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Articles Tagged with Florida personal injury attorneys

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

gemma-evans-IAKIkREkRzY-unsplash-copy-300x225There are more than 31,350 people injured in Miami-Dade County auto accidents every year according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Crash Dashboard, a figure that may not surprise you given the number of careless drivers on the road. However, you might be shocked to learn that an estimated 95% of victims settle their claims with an insurance company rather than go to court. There are multiple advantages of settling, especially since you resolve your case faster and enjoy certainty in terms of the result.

 
The first stage in pursuing settlement will be preparing a packet with your claim and supporting documentation, topped off by a demand letter to the responsible driver’s insurance company. It is wise to trust a Miami car accidents attorney to handle these initial tasks, but you might find an overview to be helpful.

 
Supporting Documentation for Your Demand Packet

helloquence-51716-unsplash-copy-300x200According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Traffic Crash Facts, there are more than 248,000 people hurt in Florida car accidents every year, and almost 32,500 injured victims in Miami-Dade County alone. For many of these individuals, the legal process for recovering compensation starts with filing an insurance claim. You might be working with your own insurance company, since Florida is a no-fault state; however, in some cases, you will file a third-party claim with the insurer for the responsible driver.

In either situation, you may be presented with a “release,” a document that carries very important implications for your rights as a victim. As such, you should always consult with a Miami car accident lawyer before signing, and these warnings about releases should convince you of the reasons why.

  • You Give Up Your Rights: The point of a release is to resolve your auto crash claim with the insurance company. In exchange for your signature, the insurer will offer a payout to cover your losses, with the stipulation that you have no further rights or remedies. When you are injured and facing an uncertain financial situation, the settlement amount may seem attractive. However, by giving up your rights, you risk being under-compensated. 

When you have been hurt in a Miami car accident, you are probably aware that recovering compensation for your losses starts with filing an insurance claim. Once you submit the initial paperwork, you can expect a call from the responsible driver’s insurer, since the company will want information regarding the crash, your injuries, and related details. Because you know that Florida law imposes a four-year statute of limitations, you are probably eager to get this discussion out of the way. 

While the adjuster may seem friendly and helpful during the conversation, you should note that this person is NOT just seeking basic information to get payment to you quickly. Instead, the insurance company’s employee is trying to figure out strategies to deny your claim. Because of the implications for your rights, it is best to have your Miami car accidents attorney handle the discussion. Still, you should be familiar with some of the questions the adjuster might ask.

Avoid Responding to Questions That Affect Your Rights

aliyah-jamous-1058056-unsplash-copy-300x200Just a year after the first season shocked and appalled viewers who got a glimpse into the disturbing world of hip-hop artist R. Kelly, the latest installment of Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning began airing its second season on the Lifetime Network. Entertainment Weekly covered the story in a January 6, 2020 article, revealing some of the key updates and developments that occurred over the last 12 months. The performer is now facing 21 counts of sexual assault and abuse at the state level, along with a federal indictment that includes 13 counts of sex crimes. 

In addition, many survivors of R. Kelly’s alleged sexual assault are taking legal action in civil court to recover monetary damages for their losses. A Miami personal injury attorney can explain how these cases work, the ways they differ from criminal matters, and why various hurdles could affect your rights.

Legal Liability in Sexual Assault Civil Claims

maddi-bazzocco-waNAJOI7Jz8-unsplash-copy-210x300You may be familiar with Florida’s four-year statute of limitations on filing a car accident lawsuit, but you are probably not aware of another crucial deadline — the 14-day time limitation on getting medical treatment for your injuries. For some auto crashes, the deadline will not be an issue because you are badly hurt and need emergency care. However, for certain types of injuries, victims may not experience pain or other symptoms for quite some time – making the 14-day time limit an important factor. 

A Miami car accident attorney can explain the laws and relevant legal concepts in more detail, but you can read on for some background information.

Overview of Florida’s Insurance Laws

nabeel-syed-2856-copy-300x200While it is true that some Miami car accidents leave no doubt in terms of who caused the incident, there are many others that are not so clear-cut. Most auto collisions involve multiple contributing factors about which motorist’s conduct was a primary or secondary cause, and Florida’s law on comparative fault addresses this type of situation. The statute states that your potential compensation in a motor vehicle crash claim may be reduced if your own actions are linked to the accident. Your monetary damages are decreased proportionally by the percentage of your fault. 

In other words, you not only need to prove that the other driver was at fault – but you also need to present evidence that you were NOT, or that your contribution to the accident was minimal. A Miami car accidents attorney can explain the details, since contributory fault involves many of the same negligent acts you might allege against the other motorist. For instance, you could receive less in compensation if you were:

  • Speeding: When you are speeding, you have less time to react to traffic-related threats that can cause an accident. As such, even though the other driver may have been at fault by engaging in other careless actions, you could also contribute to the incident because you were traveling faster than what officials have set as the safe speed limit for that particular area.

gregory-pappas-734927-unsplash-copy-300x200The consequences of an injury-causing accident can be extensive, going beyond the costs of medical treatment and lost wages when you cannot work. There are effects for your quality of life, routine, and personal relationships, which could be long-term. You could also suffer emotionally because of your injuries, as depression, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and other medical conditions are common. 

Florida law allows you to recover compensation for these issues, which are commonly referred to as pain and suffering. However, there must be some basis for proving them to receive these amounts as monetary damages. Talk to your Miami personal injury lawyer about the details, and read on for some general information.

Understanding Pain and Suffering

camilo-jimenez-vGu08RYjO-s-unsplash-300x200The American Burn Association reveals that an average of 486,000 people are treated for burn injuries every year, whether in emergency rooms, hospitals, urgent care centers, clinics, or private medical offices. Many of these burns were the result of vehicle crashes, but defective products, dangerous household appliances, and workplace accidents also rank high on the list. Burns are a unique type of injury because they are excruciatingly painful. Plus, scarring and disfigurement can be severe, often leading to psychological issues and emotional distress. 

Fortunately, Florida law provides you with rights if you suffered burn injuries in an accident that was not your fault. These claims can be complicated, however, so you will need solid representation from a Miami personal injury attorney. Some general information about burn injuries may also be useful.

Types of Burn Injury

When you are hurt in a Miami auto collision, your first step in seeking compensation for your losses is to file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. Like many victims, you might expect the process to be clear and simple — complete the necessary forms, send them to the insurer, and wait to receive payment. You may be shocked and dismayed when the response is an outright rejection of what you believe is a valid, legitimate claim.

Though it may provide seemingly valid reasons for a denial, the primary motivation of the insurance company is to look out for its own interests. Your claim is a threat to profits, so the insurer will seek any possible reason to reject or make a low counteroffer to resolve your claim. Do not put your rights at risk by accepting anything less than what is fair and reasonable to compensate you for your losses. With help from a Miami car accident attorney, you can recover the highest amount of compensation allowed by law – even when the insurance company responds to with any of these excuses.

  • You Delayed Filing Your Claim: It is true that Florida has a four-year statute of limitations on motor vehicle crashes based upon negligence, but this time period refers to filing a lawsuit in civil court. You should file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company as soon as possible after an accident. When you wait, key evidence may be unavailable and your recollection about the collision will become foggy.
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