actions previously filed against them or currently pending.
How can I pay for my car accident attorney?
Most car accident lawyers offer their services on a contingency fee basis. This fee arrangement can vary and operate in many forms:
- Total Contingency Fee: This fee arrangement applies when your lawyer agrees to payment only after winning your case or accepting a settlement offer.
- Partial Contingency Fee: This payment arrangement requires a partial fee, such as a retainer (lump-sum amount) or hourly amount, and a “bonus” contingency payment equating to a percentage of the total settlement amount or the amount you receive via a judge or jury award.
Many firms also offer a free consultation to determine whether you have a valid case. During this consultation, the law firm will explain your rights and how your case’s facts can potentially support a compensation claim.
When Should I contact a local Miami Lakes car accident lawyer?
As soon as possible. The sooner your attorney can get to work gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim, the stronger your case will be to ensure a more satisfactory outcome potentially. Your lawyer can help guide you throughout the entire legal process, navigating law-related restrictions and requirements to ensure you file documents timely, so you don’t risk receiving just compensation due to a technicality. Contact Ward Law to see how our team of car accident lawyers can help you receive the compensation you deserve.