What To Do If You Were Involved In An Accident In Miami, FL
If you have been in a car accident in Miami or the surrounding areas, do the following:
Make sure that the authorities are on their way — whether you are calling them, or another person on the scene is. If you make the call, be absolutely sure that you do not admit fault for the accident. Things happen fast on the road and it can be hard to tell exactly who or what forces contributed to causing the accident to occur.
If you admit fault or describe the accident inaccurately, this information can be used against you during the case. If you have admitted fault or inaccurately described the events of the accident, contact an accident attorney in Miami immediately to begin working on your case. While emergency responders make their way over to the scene — if you are physically able — collect the following information in writing or on your phone:
- The name, address and phone number of the other driver.
- The other driver’s insurance company and policy information
- Pictures of the vehicles involved, particularly the license plate of the other car.
- General details of the crash, including specific locations and the events that took place leading up to the crash, such as the speeds at which both cars were traveling.
- The names and phone numbers of any witnesses that may have been present on the scene or that may have seen any aspect of the accident. These details are crucial, so even if there is a language barrier — attempt to collect as many witness identifiers as possible
As stated previously, do not admit fault — things happen fast on the road. Anything you say can and will be used against you by the insurance company of the other party or parties involved in the accident, so do not take responsibility for the accident. Remember that it is okay to say “I don’t know” when responding to the questions posed by law enforcement officials. Once you confer with a Miami car accident lawyer, you may be able to provide additional details to the investigating officers. Make sure you have a thorough work-up by the medical professionals on scene, and if possible, report those details to law enforcement to include in the report.
Call us immediately so we can arrange a car accident lawyer for you who focuses on helping victims of Florida car accidents recover the compensation they are entitled to following an accident.
Why you should work with 1-800-Injured following an accident
What’s the difference between simply hiring a lawyer, and working with 1-800-Injured following a car accident?
At 1-800-Injured, we connect victims involved in car accidents to attorneys who focus on maximizing the potential compensation owed to their clients. Our mission is best depicted through our core principles:
1-800-Injured is genuinely invested in connecting victims with professional car accident lawyers in Miami who can assist victims regain normalcy in their lives. For that reason, our process accounts for a series of effective practices designed to restore your physical and financial health. Following your accident, 1-800-Injured helps you by:
- Referring you to an attorney in our network.
- Your attorney will send a representative to you to collect the information about your case.
- Arranging your initial doctor’s visit, along with transportation.
- Your appointed doctor will then determine the best treatment for your injuries.
- Following your treatment closely, ensuring all steps are taken to get you healthy again.
1-800-Injured connects clients with attorneys who fight for the rights of the client … that’s our business! Because timing is so critical following a car accident in South Florida, we get to work the moment you get in touch with us. The attorneys’ ability to act quickly enables them to attempt to recover the max for the clients. Areas where the 1-800-Injured network lawyers have been able to significantly assist our clients include:
- Bodily Injury
- Diminished Value
- Medical Bills
- Car Rental
- Lost Wages
- Bill Reduction
Your attorney collects detailed accounts from the accident, along with witness testimony and your medical treatment records so you can focus on your recovery. The attorney will negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, attempting to collect the maximum amount owed to you — focusing all along on regaining your pre-accident health status.
Most importantly, the attorneys in our network win. This process has helped countless auto accident victims in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach recover the compensation they are entitled to. Personal injury lawyers who work on car accident cases are familiar with the monetary damages that you can claim: medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, etc. The attorneys in our network will negotiate with the insurance company to help you make a full economic recovery or they will pursue damages in a civil court.
What to consider following an accident and when to seek a Miami Auto Accident Lawyer
Following an accident, the single most important thing to do is to seek a lawyer. No matter how minor you perceive your injuries to be, a lawyer who deals nearly exclusively with personal injury car accident cases is going to be your best approaching for funding your medical recovery. A good personal injury lawyer will have several medical providers for you to choose from, depending on where you live and work.
Getting medical treatment after a car accident
Victims often think that they do not need to see a doctor, and do not need medical therapy following a wreck. This could not be further from the truth. Because car accidents are both mentally and physically traumatic, victims are often in shock — desensitizing them from the physical trauma of an accident.
Furthermore, the injuries incurred from automobile accidents often do not present in the immediate aftermath of the event. Rather, traumatic injuries such as whiplash might not present for hours, days, or weeks following an accident. And moreover, when an injury like whiplash apparently subsides following the initial trauma it often persists for years, resulting in radiating pain and discomfort for the victim during activities of daily living like sitting, standing, focusing on a computer screen, exercising and so on.
Whiplash and spinal injuries incurred by jolting trauma to the neck and back during an auto accident are not minor and often plague victims for life when left untreated. Seeking medical treatment early on is the best practice for minimizing the impact these traumas will have on your activities of daily life for both the short and long term.
Typical mistakes victims make when filing a car accident claim
One important mistake car accident victims often make is to fail to hire an attorney early enough in the process, which can have a significantly negative impact on their case.
- They speak to the opposing car insurance company. Remember, they are not on your side and will always use the evidence you provide to their own benefit.
- They don’t get enough evidence from the scene or do the necessary follow up — making police work and investigation very difficult. Your attorney will do the legwork for you so you can recover. It’s no wonder that victims often make this mistake as car accidents are traumatic and these details need to be handled by professional litigators.
- They ignore suggested medical treatment. Victims often downplay or underestimate the severity of their accident injuries. Doing so puts you at risk of long-term injury and undermines the amount of compensation you are likely entitled to. Follow the instructions of the medical professionals and go through with all the suggested treatments.
How hard is to settle a case after being in an accident?
1-800-Injured is committed to connecting accident victims with lawyers who make the settlement process easier. Depending on your particular needs and the stage of the settlement process that you’re in, 1-800-injured will provide you with several attorney options. We feel that one will be ideally suited for your requirements.
Costs associated with hiring a car accident lawyer in Miami
Our service only works with car accident law firms willing to be paid upon the successful conclusion of your case. If your car accident attorney does not recover for you, they don’t get paid. You will not be charged any upfront fees.
Miami Car Accident Statistics
As one of the most populated cities in America, there have been hundreds of thousands of Miami motor vehicle crashes in recent years. Florida sees more than 395,000 car accidents annually. Statistics show that the risk for a potential car accident in Florida is among the highest in the United States, so drivers are warned to remain alert and always drive defensively to avoid imminent accidents when possible.
Remaining alert when driving remains one of the best means for avoiding a car accident. Just one second can mean the difference between a life or death accident so drivers are encouraged to remain focused on the road, and not to text and drive. Talking on the phone in itself while driving is illegal in 15+ states and territories.
What Do I Need To Know About Florida Car Accident Laws?
Statute of Limitations
The 2018 Florida Statutes lies out the state statutes surrounding car accidents. The law explains that a person has a limited amount of time to file a claim in regard to an accident, making it very important to contact an attorney immediately.
Do I Really Need A Miami Accident Lawyer?
Traffic laws in the U.S. are set at every level of government, including the local level. Meaning, if you are from Jacksonville, but are involved in a car accident in Miami and require a personal injury attorney, it is a better idea to hire a Miami accident lawyer over an attorney from your home county. A Miami car accident attorney will be familiar with the local traffic laws and ordinances and is likely to have better tools to address your specific case than someone from another county that is less accustomed to local ordinances.
My Injury Isn’t Bad, Should I Get A Lawyer Anyway?
Injuries often do not surface immediately. The most serious and long-lasting injuries often do not surface until days or weeks following an accident, making it imperative for your long-term health and wellbeing that you contact an attorney who will help you coordinate medical treatment that will save you long-term, persistent pain.
Compensation For Injuries Suffered In A Car Accident
Most car accident victims are not aware that they are often entitled to collect compensation following a car accident. Additional circumstances where attorneys in our network are able to help clients include:
- Medical expenses
- Time off work
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished value of your vehicle and other property
Working With 1-800-Injured vs Other Miami Car Accident Lawyers
Working through 1-800-Injured to find an attorney following a car accident in South Florida is different than just hiring an attorney directly. When victims contact 1-800-Injured, we follow a series of events shown to maximize the chances of receiving compensation. The following chart depicts the actions we take to recover for you, as opposed to the actions taken by typical personal injury attorneys in Miami.
1-800-Injured Lawyer Network
After The Accident: Technical Overview and FAQs (Medical, Insurance, Liability, PIP, EMC, etc.)
Following an accident, dealing with the other parties’ insurance and lawyers is an event in itself. There will be a slew of medical appointments, tests, specialists, and therapy required to get you back into pre-accident shape. The 1-800-Injured network will arrange all of this for you as you will need to focus on regaining your health so you can return to your life as soon as possible.
A major car crash affects victims physically, mentally, and financially. A car accident law firm is able to provide invaluable guidance in organizing police reports, medical records, insurance claims, and civil action reports. Your attorney’s involvement depends on the extent of the damages, which can change dramatically when different types of vehicles are involved.
Motorcyclists face a great deal of risk out on the road — several times that of a driver of a typical automobile. Because motorcycles don’t offer much in protection and crashes typically occur at high speeds, practically all of these accidents end in injury. And most of the time, the injuries are severe. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is critically important to hire an aggressive personal injury lawyer to prevent the negligence of another driver from severely impacting your life.
Commercial Truck Accidents
Commercial vehicles are, by definition, several times larger and heavier than the regular cars on the road. These vehicles are naturally dangerous, and even low-speed crashes are liable to cause serious injury. Commercial truckers must adhere to strict laws and guidelines, but these are often overlooked for a multitude of reasons—putting the public at risk. A truck accident lawyer understands the intricacies of these laws and guidelines and is able to present them on your behalf as a means of supporting the facts of your case.
No matter what type of vehicles are involved in your car accident, your first priority should be personal safety before planning your recovery. The recovery from an accident is often long and arduous, involving physical, mental, and financial strain. A car accident attorney will assist you through the process and provide much-needed legal knowledge to best organize your priorities. Contact a car accident attorney in Miami to get the help you need to recover quickly and effectively.
What is a release of liability form?
This document sets out the terms of a settlement. If you haven’t filed a lawsuit, signing this release prevents you from doing so. If you have already filed a lawsuit, the release concludes the lawsuit.
Who prepares the release form?
An insurance adjuster sends you the release if you decide to settle your claim without an attorney. If you do have an attorney, but the case is not in a suit, adjusters allow your attorney to prepare the form. If the case is settled after the lawsuit is filed, then the defense attorney prepares the form.
What if I don’t agree with the release?
A release is sometimes very straightforward. Other times, less so. When you have an attorney, they will read the form very closely in order to determine whether it is acceptable. In some cases, attorneys will argue for long periods of time over the terms of the release. If they don’t reach an agreement, this is where a judge comes in to decide. These sorts of cases aren’t common, and can significantly slow down the settlement process.
Once the release is ready, the attorney will send it for you to sign. The release is signed in front of a notary public. You have the right to ask as many questions as you wish before signing it, but once it has been signed and returned to the defense attorney, there is no chance of changing the release terms. If you do not agree with the terms, do not sign the lease, and certainly do not tell your insurance company, attorney, or defendant that you agree with the terms.
Diminished value (DV) is when a vehicle has been damaged in an accident so far as to lose some of its initial value before the accident. The resale value is then lower than it was preceding the accident. The damage results in a reduction, or diminution in the market value of the vehicle, even after repairs have been made.
The 3 Types of Diminished Value
Immediate Diminished Value
The loss in value that results immediately after an accident, preceding any repairs.
Inherent Diminished Value
This refers to the loss in value of a vehicle after it has been fully professionally repaired. It is the value that results from the simple fact that the vehicle was damaged in an accident.
Repair-Related Diminished Value
This is the additional loss in value of a vehicle, which results from incomplete or improperly done repairs.
What are the benefits of a diminished value claim?
Because your vehicle loses value, you are entitled to a check from the third party’s insurance company if you are not at fault for an accident. Many insurance companies’ adjusters are given scripts and will try to lower the amount you are entitled to. Your attorney’s goal will be to maximize your diminished value claim. In the case of a hit-and-run, you can file a claim against your own insurance company.
What is PIP?
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is a component of auto insurance that covers medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault, and often includes lost wages.
PIP is an extremely important coverage which covers the following in case of an accident-related injury:
Instances where PIP coverage can be Implemented
- Medical expenses: hospital bills, dental and optometric treatment, ambulance bills, treatment, and medication.
- Lost wages: time away from work due to any injuries
- Substitute services: in some cases, if you are incapable of doing your daily duties, such as caring for your children or cleaning, PIP can help pay for nursing care or cleaning help.
- Funeral expenses: if an accident results in death, PIP can help pay for any funeral expenses.
How does a PIP claim work?
Florida’s PIP law requires that you report any injury after an accident before 14 days pass, effective since January 1st, 2013. Seeking treatment after the 14 days means that you will not be reimbursed for any medical treatment by your insurance company, so it’s important to call 1-800-Injured as soon as possible, so you don’t lose any of your benefits.
Torts are wrongdoings that are done by one party against another. Tort laws are a body of rights, obligations, and remedies that are applied by courts in civil proceedings to provide relief for persons who have suffered harm from the wrongful act of others. There are 3 main types of torts:
Intentional harm induced on another, such as assault, invasion of privacy, or fraud, etc.
These are not deliberately committed actions, but happen when one fails to do their part in order to avoid any risk of harm. For example, this applies if a store worker fails to properly clean up a spill, resulting in injury if you slip and fall.
This applies when no one is at fault.
What injuries qualify as an “Emergency Medical Condition”? (EMC)
Florida PIP Statute §627.732 states the following: An “emergency medical condition” is defined as a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention would reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:
- Serious jeopardy to patient health
- Serious impairment of bodily function
- Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part
That is the extent of the statutory definition of EMC. There is no list of injuries that meet these conditions, only a guideline by which qualified medical personnel can identify when an EMC event takes place. Therefore, knowing what type of injuries or medical trauma will be classified as an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) is subject to the interpretation of medical professionals and the court.
Who determines whether you have an EMC?
A practitioner must be a qualified physician, osteopathic physician, dentist, physician’s assistant, or advanced registered nurse practitioner to determine whether a patient has an EMC.
How much does PIP cover with regard to an Emergency Medical Condition?
A separate statute, Fla. Stat. §627.736 states:
- Reimbursement for medical care and treatment is awarded up to $10,000 if a qualified medical provider has determined that the injured person had an emergency medical condition. Any EMC coverage must be specifically related to the diagnosed conditions.
- Reimbursement for medical care and treatment is limited to $2,500 if a provider determines that the injured person did not have an emergency medical condition.
In what circumstances must an EMC decision be made?
PIP law requires you to be seen by a qualified medical practitioner within 14 days of being involved in an accident and the state of Florida. This allows you to receive the minimum $2,500 from your PIP coverage. However, the Florida PIP law does not specify when an EMC decision must be made. This is because medical examinations, such as MRIs, can take longer than 14 days.
Loss of use happens when you can no longer use your vehicle as a result of an accident.
Types of Loss of Use
There are two types of insurance claims: 1st party and 3rd party.
This is a claim your file against your own policy or carrier. This is usually done in the case of a hit-and-run, if your car is damaged by weather, or if you hit an object or animal, for example. Most full coverage policies include loss of use recovery in the form of a rental car. Most insurance companies will reimburse you $30 per day for 30 days. Progressive, for example, will reimburse up to $40 per day with a maximum of 30 days, which is a total of $1,200 per claim.
These are claims filed against the at-fault party, such as if you are a victim of an injury due to someone else’s negligence. Third-party claims follow tort law, so the amount of recovery is approximately equal to the loss amount. There are different types of losses, including property damage, collision repair, bodily injury, diminished value, loss of use, lost wages, and more. Most carriers offer a rental car to compensate for any loss of use.
What are lost wages?
Lost wages refer to money you can’t earn because of a personal injury after an accident. If you are incapable of working for 3 weeks because of an injury, you are entitled to compensation for the amount of time you would have normally spent at work. If you work 40 hours a week and earn a $1,000 weekly salary without overtime and are forced to spend 3 weeks recovering from an accident, your insurance will pay you $3,000.
In addition to lost wages, you may also miss out on and claim for factors such as:
- Promotions or Fringe benefits
- Any commission
- Any bonuses
- Pension benefits
If by the time you can return to work your position is gone, you can also make a claim for:
- The difference in pay between two jobs if your new job pays less
- The length of time you must work at a lower-paying job
- The amount of time you spent searching for a new job and your cost-of-life expenses during that period of time
Gap insurance covers the gap between what is owed on your vehicle loan and its current market value. In the case of an accident, your insurance company will only pay your vehicle’s market value if they decide that your vehicle is totaled.
What gap insurance covers
If your car’s current market value is $20,000, but you owe your lender $24,000, the $4,000 difference between your loan balance is the “gap” that is covered by your insurance company. Keep in mind that to use gap coverage, your claim must be covered under comprehensive or collision, and your vehicle must be considered a total loss.
What gap insurance does NOT cover
- Car payments in case of financial hardship, job loss, disability, or death
- Vehicle repairs
- Vehicle value or diminished value
- Any necessary down payment for a new vehicle
- Any loans
Negotiating balances for your vehicle
After an accident, your car is sent to an adjuster within your insurance company, who determines how much it will cost to repair your vehicle. Your adjuster’s job is to get you the least amount possible. This is why it is important for you to get an opinion from several different sources. A mechanic can help you determine the real cost of repair needed for your vehicle.
You can also check your vehicle’s market value using sources such as Kelly Blue Book, kbb.com, or Edmunds.com. You are not obligated to accept the amount that the adjuster offers to you if the estimates you have received from other sources do not match. What follows is typically much of your time spent on back-and-forth phone calls, in order for you and your insurance company to reach an agreement.
Negotiating balances for personal injury claims
The entire process is much like a match of tennis, and just like negotiating balances for your vehicle. Your adjuster will offer you a lower amount than you are entitled to. You play phone tag and eventually reach a compromise. Attorneys know how to deal with this process better than a regular client, which is why having the right personal injury law firm behind you is important in order to get the maximum out of your settlement for pain and suffering.
Every day you can hear on the news that a car crashing into another car kills or seriously injures someone in Miami Dade County. Florida car accidents are responsible for many deaths and injuries each year. If you or a family member were injured in a car accident, call 1-800-Injured now.
The window of time following a car accident is small, critical, and requires you to carefully consider what to do next. Your first concern should be personal safety, so as difficult as it may be — try not to focus on the cost of medical treatment. If you contact 1-800-Injured, the attorneys and doctors in our network will help you coordinate the care you need. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that they only collect their fee, once you receive a settlement or jury award.
Do I need an MRI after an accident?
Automobile accidents have various degrees of impact. However, regardless of the degree of impact, it is recommended that any passenger involved in an auto accident should be examined. Whiplash is one of the most common symptoms caused by accidents. MRIs are used to determine whether a patient has a herniated disk as a consequence of an accident.
MRIs come with a hefty price tag, ranging anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000. Insurance companies do not want to be responsible for such high costs; especially if the MRI shows that there is no herniated disk. This is where a personal injury law firm will present your case in order to justify the need for this diagnostic test.
What is whiplash and what are the symptoms of whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury, that results from forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. The most common cause of whiplash is when a vehicle’s driver and/or passenger is rear-ended in an automobile accident. The most common symptoms of whiplash include a neck, shoulder, shoulder blade, and lower back pain, numbness or pain in the arms or hands, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating or remembering, irritability, sleep disturbances, and fatigue or drowsiness. Recovering from whiplash can take up to several months or years after treatment with pain medication, exercise, therapy, heat, ice, and even with injections and ultrasounds. Whiplash symptoms usually surface 24 hours or more after impact.
Professional Medical Service Billing
Medical services are not cheap; they often lead to a serious strain on finances as debt quickly begins to build up. Your insurance claims may take time to process. Without an attorney, you may find yourself paying out-of-pocket to cover the costs. The drain on your income is even worse if the accident has impaired your ability to work. Your financial situation only becomes more stressful over time, which is why retaining the services of a professional car accident law firm is advised.
A car accident attorney will review and organize your case, so that it becomes easier to file a claim with your insurers. You will need a detailed list of the damages you have suffered, which include non-material losses, like loss of income, reduced quality of life, pain and suffering, and trauma damage. The list will help your attorney pursue reimbursement and compensation in court on your behalf if your insurance coverage falls short.
All drivers are responsible for maintaining personal injury protection. The coverage consists of $10,000 worth of protection, which in turn, is paid for by you and your insurers. PIP will provide up to $10,000 of financial aid for both medical costs and income loss. The other party involved in the accident will become responsible for the financial costs above the set PIP amount.
Your insurers provide you with the financial assistance required after a severe car accident. While the average insurer will cover the costs you need as expected, more serious accidents may cause a slower response. Insurance companies will evaluate the situation and eventually offer a settlement to cover your losses. However, the initial offer may not be enough to fully cover your costs. Speak to a car accident attorney to review their offer and create a claim that better suits your situation.
Dependable Representation In All Types Of Auto Accident Claims: Contact 1-800-Injured To Discuss Your Auto Accident Case
Call 1-800-Injured so we can coordinate you with professional, experienced Miami personal injury lawyers that will take you through the steps necessary to recover the compensation you deserve. Do not let the poor judgment of the other driver cause you to live in pain or struggle to make ends meet. Contact us now! Hablamos español también!