Best Car Accident Lawyers Miami, FL Of 2024 – Forbes

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Filing a car accident lawsuit can be an overwhelming experience, giving you a lot to consider as you begin the process. Here are few important things to keep in mind when getting started.

Florida Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations sets the deadline by which you have to file a lawsuit. The statute is designed to protect defendants from unfair legal action because after too much time has passed important information can be lost or forgotten.

Every state has their own statute of limitations depending on the type of case. In Florida, the statute of limitations recently changed, as of March 24th, 2023 from four to two years from the date of the accident. Under the new rule, you have two years to file your case after the accident occurs. For example, if you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident on June 1, 2023, you have until June 1, 2025 to file your case.

However, if you experienced a car accident prior to the statute change, then you still have four years to file your case. For instance, if you experienced a car accident on January 1st, 2020, then you have until January 1st, 2024 to file the lawsuit. The case does not have to be completed by that point, but you need to start the process by that deadline.

Keep in mind that while four years can feel like a long time, it can be helpful to get your case started as soon as possible to ensure you are able to gather every bit of evidence available.

Florida Laws for Car Drivers

Florida has some unique laws for drivers that are worth noting, especially if you’ve been in an accident.

  • Minimum insurance requirements: In Florida, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability. This coverage will be used to pay for any damages or injuries you incur from an accident.
  • Reporting requirements: According to Florida law, a collision must be reported to the police if the crash caused at least $500 in damages, if the crash resulted in an injury or death. If none of these requirements are met, an individual can file a self report instead of a police report.
  • Time restrictions: Teen drivers who are 16 with a license can only drive between 6am and 11pm. Teens with a license who are 17 can drive between 5am and 1am. At both ages, they can drive at any time if there is someone 21 or older with a valid license in the car. Once the teen reaches 18, any time restrictions are lifted.
  • Rear-end collisions: In an accident where one driver is hit on the rear of their car, the other car driver is presumed to be at fault. This presumption can be rebutted, but we suggest speaking with a lawyer to do so.

Identifying Fault for a Car Crash

Florida is one of the few states that uses a doctrine of no-fault for most car accidents. No-fault means that in minor car accidents, it doesn’t matter who may have caused the accident; everyone is responsible for paying their own damages. Any individuals involved in the accident wishing to file a claim must do so with their insurance company.

In Florida, every driver is required to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) insurance.

The no-fault system employed by Florida only applies to minor accidents, so if an individual is seriously or permanently injured in an accident, they can pursue legal action to recover additional compensation. Serious or permanent bodily injuries under Florida law include:

  • Significant or permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Permanent injuries
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Death
  • A reasonable degree of medical probability of death

In these cases, Florida uses a modified comparative negligence doctrine, meaning that an individual can recover damages unless they are 50% or more at fault. For instance, if a plaintiff ran a red light and was seriously injured in a car accident where the defendant was speeding, the plaintiff may be found more than 50% responsible for the accident and will be unable to recover any funds. In another case, if a plaintiff was found to be 25% at fault for the accident, they may still recover the other 75% from the defendant.

When a serious accident occurs, fault is generally determined by looking through evidence and witness statements.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

If you plan to file a lawsuit to recover damages from your car accident, you can choose to use a lawyer or file the case on your own. There are benefits and drawbacks to either choice.

If you choose to use a lawyer, they help you with the majority of the process. They help you file the case, gather evidence and witness statements and determine an appropriate amount of compensation to demand. Then they help to negotiate your case in an effort to find agreeable terms for both you and the defendant. While the vast majority of car accident cases are settled, some do go to trial, in which case your lawyer will litigate on your behalf.

Lawyers generally work on contingency, meaning that they only receive payment if they successfully obtain compensation for you. This makes using a lawyer risk-free, however if they do obtain an award on your behalf, they generally take about 30% as their fee.

Conversely, if you choose to file by yourself, you keep the full award. In simple cases, or if you feel confident in your ability to advocate for yourself, this can be a good option. Some people choose to work with a lawyer to help them feel confident in the case and take the burden off their shoulders, but others are confident working on the case without the additional assistance. There is no right or wrong, and every situation is different.

In minor cases, where fault is not an issue and your insurance covers the damages from your accident, you simply file with your insurance company.

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