If you were in an accident and suffered injuries, the day your accident happens is the day the clock starts ticking. If you have been injured then you have likely suffered both economic and non-economic losses, and if you wait too long to pursue compensation for those losses you may lose out.
All drivers are responsible for obeying the rules of the road and vigilantly paying attention to their surroundings. Unfortunately, some drivers neglect this responsibility. This can result in injury to you or a loved one.
Recovering from any injury is frustrating. Recovering from an injury you sustained because another driver was negligent is even worse. That’s why, when you or a loved one has been injured in a Miami auto accident, you should start looking for the best Miami car accident attorney you can find. At Elstein Legal, lawyer Brian L. Elstein provides dedicated representation to clients just like you, helping them effectively pursue compensation.
Car Accidents in Miami: Essential Information
Many auto accidents lead to injury. Some even result in death. No one can turn back time and prevent an accident from happening in the past. But, with the help of a reliable car accident law firm in Miami, victims can hold the responsible parties accountable and fight for rightful compensation.
After an Accident: Should I Hire a Miami Car Crash Lawyer?
You may not be certain whether you should start researching auto accident law firms in Miami, FL after being involved in a crash. Even if you know the other party (or parties) is liable, you might assume you can get the compensation you deserve by working directly with their insurance company.
This is an understandable impulse. However, it’s likely in your best interest to consult with a Miami car accident attorney. The following are key reasons why.
Addressing your own needs
A car accident can have a substantial impact on your life. Depending on the severity of your injuries, the recovery period might last a long time. During this period, you may struggle with pain, you’ll likely need to undergo medical treatments, your quality of life might have diminished, and much more. This is a time to focus on overcoming what’s happened to you. You don’t want to waste any of your limited energy negotiating with an insurance company when you can hire a Miami, Florida car accident lawyer to handle that for you.
Getting proper compensation
The liable party’s insurance company is not going to prioritize your needs during negotiations. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible. Thus, insurance companies regularly employ a range of defense tactics most victims are unprepared to respond to. A leading car accident attorney in Miami, however, is thoroughly familiar with these tactics, and knows how to prevent insurance companies from using them to disadvantage a victim.
You need to prove someone else was at fault when pursuing compensation after a Miami car accident. You can’t merely assume that others will believe you when you insist they are liable. However, the process of establishing liability can involve numerous steps, including interviewing witnesses, securing expert testimony, presenting evidence, and much more. An auto accident attorney in Miami, FL is crucial to building the strongest case. Additionally, you have to prove that any injuries for which you’re seeking compensation resulted from the auto accident, and not other circumstances.
You naturally want to secure the full amount of compensation to which you’re entitled. This is yet another reason it’s smart to work with a Miami car crash attorney. Along with obvious financial losses, such as those resulting from medical bills and lost wages, you may also face other challenges after an auto accident. Perhaps you now struggle with anxiety whenever you even consider the prospect of getting back behind the wheel. No longer feeling comfortable operating a car can have a major impact on your lifestyle, affecting everything from employment prospects to relationships. You may be able to account for these types of consequences as well when calculating the total damages you’re owed.
It’s not always the case that one party is liable and one party is the victim in a Miami auto accident. In some instances, parties may share liability. For example, maybe a distracted driver rear-ended your vehicle at an intersection. In a case such as this, it might seem obvious they’re fully liable, but if your brake lights aren’t functioning properly, an insurance company could make the argument that you’re also responsible to at least some degree. Luckily, cases of shared liability don’t prevent you from seeking compensation, but they do require the help of an attorney to reduce your liability.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents in Miami
- Speeding: According to surveys and studies, far too many people are comfortable exceeding the posted speed limits, despite speeding being a main cause in nearly one-third of all fatal auto accidents. Make sure you obey the speed limit, and be aware of others on the road who may be driving too fast.
- Distracted driving: While distracted driving has been a problem for a long time, in the age of smartphones, it’s becoming even more significant. Many drivers these days mistakenly assume they can safely check their devices behind the wheel. Of course, doing so involves taking their eyes off the road, potentially leading to accidents.
- Driving under the influence: Everyone should understand that driving under the influence is extremely dangerous. Sadly, statistics indicate many don’t care, as driving under the influence is the most common cause of fatal auto accidents in the Miami area.
- Night driving: Driving at night can be hazardous for a few reasons. Along with the fact that some drivers find it much more difficult to safely navigate roads in dark conditions, night is when more drivers are likely to be fatigued. Thus, when you must drive at night, you should be particularly vigilant about the way others around you are driving.
What You Need to Do After an Auto Accident
All that said, even if you do exercise caution and follow the rules of the road, it’s still possible to be involved in a Miami car accident resulting from someone else’s negligence. You need to take the right steps after this happens. They are:
- Get to safety: Depending on the nature of a car accident, you may still be exposed to danger in the immediate aftermath. Make sure you and all other occupants of the vehicle are okay, and move away from oncoming traffic.
- Address medical needs: Your number one priority after a car accident should be tending to your health. This is true even if you don’t think you’re severely injured. A seemingly minor injury can develop into something more significant if you don’t see a doctor fast. Additionally, records of your visit will likely serve as evidence in any future legal proceedings.
- Report the incident: Report the incident to the authorities as soon as possible. You want an officer to document the scene right away, as their report will also become evidence later. It also helps to have an objective authority figure nearby to mediate any disputes between you and anyone else involved in the accident.
- Get more evidence: Along with getting medical attention and reporting the incident, you can collect additional evidence by taking pictures and/or video of the scene, focusing particularly on your injuries, damage to the vehicles involved, and any other conditions you think might have contributed to the incident. You should also try to collect the contact information of any potential witnesses, although a police officer may handle that for you. Quickly write down your own narrative of what happened, that way no one can accuse you of misremembering details in the future.
- Get legal help: Don’t make the mistake of accepting a low settlement offer. Meet with a personal injury lawyer in Miami, Florida to determine if you’re better off taking legal action.
Car Accident Case Timeline
Being injured in an accident that you didn’t cause can leave you saddled with damages like medical bills, lost wages, and so on. You should not have to shoulder this burden alone, and even in a no-fault state like Florida, there are laws in place to protect you and allow you to seek compensation for the damages and losses you have suffered.
Keeping in mind that all cases will vary to some degree, there is some regularity to expect with the progression of things immediately following a car accident. In a very general sense, your case may progress in a similar fashion to this:
- The First 72 Hours – This is an important period when it comes to personal injury claims. By now you should have received initial medical care following the accident, as well as reached out to a personal injury attorney. If you have not seen a doctor, do it now. It is quite possible that during this time you may be contacted by an insurance company to “see how you’re doing”. They are often fishing for answers that can be used to minimize your claim later on.
- Days 3 to 14 – Since your accident occurred in the Miami area, Florida law gives you two calendar weeks or fourteen days, following an accident to take advantage of and Personal Injury Protection benefits. If you do not see a medical professional during this period you will still be able to seek compensation but you will miss out on up to $10,000 of medical expense payment.
- 30 Days and Beyond – If you haven’t seen a doctor by now, proving your injury may be difficult. Florida statutes give you up to 4 years to file your personal injury claim from the date of the accident. While that length of time makes it possible for those who were unaware of the law to seek compensation if you were recently in an accident near Miami where you were injured, the best thing to do is reach out for legal help as soon as possible.
Why Is Working With Elstein Legal The Smart Move?
When you are injured in a car accident in Miami, you may be tempted to do the paperwork and file your personal injury claim yourself. But that may leave you looking for backup once you are negotiating a settlement with the insurance adjuster. By working with an experienced Miami car accident firm like Elstein Legal, you can leverage powerful legal muscle to help your case. You will gain an expert negotiator as well as an advocate for every stage of the claims process up to and including litigation.