Miami Car Accident Attorneys
In the United States, if a person causes a car accident, they will be held financially responsible for the losses that they cause. This may include damages such as property damage, past and future medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Florida car accidents can happen in any number of ways, such as when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, strikes a pedestrian or cyclist, or even hits a motorcyclist.
If you or a loved one are a car accident victim, you may be entitled to both economic and noneconomic damages; in some cases, punitive damages may also be available. Unfortunately, the state of Florida does not require all drivers to purchase bodily injury liability insurance coverage. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have this type of insurance and cannot pay out of pocket for your losses, our team of Miami car accident attorneys can work with you to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident claim against your own insurance.
In situations where a Miami car accident is severe, causing serious injuries or even death, the personal injury victims may seek damages in civil court that may exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. Our firm can work with you through the process, advocating for your right to full compensation.
In some cases, the car crash occurred because the other driver violated the law. The police may issue a citation if the car accident was caused by:
- Drug use
- Combination of alcohol, drugs and speeding
- Careless Driving
- Failure To Use Due Care
- Failure To Yield
- Improper Turn
- Texting while driving
While proof of these citations can be helpful in a Florida car accident claim, unless the at-fault driver pleads guilty to the violation, this type of evidence cannot be used in court. At Kaire & Heffernan, our team of experienced Miami car accident lawyers investigate each case thoroughly to develop a strong case for compensation — regardless of whether a traffic citation can be admitted in court.
Florida Car Accident Law
If you’ve been hurt or had property damaged in a car accident, you should be aware that the state of Florida has some very specific laws that could impact any motor vehicle accident case. Here are a few of such regulations:
The Statute of Limitations for Florida Car Accident Claims
The Florida legal system has a “statute of limitations” which limits the amount of time you have to file an accident claim. Any car accident claims filed after the deadline will likely be dismissed by the court, with only rare exceptions.
In most instances, you have four years from the date of the incident to bring forward a car accident case in Florida’s court system, Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a). However, if there is a is a fatality, a lawsuit must be filed within two years, according to Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d).
When both parties are found to be at fault for an accident in Florida, the state applies a “pure comparative fault” rule.
The jury is usually asked to first determine the total amount of damages that would be awarded to the plaintiff. Then they would determine each party’s proportion of fault or blame in the Florida car accident case. Under the pure comparative fault rule, the plaintiff’s compensation is proportionately lowered according to their percentage of fault.
In Florida, the comparative fault standard applies even if you are deemed to be more responsible for the accident than the other motorist. For example, if the jury decides that you are 80% to blame, you are still legally entitled to 20% of your total compensation. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer with experience in car accident cases can help you navigate and understand this law.
Legal Standards for a Florida Car Accident Claim
You should be aware that Florida is one of several states that uses a no-fault car insurance system. This car insurance system is designed so that those involved in accidents are covered for their medical bills and other losses.
However, to receive compensation, you must first file a claim with your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage insurance company. They are in charge of covering your medical expenditures, missed income, and other out-of-pocket expenses after an accident, no matter who was at fault.
Why Hire Our Miami Car Accident Attorneys?
There are numerous reasons to hire a Miami car accident lawyer for representation in a vehicle accident claim in Florida. In certain circumstances, automobile accident victims suffer from difficulties with their own insurance company regarding coverage of expenses. Miami car accident victims may also have trouble obtaining prompt compensation.
Even when they choose to pay, your insurance company or the at-fault parties’ legal team may try to give you a settlement that isn’t sufficient to compensate for your losses. In these scenarios, you need reliable auto accident injury attorneys to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Finally, if your losses exceed the maximum covered by your insurance policy, you must seek compensation from the at-fault party through a third-party claim. You need a seasoned Miami car accident attorney to stand by your side and guide you through the process.
At Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, our personal injury law firm team will assist you in making a legitimate compensation claim. An experienced car accident attorney will collect facts and evidence in order to show the fault and damages owed. A Miami personal injury attorney from our firm will also handle insurance claims, negotiations, and legal interactions while you focus on healing from your car accident injuries.
Miami Car Accidents: Facts and Statistics
Miami is one of the most beautiful places in the country (if not the world) — with gorgeous beaches, amazing nightlife, and incredible culture. More than 470,000 people live in the city proper, with an additional 2.76 million residents in surrounding Miami-Dade County. In 2018 alone, there were a record-breaking 16.5 million overnight visitors to the greater Miami area.
Of course, with so many people in Miami, there is bound to be congestion — and that includes on our roadways. The average household in Miami-Dade County has 2 vehicles. Combined with traffic from tourists, this means that there are a lot of cars, trucks, SUVS and other vehicles on our streets and highways — increasing the potential for accidents.
In 2015, there were 63,451 motor vehicle accidents in Miami-Dade County. That works out to an average of 174 crashes every day. By 2018, this number had increased to 64,151 — or 176 accidents every day.
Sadly, many of these Miami-area car crashes result in fatalities. In recent years, individuals
- 2015: 339 fatal motor vehicle accidents
- 2016: 294 fatal motor vehicle accidents
- 2017: 285 fatal motor vehicle accidents
- 2018: 324 fatal motor vehicle accidents
Roughly half of all accidents each year in Miami cause injuries:
- 2015: 32,742 accidents involving injury (63,451 total accidents)
- 2016: 33,400 accidents involving injury (64,070 total accidents)
- 2017: 32,389 accidents involving injury (65,898 total accidents)
- 2018: 31,072 accidents involving injury (64,151 total accidents)
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a Miami truck accident, car crash, or other type of collision, we can help. Our personal injury law firm is dedicated to helping car accident victims recover the money that they deserve for their losses.
Common Causes of Miami Car Accidents
Miami has a shockingly high number of car accidents, motorcycle wrecks, bicycle collisions, pedestrian accidents, bus crashes, and truck accidents each year. Why exactly are there so many collisions in the area?
While there is not specific data on what leads to so many accidents in Miami, crash statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) reveals certain common causes of accidents in Florida:
- Distracted Driving: 266,060 accidents in 2017
- Speeding/Aggressive Driving: 73,405 accidents in 2017
- Older Drivers (65+): 71,980 accidents in 2017
- Teen drivers (16 to 19): 47,740 accidents in 2017
- Alcohol and/or drug: 5,125 (alcohol), 668 (drugs), 355 (drug and alcohol) accidents in 2017
These causes are not exclusive. In other words, just because a crash was listed as being related to distracted driving does not mean that it was the only cause of the accident. Additional factors, such as speeding, texting while driving, drowsiness, or alcohol or drug use, could also be involved.
Nationwide, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that certain driving behaviors, such as speeding, play a major role in fatal car accidents. In 2017 alone, 9,717 people were killed in accidents involving speeding. This represents 26% of all fatal car accidents in the United States.
According to the NHTSA, drunk driving is another leading cause of fatal car accidents. 29% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2017 were caused by drunk driving. Similarly, drowsy driving — which can mimic the effects of being under the influence — is a top cause of fatal car accidents in the United States.
With the ubiquity of smartphones, tablets, and various screens in our vehicles, distracted driving is a growing problem. In 2017 alone, 3,166 people were killed by distracted driving. In Florida, it is illegal to text and drive — so be sure to avoid this risky behavior.
If you are an injury victim, you will need to hire an aggressive personal injury law firm to handle your car accident claim. At Kaire & Heffernan, our team of experienced Miami car accident attorneys has a track record of success. We’ll put our knowledge and skills to work for you so that both you and your loved ones can move forward with your lives.
Common Injuries Suffered in Miami Car Accidents
Each year, approximately 30,000 people suffer injuries in motor vehicle crashes in the greater Miami area. These accidents lead to a variety of injuries, ranging from relatively minor to incapacitating. If you have been hurt in any type of accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately — even if you don’t believe that your injuries are serious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2.5 million Americans go to emergency departments each year for injuries related to car crashes. Of those, nearly 200,000 people are hospitalized. The costs of these injuries are enormous, with an average bill of $3,300 from the emergency room and a hospitalization cost of $57,000.
Our personal injury law firm has represented victims of car accidents in Miami since 1997. In that time, we have helped clients recover for injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Herniated discs
- Eye injuries
- Broken ribs and chest injuries
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other psychological issues
- Knee trauma or damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Catastrophic injuries, including paralysis, and
- Wrongful death.
At Kaire & Heffernan, we have seen firsthand how devastating a car accident can be to a person’s physical, emotional, and financial health. That is why we are committed to fighting for our clients and working with them to help them get the best possible outcome. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact us today at 305-372-0123 or email us to schedule a free consultation.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
If you have been involved in a Miami car accident, hiring an attorney who is experienced in Florida personal injury law is the single most important step that you can take to protect your interests. While the insurance company may act like it wants to do right by you, the reality is that it is a business — and the adjuster’s job is to maximize profits. Your car accident lawyers Miami FL will work for you to help you get the money that you deserve in several critical ways.
Protect You from Unscrupulous Insurance Companies
In car accident cases, the at-fault driver will typically be represented by their insurance company. This can be daunting, as the insurance company has a team of lawyers and other experts who do this every day. They may use high-pressure tactics to attempt to get you to settle your case for far less than what it is worth.
Our firm is committed to aggressively advocating for each of our clients. We level the playing field by using our own skill and experience to force the insurance companies to negotiate a fair settlement. If they refuse, we will take the case to trial — where we have a proven track record of success.
Investigate Your Case Thoroughly
If you decide to work with Kaire & Heffernan, we will start by analyzing your case with fresh eyes. This includes a comprehensive investigation of the accident, which may involve the use of accident reconstruction experts, interviewing witnesses, reviewing surveillance videos and more. We use all of this information to get a better understanding of how the accident happened and to put together a strong case for damages.
We also use this time to identify any other parties who may be at fault in the accident, such as another driver, a government agency that failed to properly maintain a road, or even a manufacturer that sold a defective car part. By pulling in all potentially liable parties, we maximize your chances at a complete recovery.
Value Your Case Appropriately
If it were up to the insurance company, your case would be valued as low as possible — probably just enough to cover your basic medical expenses. But as anyone who has been in a car accident knows, you suffer far more than just what is shown on the doctor and hospital bills. Lost wages, pain and suffering and even lost earning capacity may all be considerations in your personal injury case.
At Kaire & Heffernan, we consult with experts and use our own experience as Miami personal injury attorneys to properly value your case. We make sure that any settlement or claim for damages provides for you now and in the future.
Limit Your Liability, If Necessary
In Florida, your recovery may be limited if you are partially at fault for a motor vehicle accident. While you may still be entitled to damages, the amount that you can recover will be reduced by the percentage of blame that you are assigned. Our firm understands this principle — and works to limit the liability of our clients to maximize their recovery.
As part of our investigation into our clients’ claims, we thoroughly analyze how motor vehicle accidents occurred. Based on the results of our investigation and our knowledge of Florida law, we will make both factual and legal arguments designed to limit your liability for the car accident.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is required in Florida. It covers items like medical expenses, lost wages and other medical related damages in the event that you are in a Miami car accident.
It is sometimes known as “no-fault” coverage because it is designed to be used without regard to who is at fault. Your insurance premium should not go up because of a PIP claim.
Minor Car Accidents
If you are involved in a car accident where no one has been seriously injured, then you should look to your insurance company for compensation. This will help you in recovering the costs of car repair as well as lost income.
In Florida, you can only go beyond your no-fault insurance to seek recovery for pain and suffering when your injury is permanent. It is then considered a serious and complex car accident.
If you are in a Miami car crash, take the following steps to protect your legal rights.
Remain calm and do not discuss who is at fault. You will need to exchange personal information and insurance facts with the concerned parties. This will help you in the event that you need to file an insurance claim.
Make sure to capture information about the other party, their insurance and their car. When gathering info, think PICL: Person, Insurance, Car & Location! Be sure to note:
- The other driver’s name
- Their address
- Their phone number
- Name of the other driver’s insurance company
- Policy number
- Drivers license number
- License plate number of the other vehicle
- If the driver does not own the car, establish the relationship between the insured and driver.
- Write or record the car year, make, model, and color.
- Write or record the exact location of the collision.
- Write or record how the car accident happened.
Take Photos at the Scene of the Accident
Take as many photos as possible to show a complete 360 degree view of the car accident from all angles as evidence of the scene. You may also take video of the scene, which can be used by your Miami personal injury lawyer to support your claim.
Witnesses are Important
Ask the witnesses to the accident to provide you with their name and contact information so that any follow-up questions can be answered. These witness statements can be crucial in proving your Florida personal injury claim.
Serious Car Accidents
If you suffered significant injuries or your car accident was in some way complicated, then you should consider discussing your situation with an experienced Miami car accident attorney.
Complex situations can arise when your case does not fit the no-fault guidelines under Florida law. It may also occur when the accident report does not reflect your opinion and you want your case reviewed by a lawyer.
A serious car accident exists if you have sustained permanent injuries as a result of the car. Some common examples of these injuries are:
- Back and spine injury
- Cuts and abrasions
- Brain trauma
- Head injury
- Neck and whiplash injury
- Nerve Damage
- Broken bones
Each year, there are more than 200,000 car accidents in Florida. More than 80% required medical assistance for the accident victims. If you require medical treatment for your injuries, then you may have been involved in what is considered a “serious” car accident.
If another driver caused your injuries, then you may be entitled to compensation to cover:
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damages
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Cost of hiring outside help
- Emotional distress and suffering
- Impact on your home life and relationships
- Any other costs that resulted because of your injuries
Ride Share Accidents
If you’ve been involved in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft, it’s important to work with an attorney that understands the many legal issues related to ride sharing services. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and other financial costs.
However, fighting Uber on your own can be difficult. Do you know what to do after you’ve been in an Uber accident?
Give us a call at 305-372-0123 or email us, and we can provide you with options for moving forward with an accident claim. We offer free consultations, and we don’t charge a fee for our services unless we recover an award or settlement for you.
Hit and Run Accidents
Careless driving is always a problem, and it’s at the root of almost every auto accident in Miami. But hit-and-run accidents aren’t just careless — they’re cowardly. Thinking only of themselves, hit-and-run drivers cause a crash and then flee the scene, leaving their helpless victims behind.
There’s simply no excuse for this type of behavior. In the state of Florida, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident until a police officer arrives, no matter how insignificant the accident might seem. But there’s more to a hit-and-run than just a violation of criminal law. It’s also financially damaging — and potentially dangerous.
There is no way to know what condition the occupants of the other vehicle might be in when you leave the scene. They may need immediate medical assistance that they may not receive if the other driver flees. If you have been injured by a hit-and-run driver, our team of dedicated Miami personal injury lawyers can help.
You Should Talk with an Attorney
If you have been hurt in any type of motor vehicle accident, you should discuss your case with a Miami car accident attorney to determine the best course of action.
- Focus on your healing and recovery
- Recover costs for medical expenses and lost wages
- Continue to support your family
- Understand the State Law
- Negotiate with the Insurance Companies
- Expedite the settlement process
- Ensure that the process is handled correctly
- Seek damages for permanent injuries or fatalities
Things NOT To Do After a Car Accident
Never Speak to an Insurance Adjuster Before Speaking to a Lawyer.
Insurance adjusters may seem nice on the phone, and act as though they really want to help you. Talking to an adjuster can be risky, as things you may not think are important may hurt your case.
For example, if you already had back issues and you injured your back in a crash, you may tell the adjuster that you aren’t sure how to describe this new pain. The adjuster may suggest that the pain is the same, and you agree — which can sink your chances of a recovery.
There is a reason why insurance companies want to speak to you BEFORE you hire a personal injury lawyer. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated: contact a Miami car accident attorney before you talk to an insurance adjuster.
Never Say You’re Sorry
It may sound terrible to tell you to not apologize for a car accident. Unfortunately, something that many of us say reflexively can come back to haunt you. If you tell the other driver that you are sorry, it might be used by their insurance company to argue that you caused the accident.
Never Speak to a Runner, Clinic or Lawyer That Solicits You
Miami is rampant with PIP clinics and runners that solicit victims after Miami car accidents. Stay away from these people, as they will land you in the world of insurance fraud. Instead, reach out to a reputable personal injury law firm to help you file a legitimate insurance claim.
Never Misrepresent Your Medical History or Injuries to Your Doctor
After a car accident, you may be worried about saying and doing the right things. Don’t be scared to tell your doctor about prior accidents or injuries. If you don’t share this information with your doctor, you may prevent your doctor from making the correct diagnosis. In addition, if you omit information or lie to your doctor, the insurance company may use that fact to challenge your doctor’s opinion about your injuries.
Never Lie to Your Lawyer
After a Miami car accident, your attorney will fight for your best interests. Doing so requires that you be honest. Don’t lie about how the accident happened, your injuries, or your prior medical history.
In order to properly represent you, your lawyer must know all the facts — and hear them from you, not from the insurance company. The insurance company has resources and will find out about every prior and/or subsequent claim you have. Telling your lawyer in advance can help them get your medical records and plan a strategy for your case.
This is one of the most important rules to follow after an accident. You must trust the lawyer you hired. If you don’t trust your lawyer, get another Miami car accident attorney who can help you with your car accident.
Never Be Afraid to Ask Your Lawyer Questions
The legal process can be overwhelming, and you may have questions about car accident laws, car accident injuries, insurance coverage, or the claims process. You should feel comfortable with your Miami car accident lawyer and your lawyer’s staff so that you can ask these questions and get answers. Remember: your attorney works for you!
Never Volunteer Information
After a car accident, it may be tempting to talk openly about what happened with the other driver, the police officer who arrives on the scene, or anyone else. However, doing so can hurt your case.
When you speak to a police officer, only answer the questions which are asked of you. You should absolutely cooperate, but try to limit your answers to the specific question asked. For example, if the police officer asks where you were going, you can tell him you were heading to work — and not “I was heading to work and I was late because I stopped for coffee.”
Never Accept a Settlement or Sign a Release Before Speaking to a Lawyer.
Insurance companies want to settle cheap — that’s how they make money. An insurance adjuster may call you right after an accident, and offer you a nominal sum of money. This may seem like a good deal, until you go to the doctor and find out you have a more serious injury than what you thought. Unfortunately, once you sign the release, it’s too late.
Have You Been Injured in an Auto Accident in Miami?
The legal representation you choose may have a significant influence on the outcome of your case. Our personal injury attorneys are knowledgeable about Florida car accident laws and will work diligently on your behalf you get you the desired results. We’ll fight for the compensation you’re owed. Call us now at 866-769-0123 or book a free consultation online.
What Our Car Accident Clients Are Saying
I had never been involved in an accident or had any experience with attorneys. Several years ago, I had a car accident and retained the services of another attorney. For 2+ years I had no idea what was happening with my case. I then retained the services of attorney Mark Kaire. Not only was my case settled within a year, every time I called the office and spoke with either Tere or Liane, they not only answered my questions, but more importantly they listened. If you’re ever in a situation where you need a great attorney and need to be treated humanly, I strongly suggest you give them a call.
From the time that I knew this lawyer he has been excellent, hardworking, and completed my needs. I am very excited to work with him again.