Car accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in the United States. In Miami, there are an average of 60,000 car accidents each year. No matter how careful you are behind the wheel, chances are fairly high that you’ll be involved in a car accident at some point in your life.
If you have recently been involved in a car accident you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Miami car accident lawyer Boris Lavent to learn about how we can help you maximize the settlement or award you receive.
Call (305) 440-0450 for a free consultation.
Car Accidents in Miami
Miami is one of the busiest places in the country. Approximately 5.5 million people call Miami home and another 16 million visit every year. While this is great for Miami’s economy, it is not particularly great for the safety of its roads.
Over the past few years, the number of accidents on Miami roads has been on the rise. In 2013, there were an average of 145 car accidents in Miami every day. By 2016, there were an average of 181 car accidents in Miami every day, an increase of 25 percent. Approximately half of these accidents result in an injury.
Fatal Car Accidents in Miami
Car accidents are not only happening more frequently on Miami roads, but are also becoming more deadly. Despite a drop in the most recent year data was available, the number of fatal car accidents in Miami has spiked in recent years:
- 2012: 233 fatalities
- 2013: 224 fatalities
- 2014: 280 fatalities
- 2015: 339 fatalities
- 2016: 294 fatalities.
Why You Should Hire an Experienced Legal Team
If you have been injured in a car crash you need to focus all of your time and energy on getting better. Serious injuries require extensive medical care and proper rehabilitation.
The last thing you should be doing is trying to fight an insurance company to recover the compensation you deserve. Stress from these negotiations can make your recovery much more difficult. At the same time, you are less likely to recover the money you need if you try to handle the case on your own. The chances of maximizing your compensation increase significantly when you hire a lawyer to handle your case.
How Our Miami Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
Hiring an attorney is the best thing you can do if you have been injured in a car accident. Here’s how our attorney will help you get the money you deserve.
1. Level the Playing Field
When you are injured in a car accident you’ll probably be dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your health and well-being are not an insurance company’s first priority. These companies just want to limit the amount of money you can get. In fact, they will do anything they can to protect their profits.
Hiring an attorney to represent you will level the playing field and protect you from unfair tactics. Insurers want you to accept a lowball offer. Our attorneys will make sure that any offer you accept is sufficient to cover all of your accident-related costs. We’ll hold insurance companies accountable for the damage caused by their insured drivers.
2. Ensure Your Case if Valued Properly
Who gets to decide what your personal injury case is worth? How do you value something like reduced earning capacity or emotional distress? If you try to handle the case yourself an insurance company will probably assess the value of your case. Since they want to minimize their payout, you can be sure that they will undervalue your injuries.
At Lavent Law, we work with experts to make sure that all of your damages are identified and valued properly. We don’t just look at what your costs are today, but also determine how your injury may affect you financially in the future. We support our valuation with hard evidence and reliable testimony. This makes it tough for insurance companies to offer anything less than you deserve.
3. Identify Responsible Parties
It’s important to determine the precise cause(s) of your car accident. Why? More than one person may be to blame. In Florida, you have the right to demand compensation from anyone who caused you harm. Identifying all parties who played a role in your accident will help to maximize your financial recovery.
4. Limit Liability If You Share Fault
Just because you share fault for your accident doesn’t mean you can’t recover compensation. However, the amount of money you can recover will be limited. The more fault you share for an accident, the less money you are entitled to receive. Insurance companies and others at fault will try to shift as much of the blame to you as possible.
At Lavent Law, attorney Boris Lavent will thoroughly investigate your accident and help to limit your own liability. We will find evidence that proves others are mostly to blame.
Where Do Most Car Accidents Happen in Miami?
Statistics show that while car accidents can happen anywhere in Miami, certain locations tend to see more crashes than others. The most dangerous roads in Miami, touting the highest fatality rate per mile, include:
- I-95 Express Toll from Little River to the Golden Glades Interchange
- I-95 (North Miami)
- NW 54th Street
- NW 7th Street
- NW 17th Ave, and
- E West Expressway (Flagami).
Common Car Accident Injuries
Approximately half of all car accidents in Miami result in an injury. At Lavent Law, our experienced attorneys understand that any unexpected injury can make life difficult.
For years, we have been dedicated to helping car accident victims recover compensation for a variety of injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Eye injury
- Chest injury
- Degloving injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Catastrophic injury, including paralysis, and
- Wrongful death.
Have you been injured in a car accident? Call us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Why are Miami roads so dangerous? Statistics show that the leading causes of car accidents include:
Speeding: Studies show that nearly two-thirds of all drivers feel comfortable speeding. Unfortunately, 31 percent of all fatal car accidents are caused by speeding. Local and state governments set speed limits for a reason. Exceeding posted limits prevents drivers from operating vehicles with due care, often resulting in serious and fatal accidents.
Distracted Driving: According to the CDC, 10 percent of all accidents in 2015 were caused by distracted driving practices. Texting, using an onboard navigation system, conversing with passengers, and fiddling with the radio are all forms of distraction that can lead to serious accidents. In recent years, distracted pedestrians and distracted bicyclists have become more prevalent, contributing to the increase in traffic accidents in Miami.
Driving Under the Influence: Drinking and driving is a leading cause of fatal car accidents in Miami. Over the past few years, an average of 410 Miami crashes were caused by drivers who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Driving at Night: Drivers who get behind the wheel after dark are more likely to be fatigued and/or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Visibility is limited at night, making the chances of an accident more likely.
Hazardous Road Conditions: Miami has an obligation to make sure that all roads are free from dangerous conditions and safe to travel. Unfortunately, hazards on the road that are not immediately fixed often result in serious car accidents.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
At Lavent Law, we understand that the time following an accident can be incredibly stressful. You’re likely struggling with a painful injury and trying to figure out how to move forward with your life.
While filing a personal injury lawsuit may not be your first thought after an accident, it is important to understand that the steps you take in the aftermath of your crash will affect any legal claims you decide to file.
- See a Doctor: Your health and wellbeing should be your first priority after an accident. Make sure that you go see a doctor yourself if you are not transported to a hospital from the scene of the crash. The doctor will be able to ensure that all of your injuries are identified, diagnosed, and treated. This will reduce the likelihood of suffering from complications in the future. Your medical evaluation will be a crucial piece of evidence if you decide to file a personal injury claim for damages.
- Report the Crash: The best way to make sure that you get the money you deserve is by immediately reporting your car accident. An officer will arrive on the scene and document the incident. The officer’s report will contain important details relevant to your crash that may be lost or forgotten over time (e.g., weather conditions, traffic conditions, witness information).
- Gather Evidence: It is never too early to begin gathering evidence to support your future personal injury case. Start by taking photographs of the scene of the crash, damage to vehicles involved, and your injuries. Make sure that you write down your recollection of the event – it will be helpful to refresh your memory down the line.
- Refuse Early Settlement Offers: Recovering compensation after a car accident in Miami can be tricky, thanks to the state’s insurance laws. Insurance companies want to limit the amount of money you recover after an accident, and will do everything in their power to make that happen. You can make sure that you are properly compensated for your injuries by refusing to speak with insurance companies until you’ve consulted with an attorney.
- Contact an Attorney: Hiring an attorney is the best thing you can do if you want to maximize the amount of money you receive for your injuries. Call Lavent Law today to schedule a free consultation with our dedicated legal team.
Damages Available to Car Accident Victims
What kind of compensation can you recover if you’ve suffered an injury in a car accident? In most cases, you’ll be entitled to an award of economic and non-economic damages. The specific damages that will be available to you will depend on the seriousness of your accident and the specific injuries you sustain.
Economic damages are paid to compensate you for the financial costs of an accident. These can include your present out-of-pocket expenses as well as any reasonably projected costs. Examples of economic damages include medical bills, nursing care, property damage, and lost income during recovery.
Non-economic damages are paid to compensate you for injuries and harms that do not have a direct financial cost. These injuries tend to be difficult to value, which is why an award of damages can range significantly from case to case. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Insurance Claims and Your Miami Car Accident
Insurance is often the first line of defense when you’re injured in a car accident. It’s important to understand how insurance may affect your ability to recover compensation after an accident. Here are some of the issues our car accident clients ask about most.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
All drivers who register a vehicle in Florida are required to purchase car insurance coverage. Minimum requirements include $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL). Personal injury protection covers medical expenses and certain financial losses you experience because of an injury. PIP insurance can cover:
- Medical follow-ups
- Nursing care, and/or
- Lost wages.
PIP insurance can also be used to cover funeral and burial expenses if a car accident is fatal.
In order to recover PIP benefits after your accident, you must seek medical treatment and report your injuries within 14 days. Your insurance company can refuse to reimburse you for medical treatment if you do not provide them with proper notice.
What Are Diminished Value Claims?
Car accidents can cause extensive damage to vehicles that are involved. You may have a diminished value claim if your car is so badly damaged in the accident that its value – even after repairs – is less than it was before. Let’s say that your car was worth $20,000 before your accident. After the crash, your car is now valued at $15,000. This is the case even though your car has been repaired. The post-accident value is less than the pre-accident value. You can ask an insurer for a check to make up the difference if you weren’t at fault for the crash.
What is Loss of Use?
Loss of use means that your car is can’t be used after an accident. The extent of the damage is so severe that it requires extensive repairs or replacement. Loss of use coverage provides you with compensation while the car is unavailable.
There are two types of loss of use claims: first party and third party.
First Party Claim: You’ll file a first party claim if you want to recover loss of use benefits from your insurer. This may happen if your vehicle is damaged in a hit and run or in severe weather. To cover loss of use, your insurer may pay you a daily stipend or cover the cost of a rental. The specific compensation you can get should be explained in your policy.
Third Party Claim: You’ll file a third party claim if you want to recover loss of use benefits from another driver’s insurance company. You can ask the insurer to cover the expense of a rental while your car is unavailable.
What is a Release of Liability?
Be careful when considering an insurance company’s settlement offer. Signing and accepting an offer could prevent you from getting additional compensation in the future. The insurer will likely ask you to sign a release of liability before you formally accept the settlement offer. This release will prevent you from filing a personal injury lawsuit against the insurance company and/or their driver.
It’s important to consider the full extent of your injuries and whether or not a settlement offer will cover all of your costs. While accepting an early offer may put money in your pocket right away, it could end up doing more harm than good. Always consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before signing any documents during negotiations.
What Is GAP Insurance?
Getting into an accident with a leased or financed car can turn into a nightmare. GAP insurance, which stands for “guaranteed auto protection,” exists to protect drivers who find themselves in this situation. This insurance helps to pay the gap between what the car is worth and what you currently owe. If you’re involved in an accident and the car is a total loss, GAP insurance can help to limit your liability to your lender.
For example, let’s say you’ve financed a car for $25,000. Thanks to depreciation that car is worth $15,000 today. However, you still owe the lender $20,000 for the car. Now, let’s say that your car is totaled in an accident. An insurance company will write a check for the current market value of the vehicle, which is $15,000. GAP insurance is intended to cover that $5,000 gap between what your car is worth and what you owe.
However, it’s important to understand that GAP insurance won’t cover necessarily cover the full gap between what you owe and what the car is worth. GAP insurance will not cover missed car payments, vehicle repairs, down payments, rentals while your car is in the shop, or purchases of extended warranties.
Call Miami Car Accident Lawyer Boris Lavent Today
Have you recently been involved in a car accident? Contact the Miami car accident attorneys at Lavent Law to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. We know that the time after an accident can be overwhelming and will fight to make sure that you receive the money you deserve. You have a limited amount of time to take legal action after your accident, so call us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.
Blogs For Car Accidents
- Victims of Miami Crash Consider Claims Against Drunk Driver
- What Not to Say When Talking to an Insurance Company About a Car Crash
- How Do I Know Whether I Should Go to Court or Settle with the Insurance Company?
Car Accident Resources
- Florida Laws Pertaining to Car Accidents
- Miami, FL Daily Car Accident Info
- Florida Traffic Crash Reports – Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
- Florida Integrated Report Exchange System