Car Accident Lawyer in Hialeah
Important Information from Our Florida Car Accident Lawyer in Hialeah
One of the most dangerous things we do every day is getting into a motor vehicle. Almost 2 million people are injured each year in car accidents . Over 236,000 people are injured right here in Florida each year . Our car accident lawyer in Hialeah knows that most of these accidents are avoidable if motorists exercise reasonable care while driving. However, far too many drivers choose to operate a motor vehicle recklessly, carelessly, and negligently. This means that innocent people are injured on roadways due to preventable errors or mistakes such as speeding, distracted driving (cell phone), or drunk driving. This is particularly true on major roadways like I-75, Okeechobee Road (Rt 27), Palmetto Expressway (State Road 826), and Gratigny Parkway (State Road 924) which are fast-moving highways and frequented by tourists.
Individuals who have suffered serious personal injuries from a car accident in Florida may be entitled to compensation. This compensation includes pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, lost future earnings from being unable to return to the same line of work, loss of consortium, property damage, and other damages that are causally related to the crash. Here at Schlacter Law, our car accident lawyer represents individuals and their families against other drivers who have caused minor injuries, catastrophic personal injuries or wrongful death. We fight back at trucking companies, state agencies, and insurance carriers who try to blame victims or minimize the injuries suffered by our clients. Ask our Hialeah car accident attorney how you can fight back by dialing (305) 999-1111 for a FREE consultation.
Top Causes of Auto Wrecks
There are many possible causes of a car accident. Most auto collisions are caused by the negligence of one or more drivers. In a car accident case, negligence is the failure to exercise a reasonable degree of care in the use or operation of a motor vehicle. This includes more than just following Florida vehicle and traffic law, but also driving safely, courteously, and defensively. Drivers who are reckless, careless, or aggressive are more likely to cause negligent auto wrecks.
The top causes of a car accident in Hialeah include the following:
- Failure to yield
- Drunk driving
- Improper left turn
- Distracted driving such as cell phone use, GPS, playing with the radio, or eating
- Unsafe lane changes or unsafe merges
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Drugged driving
- Driver inexperience, especially tourists
- Mechanical errors such as tire blowouts, brake failures, or steering wheel malfunctions
- Other common causes that should be reviewed by a car accident lawyer
Common Injuries After a Car Accident
Motor vehicle wrecks can cause serious personal injuries. This is particularly true on high-speed roads where vehicles can generate significant momentum, or in collisions with large commercial vehicles such as semi tractor-trailers which are already powerful due to their heavy weight. Some of the most common injuries from a Hialeah car accident include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including diffuse axonal, coup-contrecoup, concussions, penetrating damage, contusions, brain bleeds, and other types of head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in paraplegia, quadriplegia, monoplegia, and other forms of paralysis
- Disc Herniations, Buldges, Slipped and Ruptured Discs
- Amputations or the loss of a limb
- Nerve injuries, including brachial plexus nerve injuries or facial nerve injuries
- Broken bones or fractured bones
- Back and neck injuries including disc herniations or bulging discs
- Loss of vision due to debris in a collision
- Organ damage, including liver lacerations, lung contusions, or heart damage
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
- Burn injuries
- Wrongful death
- Any other physical injuries, emotional harm, or any combination of damages that may have been caused by a motor vehicle crash and should be reviewed by a lawyer
Fatal Vehicle Wrecks in Florida
Families who have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle crash need to ask Schlacter Law for help. This is because wrongful death cases are complicated and require legal guidance from an experienced Hialeah car accident lawyer. Under Florida Statute section 768.19, a wrongful death is “when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person… and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued”.
Therefore, to constitute a wrongful death in Florida a lawyer will need to prove the following:
- Negligence caused the death of another person
- Had the victim not passed away, the victim could have sued the negligent person or entity for personal injuries
Proving Negligence in Florida
There are many ways to prove that negligence caused a car accident or wrongful death. It is important to hire a lawyer in Hialeah who will fight back at insurance companies and defense lawyers who refuse to pay their fair share. There are two common ways to prove liability for a car accident in Florida which includes the common law and under the doctrine of negligence per se.
Common Law Negligence
The first common way to prove negligence is through the common law, or judge-made law. This is a body of law that has evolved over decades of public sentiment and is reduced to court decisions. This is the most common way to prove any personal injury case, especially a Hialeah car accident. To be successful in proving a negligence cause of action, a lawyer must prove each of these four elements:
- The defendant had a duty of care to the victim
- This duty of care was breached
- The victim suffered actual damages
- The defendant’s breach of his duty of care caused the victim’s damages
The duty of care when operating a motor vehicle is to use reasonable care to avoid unnecessary harm to others. This includes being vigilant and seeing what there is to be seen on or around the roadways to avoid collisions. Motorists are expected to act as a reasonably prudent person in similar circumstances which means possibly reducing speed during inclement weather, driving defensively, and taking all precautions to avoid causing motor vehicle collisions.
Negligence Per Se
The second common way to prove negligence is through the violation of a statute, or legislatively-made law. Florida has vehicle and traffic statutes which are meant to 1) promote the rules of the road to allow for orderly traffic flow, and 2) prevent unnecessary harm to others on or near the roadway. In certain instances, a violation of Florida statutory law could mean that a defendant is automatically liable to a victim of a car accident. This means a lawyer will only have to prove causation and damages.
Sometimes the doctrine of negligence per se could be proven by a written motion, or an application for an order from the court. This can help streamline a plaintiff’s case and allow his or her lawyer to focus on damages and causation.
While the doctrine of negligence per se is stronger for statutory violations, if a truck driver violates Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations (agency-made rules), a lawyer may still be able to establish “evidence of negligence” for the violation of FMCSA regulations. This is not an automatic finding of negligence, but it is a very strong showing of negligence that can help convince a jury.
What to Do After a Car Accident
No one plans to be in a car accident. It can be overwhelming and confusing after a motor vehicle accident. It is important to know what to do next to protect your health, family, and rights under Florida law. The most important thing is to always remain calm and know that a car accident lawyer in Hialeah is always available to help you whenever you call. Here at Schlacter Law, we are accessible throughout Florida to come to help you after an unexpected and catastrophic motor vehicle wreck to protect your rights to compensation.
Some of our lawyer’s important tips on what to do after a car accident include the following:
- If possible, get out of the roadway. Only when you can safely move out of the right-of-way, get your vehicle and any victims off of the roadway to avoid a second collision. However, if any individuals may be unstable to move, especially for head, neck, or back injuries, do not move them or the vehicle the victim is in until paramedics arrive and tell you what to do. Sometimes moving individuals with these types of injuries could result in worse or permanent injuries
- Call the police immediately, even if no one appears injured. Not only do you want an official record of the crash, but certain types of injuries such as TBIs do not manifest themselves immediately. Other types of back injuries like herniated discs may also take days or weeks to develop but could be severe enough to require surgery
- Exchange information at the scene, including names, addresses, license plates, names of witnesses, and telephone numbers
- If you are injured, get medical attention immediately. This is no time to be a hero. Some serious injuries likebrain bleeds could cause a person to go from completely alert and talking to losing consciousness in 20 minutes or less. It may be inconvenient to go to a hospital, especially if you do not think you are badly hurt, but it may be necessary to save your life
- Take photographs of the scene, including the vehicles, traffic patterns, lights, signs, and any injuries if possible
- Never accept money, checks, or sign papers at the scene
- Do not provide a statement to any insurance company or investigator without having a lawyer. Oftentimes insurance companies will use industry tricks to get you to admit to fault or that your injuries were pre-existing, not severe, or even non-existent. Do not fall for this. You can retain a car accident lawyer in Hialeah that will not cost you anything until you collect a recovery or award
What May I Recover from a Car Accident?
Victims of a car accident who file a claim may be entitled to “damages.” Under Florida law, damages are defined as the measure of relief that a party may be entitled to. In personal injury actions, damages are typically monetary compensation. Individuals harmed in a car accident may be entitled to the following types of compensation:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Lost future earnings if unable to return to the same line of work due to the injuries sustained in the crash
- Mental anguish and emotional harm
- Loss of consortium
- Future medical expenses, including for future surgeries, medications, or medical equipment
- Punitive damages, in rare and exceptional cases
- Wrongful death damages, including burial expenses and funeral costs
- Other damages caused by a crash that a Hialeah car accident lawyer may obtain for you
How do I File a Claim in Florida? Insurance Issues Explained by our Lawyer
After the initial shock of a motor vehicle crash, a victim needs to file a claim for his or her injuries. Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means that drivers are required to purchase auto insurance that has Personal Injury Protection, or PIP. The minimum amounts of PIP required are $10,000 for medical/disability benefits and $5,000 for death benefits.
A person injured in a car accident is required to turn to his or her own insurance company for compensation through no-fault. PIP covers medical bills and lost wages from a car accident up to the policy limits. It does not matter who caused the crash, as long as the claims are related to the crash an insurance company should pay them without questioning fault. This is known as a “first-party claim” when you seek compensation from your own insurance company.
However, a person may also file a “third-party claim,” or a claim against another person’s insurance company. This is usually the at-fault driver who caused the car accident injuries.
Every person injured in a car accident should ask a lawyer to properly file a claim. This is because even slight mistakes or inadvertent admissions could reduce the compensation you are entitled to. This even includes mistakes or admissions to your own insurance company.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit in Florida?
Like all states, Florida has a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations period . If you try to file a lawsuit outside of the statute of limitations period, a court may automatically dismiss your case. This is even if you have a perfect claim with extreme damages—you must always file a timely claim.
Car accident victims have four years to commence a personal injury action against a negligent party. If the motor vehicle wreck caused a wrongful death, a family has two years from the date of the death to commence an action. Where a state agency or municipality was negligent, a person has three years to file a “notice of claim” with the governmental entity. The entity then has 180 days to investigate the claim and possibly negotiate with you. After that 180 days elapse, a person may commence an action. However, this action must be within the normal four year time period for a car accident.
There may be other extensions, or “tolls,” to the statute of limitations. There may also be other instances that shrink the time period to file a lawsuit. Whenever you or a loved one are injured in an accident in Florida, it is always important to ask a car accident lawyer in Hialeah to review your claim. This is imperative to ensuring your actions are filed on time so your claims can be preserved.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Personal injury lawyers generally make a contingency fee agreement with a client. This means that the lawyer will take a percentage of what is settled, awarded, or otherwise recovered in a car accident. If a lawyer does not recover compensation for a client, the client does not pay the lawyer. The costs and disbursements for a case (court filing fees, medical records, expert fees), are also only charged to a client after the lawyer recovers compensation and a victim is compensated.
This means that there is no upfront risk of consulting with a lawyer after a motor vehicle wreck. This includes getting help to file a no-fault insurance claim the correct way in order to protect your rights.
Can I Recover Compensation if I Was Partially At Fault for a Car Accident?
In most instances, yes, a person who is partially at fault for a motor vehicle crash may recover compensation for his or her injuries. Florida is a comparative fault state. This means that each party is responsible for his or her proportional amount of fault. If a victim was 20% at fault for his or her crash, the victim’s award or recovery may be reduced by 20%.
Therefore, if a victim recovers $100,000, the award would be reduced by 20% to $80,000.
Call Schlacter Law if You Have Been Injured in a Hialeah Car Accident
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or if a loved one was wrongfully killed, call our car accident lawyer at Schlacter Law for a FREE consultation by dialing (305) 999-1111. Florida law places time limits on filing a claim that could permanently bar your case. Do not let that happen. Ensure that your rights to compensation are protected by fighting back with Schlacter Law. There is no money required upfront and we only get paid when you get paid. Learn more about our car accident lawyer and how we can help you today.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file a wrongful death claim after a car accident in Florida?
A close family member such as a spouse, child, or parent may commence a wrongful death action. Because this area of law is complicated and the cost of losing a loved one is irreplaceable, it is important for families to always ask a wrongful death lawyer for help in filing a claim.
How long do we have to file a wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident in Florida?
Two years from the date of death. This is known as the statute of limitations period which is a time limit on filing a lawsuit. If a family tries to file a wrongful death claim outside of this time limit, a court may automatically dismiss the lawsuit. Always protect your family’s rights by hiring a lawyer who can help you timely file a lawsuit like Schlacter Law.
What could we recover from a wrongful death claim after a car accident?
Spouses and children may recover loss of support and services, loss of companionship, consortium, protection, and guidance. The estate may claim a loss of earnings. Florida law outlines several other damages that a family may recover, including funeral expenses or burial costs.