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Articles Tagged with attorneys for car accidents

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. 

Driving is among the riskiest activities you do on a daily basis, but – unlike other things you avoid while pregnant – it is a necessity for personal and professional reasons. Unfortunately, while you are just as likely to be involved in a car accident as other Miami motorists, you and your baby are at extreme risk of serious injuries because of your vulnerable condition. According to Safe Ride 4 Kids, an organization dedicated to preventing injuries and deaths to children in auto collisions: 

  • Automobile collisions are the single largest cause of death for pregnant mothers; and,
  • Motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of traumatic fetal mortality.

Car accidents continue to be a primary safety threat for motorists across the US, and the problem even hits close to home in Florida. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are around 72,000 people hurt in auto collisions throughout South Florida, a figure that includes Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Many of these victims suffered injuries so serious that they were immediately transported to local trauma centers for emergency treatment. 

While urgent medical care is a priority, being rushed to the hospital does create a dilemma for victims of motor vehicle crashes: They cannot remain at the scene to gather the evidence that is essential for purposes of legal remedies. Fortunately, there are strategies for collecting proof, and a Miami car accidents attorney can tackle investigations. However, you should be aware of some key sources of evidence when you are taken from the site of a crash.

  • Occupants of Your Vehicle: If you were traveling with friends or family, you may need to rely on these individuals to collect evidence for you. Cell phone cameras are the best way to capture damage to the vehicles, traffic signage, physical conditions at the scene, weather, vehicle skid marks, and related factors.

Whether you just got your driver’s license or have had it for years, there are some rules of the road that are so basic you will never forget. Come to a full stop on red, always use your turn indicator, never pass in a no-passing zone, and other regulations listed in the Florida Driver License Handbook are ingrained in the memories of most motorists. However, there is one source of confusion about one key point in state traffic laws: Right of way – who has it, who does not, and who is at fault when a violation leads to a crash?

The answers to these questions are far from clear, which is why it is critical to retain a Miami car accident lawyer to protect your rights if you were involved in a collision. Some general information can help you understand the basics about right of way and your legal options. 

What “Right of Way” Means

Being involved in a car accident is always frightening, but you could feel overwhelmed if the auto crash occurs in the heavy traffic of Miami streets. Unfortunately, these incidents are becoming more common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of collision fatalities in urban areas has risen considerably over the last 10 years, and has surpassed the number of deaths from rural accidents every year since 2016. 

Despite the chaos and vehicles speeding around you, it is essential to take proper precautions after a Miami car accident. Getting necessary medical care should be a priority, but other important considerations include:

  • Take a Deep Breath: If you are not knocked unconscious by the impact of the crash, your heart may be racing and your adrenaline skyrocketing. Your first instinct might be to jump out of the car out of a combination of aggravation, anger, and frustration. It is important that you do NOT act on this instinct, as you could be putting yourself in grave danger from the traffic coursing around you. Instead, take a deep breath, and then do a quick check to determine whether you are hurt and how badly.

We live in an age of instant gratification, same-day delivery, and lightning-fast WiFi, so automakers do their best to keep the short attention spans of new car buyers when rolling out the latest model year. An August 27, 2020 article in US News & World Report discusses increased horsepower and longer range for electric vehicles. There is even a flying car, which recently successfully completed its first round of testing. These concept models will not be making it to the showroom floor for a few years, but they are interesting as a glimpse of the future.

Despite these flashy bells and whistles, many automobile purchasers are much more interested in the safety features and equipment that will protect their families right now. Some notable technologies are intended to prevent Miami car accidents, while others serve to reduce the potential for serious injuries in the event of a crash. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Lane Assist: This feature is most effective for inattentive drivers who veer over into another lane and motorists who may be drowsy driving. Through sensors and cameras, the technology will correct a vehicle’s path while simultaneously issuing a notification to get the driver’s attention about the slip.

Fatal car accidents are an unfortunately common tragedy across the US and Florida, and especially in large cities like Miami. According to the Annual Report 2018 prepared by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 2,917 deadly auto crashes that claimed the lives of 3,135 victims. Though the figures are not yet available for 2019, it is likely that the statistics will come close to the three-year average of 2,925 fatal accidents and 3,142 deaths. These numbers may not seem so high in the bigger scheme of things, until you realize the number of lives affected by one person’s death. For many more thousands of surviving family members, the future looks grim. 

You may be entitled to compensation if you lost a loved one in a fatal auto crash, and a Miami car accidents lawyer can assist with the legal process. Meanwhile, some statistics on fatal collisions should be informative.

Year-to-Year Accident Trends in South Florida

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) periodically assesses multiple holidays throughout the year to determine which are the most dangerous to be on the road, and its findings should be noted for the one coming up soon — the Fourth of July. In a Traffic Safety Facts publication on holiday car accident fatalities in 2019, NHTSA revealed that 594 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes over July 4, ranking #1 among all single holiday periods.

 
Some of the reasons for this increase in auto crashes around the holidays are obvious, while others might surprise you. If you were hurt, you should consult with a Miami car accidents attorney about your legal options. Meanwhile, you can review some of the key contributing factors that make the Fourth of July a particularly dangerous time for motorists.

 
Drunk Driving

You do have legal remedies available after being hurt in a Miami car accident, including the option to seek compensation for your losses. In a particularly serious crash, you may be able to pursue the responsible driver’s insurance company by filing a claim. The objective is to recoup monetary damages for the costs you have accrued and other ways your injuries impact your life. However, as you might expect, it is not likely that you will receive a check overnight. Instead, your compensation will be paid out after your claim is resolved – either through a settlement agreement with the insurer or in court. Therefore, you could have difficulty paying your medical bills, especially if your injuries prevent you from working. 

It is a relief to know that there could be other sources you can turn to when you need financial support as the victim of a collision. While your Miami car accident attorney is working through the claims process, you should also ask about getting funds through:

Your Auto Insurance PIP Coverage

Witnesses to a Miami car accident are valuable resources when you are filing insurance claims for your injuries, as well as if you resort to litigation. These individuals may have details regarding the incident that you may not know; plus, eye witnesses are typically neutral parties in your case when it comes to fault. Their statements and testimony are generally viewed as being more credible than your own because they do not stand to gain. According to the Florida Rules of Evidence, almost anyone is competent to be a witness – as long as they have personal knowledge of the circumstances. 

As such, it is important to communicate with potential witnesses at the scene, starting with names and contact information. This may or may not be possible depending on the nature of your injuries, but do what you can if you are physically able. Your Miami car accidents attorney will handle the legal details, but you should follow a few tips for talking to witnesses after the crash.

Find Out the Witness’s Location

Contact Information