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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

After years of debate, measures have moved forward in both chambers of the Florida legislature to repeal the state’s 50-year-old motor vehicle no-fault law. Senate Bill 54 has already passed, while companion House Bill 719 was approved in the committee stage on April 19, 2021. The proposed legislation has been the subject of some controversy among lawmakers, insurance industry experts, and consumer groups, who argue over how eliminating the no-fault law will affect insurance rates. 

Under the current no-fault rule, if you were injured in a Miami car accident,  you would seek compensation from your own insurance company through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If passed and signed by the governor, Florida would essentially become a so-called “at-fault” state: You would file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to obtain monetary damages after a collision.

Obviously, the elimination of no-fault principles is a major reversal of existing law and will have considerable implications if you were hurt in a motor vehicle crash. Here are some things to know as the bills move closer to passage. 

You would probably not be surprised to learn that many Miami car accidents occur because of a driver’s negligence. Common examples include those who speed, run red lights, use their cell phones, and engage in other unsafe acts behind the wheel. Though laws and public safety campaigns aim to deter this type of careless driving, you can expect that there will still be motorists who disregard the risks. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 90 people die and another 6,337 people are injured in motor vehicle crashes every day. 

Many of these collisions can be prevented through the exercise of reasonable care, but you cannot always control what other drivers do on the road. You need to anticipate that you are sharing the road with dangerous motorists who put you at risk, and the best way to protect yourself is by engaging in defensive driving. This strategy goes a long way to reducing the potential for Miami car accidents, so keep the following in mind.

  • Focus on One Thing. When you are behind the wheel of a car, the only thing you should be concentrating on is safe operation of the vehicle. Eliminate all other distractions, so you are better able to detect and react to careless acts by other drivers. Even a split second matters in an auto crash.

One of the most efficient, affordable ways to get around Miami is on foot, but there are risks involved when walking in one of the most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians in the U.S. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), accidents involving people on foot are among the deadliest traffic-related collisions in the state. While pedestrian accidents make up just 2% of the total crashes that occur in Miami-Dade County every year, they are responsible for 30% of the fatalities.

While the lack of a protective metal shell and size differential compared to other vehicles are key factors, one of the most critical indicators of injury severity in pedestrian collisions is vehicle speed. Despite aggressive efforts to enforce the 25 mph speed limit in Downtown Miami, motorists still travel too fast and put all road users at risk. It is important to consult with a Miami pedestrian accidents attorney right away if you were injured, but you might find it useful to understand the role speed plays in these types of accidents.

Relationship Between Speed and Pedestrian Injuries

Like most other personal injury matters, Miami car accident claims fall under the umbrella of negligence when it comes to recovering compensation. You need to prove that the other motorist’s careless actions were the direct cause of the auto crash in which you were injured. If there were other intervening circumstances or factors, you usually will not be able to obtain monetary damages because the causation element is missing. In some vehicle collision cases, a pre-existing medical condition is exactly the sort of intervening issue that could impact compensation. 

Still, there are exceptions to this default rule and strategies through which you can recover monetary damages despite the existence of a pre-existing medical condition. You will need a Miami car accident lawyer for assistance with overcoming challenges, but a few points should help you understand the basics.

  1. It IS possible to recover for exacerbated injuries. A key exception to the rule regarding pre-existing injuries will allow you to obtain compensation, but only if the motor vehicle collision makes your condition worse. The classic example is when a victim suffered a broken bone in the past. Even though it has healed, the affected area remains weaker than the surrounding bone material – making it more susceptible to breaking again from the impact of an auto crash.

For years, Uber and Lyft drivers have relied on their respective apps to match them with passengers needing a ride. When signing into the mobile app and frequenting the most popular spots for ridesharing services around Miami, these transportation network company (TNC) drivers could maximize their earning potential simply by making themselves available. However, a new app could soon change this workflow and help ridesharing drivers increase earnings: Gridwise incorporates technology that collects data on passenger trends and identifies key metrics to predict when and where Uber/Lyft can make the most money. 

While this is excellent news for TNC drivers, an uptick in traffic can also lead to a higher risk of auto collisions. There are multiple factors at play, all of which combine to create a potentially dangerous situation. You should talk to a Miami ridesharing accident attorney about your legal options if you were hurt, and read on for some of the basics.

Implications of Increased Uber and Lyft Traffic in Miami

After years of public awareness campaigns and enactment of numerous Florida laws prohibiting interaction with telecommunications devices, Miami drivers are well-aware of the dangers of using a cell phone behind the wheel. Specifically with regards to texting, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) points out that there are three areas that impact safe driving: 

  • Visual, where you take your eyes of the road and vehicle systems;
  • Manual, since your hands are not on the steering wheel where they belong; and,

While the majority of Miami car accidents are linked to careless acts by drivers, the most common root cause of these incidents is violations of Florida Rules of the Road. Traffic laws are well-known to all motorists, so they are aware of their legal duties. When they do not comply with regulations aimed at keeping people safe, drivers put other road users at risk. If you were hurt in such a collision, you probably expect that the at-fault motorist will be ticketed, and you can use this information to support your claim. 

However, you might be surprised to find that drivers often do not receive a traffic citation after a crash. You probably wonder about your rights under these circumstances, so trust a Miami car accident lawyer to explain how the laws work. Some general information may also help you understand the relevant concepts.

Traffic Tickets are Separate From Civil Remedies 

You probably cannot imagine living without an arm, leg, or hand after losing a limb in an accident, but there are many people in Florida and nationwide who face challenges every day due to amputation. The Amputee Coalition reports that nearly 2 million individuals live with limb loss in the US, almost half of which suffered their injuries through auto crashes, truck collisions, motorcycle accidents, and other related trauma. Another 185,000 amputations add to that total every year, and more than 83,000 of them are linked to personal injury accidents. 

Sadly, many leg amputees have limited options for artificial limbs; the prosthetics that are available can be extremely expensive, impractical, and unattractive. However, there is hope if you or a loved one lost a limb: The latest advancements in 3D printing are now producing the next generation of prosthetic legs. In some cases, you may even qualify for compensation to cover the costs, and a Miami catastrophic car accident injuries lawyer can explain in more detail. An overview of 3D printed prosthetics may also be useful.

Lower Cost Makes 3D Printed Prosthetics Accessible

The dangers of distracted driving are not new to motorists in Miami and throughout the US, claiming the lives of more than 2,800 people every year – including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users. Motorists who text, talk on the phone, post to social media, and engage in other cell phone use remain a threat. However, it is worth noting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classifies many other activities under the umbrella of “distracted driving.” Any activity that diverts attention away from operating the vehicle could be a factor in a car accident. 

As such, you should be aware of numerous forms of distracted driving that do NOT involve cell phone use. You can avoid Miami car accidents by avoiding these activities yourself – and steering clear if you observe other motorists engaging in risky behaviors behind the wheel.

Eating and Drinking

Any workplace in any industry can be dangerous for workers, so it is a relief to know that Florida workers’ compensation laws exist to protect your interests if you were hurt in a work-related accident. Fortunately, the system is one of no-fault, so you do not need to prove that your employer was negligent or somehow responsible for causing the incident. If you qualify, you can start receiving your monetary benefits promptly. However, there is a caveat: Filing a workers’ comp claim is your sole remedy, and you are barred from seeking damages in civil court. 

This is a significant drawback in certain situations, but you should note that there are exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule. You could open the door to civil litigation – and significant advantages – if you fall within one of them, and a Miami workplace injury lawyer can advise you on the specifics. An overview of the basic legal concepts may also be useful.

Exceptions to Workers’ Comp as Sole Remedy 

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