In the early hours of the morning, a motorcycle and a car were involved in a minor accident on I-95 in Miami. The driver and motorcyclist moved to the side of the road and were joined by good Samaritans who stopped to help until police arrived on the scene. While they were waiting, a man came speeding down the interstate, clipped one of the stopped vehicles, and plowed into the group of people standing on the side of the road. The second accident killed four people and left another two with serious injuries.
According to police, the man who caused the second accident was suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He was promptly arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter and DUI causing serious bodily injury. In addition to criminal charges, the driver may also be named as a defendant in personal injury cases filed by the victims and/or their families.
Negligence vs. Negligence Per Se in Miami Personal Injury Cases
When you are injured in a Miami car accident and someone else is to blame, you have the right to demand compensation. If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll probably base your case on the fact that the other driver was negligent. In a case for negligence, you must prove:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care.
- The other driver breached that duty of care.
- You suffered an injury in the accident.
- The driver’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your harm.
Duty: All drivers in Miami have an obligation to follow the rules of the road and drive with care. This duty extends to anyone else on the road that could potentially be harmed by dangerous or negligent actions.
Breach: A breach occurs when a driver fails to uphold his or her duty of care. This can happen if a driver becomes distracted, speeds or drives recklessly, or drives while drunk.
Injury: If you file a personal injury claim you must have suffered some sort of injury. This could be physical, financial, or even emotional.
Causation: You can only recover damages from the defendant if you can prove that their negligence caused your injury. There are two types of causation: actual and proximate. Actual causation means that the negligent action is the direct cause of your harm. Proximate cause means that you wouldn’t have been injured if the driver hadn’t been negligent.
Negligence Per Se
There may be times when you don’t have to prove every element of a negligence case. This is true if the person who hurt you violated the law that was intended to protect your safety. This is known as negligence per se. In Miami, you can base your claim on negligence per se if another driver violated a “non-traffic penal statute.” In other words, the driver broke a law that carries a criminal punishment.
Driving under the influence is a prime example of a violation of a non-traffic penal statute. It is against the law to drive drunk or under the influence of drugs in the state of Florida. Even though it technically has to do with traffic, DUI is not a traffic offense. It is a criminal offense that carries criminal penalties. If the victims in the Miami accident can provide proof that the driver was under the influence, they can establish negligence in their cases.
Time Limit For Filing a Miami Car Accident Case
If you have been injured in a Miami car accident, you only have a short period of time to ask for compensation. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including those based on injuries sustained in a car accident, is four years. If you don’t file your claim within four years of the date of your accident, you’ll be prohibited from getting the money you deserve.
You can make sure that your claim is filed on time by contacting an experienced Miami personal injury attorney as soon as you can after your accident.
Do you want to learn more about your legal options after a Miami car accident? Contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys are prepared to help you get the money you deserve.