Determining Fault in Miami Car Accidents

Car accidents make up a whopping 99% of all non-fatal transportation injuries in the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2020 Report. Millions of victims and their families are expected to file insurance claims for their losses. Even if you do not have a legal background, you probably hear a lot about how fault plays a role in the process. Legal liability concepts are central to your rights and remedies, but they work a little bit differently after a Miami car accident. In many cases, fault may not be key because you will seek compensation from your own insurance company under Florida’s no fault rules. 

However, there are some instances in which you qualify to file an injury claim with the other driver’s insurer – and proving fault is definitely a requirement to obtain compensation. Your Miami car accidents attorney can explain the details, but you might find the following information useful.

Why Fault Matters in a Miami Auto Crash

The reason that fault works differently here as compared to other jurisdictions in the US is that Florida is a “no fault” state for purposes of auto collisions. You seek compensation from your own insurance company through a first-party claim. You are required by law to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which will pay out for your damages without the need to prove fault.

However, your medical expenses alone may exceed your PIP coverage, usually because your injuries are severe, permanent, or debilitating. In such a situation, you may have the right to seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company through a third-party claim. With this legal remedy you DO need to prove fault – and you need to establish it with solid, credible evidence.

Evidence That May Indicate Negligence

There are multiple types of proof that an insurance company will review to determine if its own policyholder, the negligent driver, was at fault.

  • Photos of the scene of the crash, the surrounding area, and the damage to vehicles;
  • Surveillance video from cameras atop traffic signals and on other buildings in the vicinity;
  • A police report from an officer who observed the crash;
  • A ticket issued to the responsible driver;
  • Skid marks at the scene of the accident;
  • Statements from witnesses in the area; and,
  • Many other forms of proof.

Note that your own statements may be useful, but they do not appear on the list of credible evidence because they are self-serving. The insurance company is looking for reasons to deny your claim so it does not have to pay you, so your own words are not as convincing as other forms of proof.

Consult with a Miami Car Accidents Lawyer About Your Rights

Florida is one of just a few states that follow no fault rules, but the concept of liability and accountability is important for some auto crash claims. For more information on how fault is determined when you are filing a third party claim, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation to review your circumstances at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.

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