We Are Personal Injury Lawyers Helping Accident Victims in Miami-Dade County
There are over 18 million registered drivers in Florida. With that many people crowded onto the streets, it is no surprise that accidents have been on the rise. In 2021, there were over 401,000 car crashes reported to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In human terms, these accidents led to more than 250,000 injuries and nearly 3,800 fatalities.
Homestead is in the heart of Miami-Dade County, which is one of the busiest–and most accident-heavy–locales in all of South Florida. To make matters worse, most car accidents that occur in Homestead were completely preventable. It was only due to the negligent acts of a driver or a third-party that someone was injured in the first place.
If you have been hurt in an accident–or lost a family member in a car crash–you have a legal right to seek compensation. Your own insurance company is required to cover minor injuries. But in more serious cases you can take direct legal action against the responsible individuals. Our Homestead car accident lawyers can help. The Florida personal injury team at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, handles a wide variety of legal claims arising from car accidents. Whether you need someone to deal with an insurance company on your behalf or present your case to a jury, we offer skilled, compassionate representation that puts your best interests front and center.
What Should I Do Following a Homestead, Florida, Car Accident?
When it comes to a car accident, the actual collision usually takes just a fraction of a second. Most of the time, the victim never saw the other vehicle until they were struck. And in the first moments following an accident, everyone may be uncertain what to do next.
The first thing you should always do is to make sure your vehicle is completely stopped in a safe location, preferably to the side of the road. Never leave the scene of an accident without stopping. You can be arrested and charged with a crime if you do.
The law also requires you to exchange basic contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved. You do not have to volunteer any additional information. Never apologize or make any admission of fault at the accident scene. We understand that many people apologize out of instinct without even knowing if they did anything wrong. But any such admission could later be used against you by an insurance company or a potential defendant.
Of course, if anyone appears injured at the accident scene, you need to call 911 and call emergency medical personnel to the scene. And even if you do not think you were hurt–or only suffered minor injuries–you should still seek medical attention as soon as is practical. The fact is that many serious car accident injuries do not present with immediate symptoms. For example, if you suffered whiplash or a traumatic brain injury you might “feel fine” in the moments following the crash only to experience serious pain within a few hours. So it never hurts to get checked out by a licensed healthcare provider.
In addition to seeking medical attention, you also need to report any car accident resulting in injuries or significant property damage to the Florida Highway Patrol or the Homestead Police Department. Law enforcement can take down critical information about the accident at the scene and prepare an official report, which can prove useful when seeking compensation from an insurance company.
When possible, you should also not hesitate to gather your own evidence at the accident scene. You can take pictures of the damaged vehicles with your smartphone’s camera. And it is a good idea to take down the names and contact information for any witnesses who might have seen what happened just before the accident.
Finally, you are required to notify your insurance company about an accident. This is a critical first step in obtaining any Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits under your policy. At the same time, do not allow an insurance adjuster to pressure you into making a “recorded statement” about what happened until you have a chance to consult with a qualified Homestead car accident attorney.
Is the Other Driver Responsible for My Injuries in a Homestead, Florida, Car Accident?
Florida law can get quite complicated when it comes to car accidents. All registered drivers are required to carry insurance with PIP coverage. This is meant to serve as a “no-fault” system that compensates most accident victims for minor injuries and losses.
Basically, if you are hurt in an accident, Florida law expects you to look to your own PIP carrier first, regardless of who may have been at-fault for the accident. By law you have to carry a minimum of at least $10,000 in PIP coverage. That does not mean, however, that your insurance company will simply cut you a check for $10,000 following an accident.
PIP coverage entitles you to the following benefits:
- 80 percent of any “reasonably incurred” medical expenses related to your car accident;
- 60 percent of lost income due to your accident-related injuries; and
- if the victim is killed, their estate or next-of-kin is entitled to $5,000 in death benefits.
These benefits are subject to the maximum limit of your policy. So if your medical bills exceed a $10,000 policy, your insurer will not cover more than 80 percent of the limit, or $8,000.
Of course, many car accident victims suffer far more than $10,000 in total damages. It is therefore possible to look beyond no-fault coverage and pursue a personal injury claim against a negligent driver (and their insurance company). But not everyone can file a lawsuit. Florida requires proof of a “serious injury” arising from a car accident. An injury is considered serious if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- any significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- any injury that a doctor determines is permanent (within a reasonable degree of medical certainty);
- any significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or
So while a broken arm in a car accident would probably not qualify as a serious injury, if an arm were amputated or damaged such that the victim suffered a permanent loss of mobility, that would be considered a serious enough injury to step outside of the no-fault system.
What Compensation Can I Seek in a Personal Injury Claim Following a Homestead, Florida, Car Accident?
Unlike no-fault PIP coverage, a personal injury lawsuit allows a car accident victim to seek a much wider range and amount of compensation. These damages include:
- past, present, and future medical bills;
- rehabilitation and therapy costs;
- lost wages due to time missed from work;
- compensation due to diminished future earning capacity;
- other out-of-pocket costs related to medical care; and
- compensation for pain and suffering and mental anguish.
In fatal car accident cases, the victim’s estate and next-of-kin can file a special type of personal injury claim known as a wrongful death lawsuit. These cases are designed to compensate the survivors rather than the victim, and possible damages include:
- the loss of the victim’s support and services to the family;
- the mental pain and suffering of the survivors;
- the loss of parental or spousal companionship;
- any medical and funeral expenses paid by the survivors or the estate; and
- any lost wages or earnings earned by the victim between the time of their accident and their date of death.
Do I Need to Speak with a Homestead, Florida, Car Accident Lawyer?
In the days following a car accident, you might expect that your insurance company will take care of things and you do not have to take any additional action. But the reality is that insurance companies exist to make profits for their shareholders. Taking care of policy holders is far down the list of priorities. And if your injuries are more serious, then you need to think about looking past your insurance policy and taking possible legal action.
An experienced Homestead car accident lawyer can provide invaluable guidance and expertise in this area. Our team at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, can listen to your story and answer any questions you have about your legal rights following a car accident. We can investigate the accident on your behalf and help you identify who may be legally responsible for compensating you. More importantly, we can negotiate a possible settlement on your behalf–and if that fails, represent you in a lawsuit.Our firm works on a contingency basis in car accident cases. This means there is no cost to sit down and talk with us about your accident. In fact, we will never charge you any upfront fees or costs. Any fee we recover will come as a percentage of any settlement or court judgment that we obtain on your behalf. So if you need to speak with an attorney about your recent car accident, contact us today at 305-371-2692 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.