As an important business center and international tourism destination, Miami is a dynamic city, constantly in motion. Traffic is intense as anxious drivers hasten from one activity to the next. Defensive driving is a must on a daily basis.
Yet even with the best driving habits, no one can be 100% certain of avoiding traffic accidents. If you suffer the misfortune of being involved in a car accident, you may find the situation overwhelming. In this article, attorney Boris Lavent covers the frequently asked questions he receives from accident victims.
- 1 What should your first steps be?
- 2 Should I give a written or recorded statement to my insurance company?
- 3 Should I take photos of the accident scene?
- 4 What is comparative negligence?
- 5 How to obtain an accident report?
- 6 What is the deadline for filing a personal injury or property damage claim after a car accident in Miami?
- 7 What is the deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit?
- 8 Additional Frequently Asked Questions
What should your first steps be?
Make sure someone calls 911 immediately to summon the police, emergency medical personnel, and tow trucks if required. Focus on the immediate: damaged vehicles need to be removed from the road for the safety of others, injured persons need to be brought to a hospital, and everyone needs to get home safely.
Be aware that not all injuries will be immediately obvious. It is entirely possible to go into shock and not know that you are bleeding, have suffered a back or head injury, or even have a broken bone. For this reason, it is wise to make plans to either go to the hospital or to see your local doctor for a thorough examination.
However, prior to leaving the scene, if you are physically able to do so, give the police an accurate description of the accident, but do not admit fault. Obtain insurance, license and contact information from all other drivers, as well as the contact information of any witnesses. Everything else can wait.
As soon as you are able, report the accident to your insurance company and speak with a lawyer to get answers to your Miami car accident frequently asked questions.
Should I give a written or recorded statement to my insurance company?
You can speak with your insurance company. However, you are under no obligation to speak with the other drivers’ insurance company, and it is in your best interest not to. Their goal is to minimize their liability as much as possible.
To do this, they will try to point blame in your direction. When asking you questions, they have an agenda and very often that agenda is to trick you into saying something that will hurt your case, even if you are not at fault for the accident.
Such statements rarely help your case and may even be held against you. Seek the advice of your attorney on how best to interact with any insurance agent or claims representative throughout your recovery process and get answers to your Miami car accident frequently asked questions.
Should I take photos of the accident scene?
Absolutely, as long as you can do so without risking further injury. Take pictures of all vehicles involved and of the scene as a whole. If reasonable, photograph your injuries as well. Keep careful notes on all medical consultations, including symptoms, diagnoses, and proposed treatments. Gathers as much as evidence as possible to support your case.
What is comparative negligence?
In order to receive financial compensation for your injuries, you need to prove that the other driver was negligent or at fault. Florida is a comparative negligence state, so as long as you can prove that the other driver was over 50 percent at fault, you have the opportunity to receive a financial award. However, it will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you were found to be 10 percent negligent, the final award will be reduced by 10 percent prior to being given to you.
How to obtain an accident report?
After getting into an accident, you need to file a report with the Florida Highway Patrol. You can do so at the scene or online afterward. For 60 days after it is filed, the report is confidential. If you want a copy of it, you need to complete a Sworn Statement for Traffic Crash Report Information or you can request a copy online through a third-party provider. That report can then be used by your attorney and insurance company.
What is the deadline for filing a personal injury or property damage claim after a car accident in Miami?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you wish to file a claim, it’s important to know that the state of Florida has a four-year statute of limitations. The time period begins on the date of the accident, not the date symptoms first appear—which may be much later.
It is therefore important to seek medical evaluation and the advice of a personal injury lawyer as soon as you become aware of any injury. The sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can begin receiving benefits to cover your medical bills.
The same four-year filing window applies to property damage claims. Make sure, however, that you begin the claims process before authorizing any repairs.
What is the deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit?
The statute of limitations is reduced to two years for a wrongful death claim. The time period begins on the date death occurs, not the date of the accident itself. If the unthinkable happens, you will need time to grieve. Seek a lawyer’s counsel as soon as you are ready.
Even knowing the answers to these frequently asked questions, you will undoubtedly have questions of your own. Contact our team of lawyers at Lavent Law, P.A. (305) 440-0450 and we will guide you through every step of the claims process.