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Palmetto Bay Car Accident Lawyer

Serving Palmetto Bay Residents

Personal Injury Lawyers Helping People Throughout Miami-Dade County

How dangerous are Florida’s roads? Based on official state figures from 2021, there are an average of 1,100 car accidents every day in the Sunshine State. That adds up to over 400,000 crashes per year. And while a car accident victim may walk away from it unscathed, there is still an unacceptably large number of injuries and fatalities.

Indeed, in 2021 alone there were 3,741 deaths resulting from auto accidents throughout Florida. More than 16,000 people sustained “incapacitating” injuries. And hundreds of thousands more suffered less-serious injuries that still required medical attention.

If you have been injured or lost a family member to an automobile accident, you have a few potential options for seeking compensation. Your own insurance company will likely cover minor injuries and out-of-pocket expenses. And if your accident was the result of another driver’s negligence, then their insurance company may be on the hook for more serious injuries and losses. A skilled Palmetto Bay car accident lawyer can review your case and assist you in seeking legal damages.

At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, we represent car accident victims and their families. We work on a contingency-fee basis in personal injury cases. This means that you will never have to pay any upfront fees or court costs. We only get paid if we recover compensation for you, either by a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict in your favor.

How Do Car Accidents Happen in Palmetto Bay, Florida?

Automobile accidents are typically the result of negligence. This means that while a driver did not necessarily intend to cause a crash, they acted in a manner that was reckless or unsafe for a reasonable person in their position. Some common examples of driver negligence include:

  • Failing to obey the rules of the road. Traffic laws exist to keep everyone safe. When drivers disregard road signs or markings, they are far more likely to collide with another vehicle whose driver is obeying the rules of the road.
  • Excessive speed. Drivers in Miami-Dade are often in a hurry. This leads to traveling at unsafe speeds, often in violation of posted speed limits. This is why excessive speed is among the most common causes of preventable car accidents.
  • Drugs and alcohol. Taking any amount of drugs or alcohol, even legally, can impair a driver’s functioning behind the wheel. Excessive consumption of either renders a driver legally intoxicated. But even just one or two drinks may dull a driver’s reflexes just enough to enable a crash.
  • Distracted driving. While drunk driving tends to draw more public attention, the reality is that distracted driving is a far bigger problem on the roads of places like Palmetto Bay. A driver who is distracted by looking at their phone, fiddling with their car’s controls, or simply talking to their passengers may take their eyes off the road just long enough to cause an accident.
  • Not adjusting to road conditions. The weather in South Florida can turn on a dime. Drivers need to adjust accordingly. What may be safe driving practices under sunny, daytime conditions is not the same as driving through a rainstorm when visibility is low.
  • Refusing to share the road. People driving cars and trucks often act as if they own the road. But operators of other vehicles, such as bicycles and motorcycles, as well as pedestrians, have just as much right to be on the public streets as anyone else. Motorists therefore need to make sure they keep a proper lookout for others sharing the road with them, especially in potential blind spots.

What Are My Damages in a Palmetto Bay, Florida, Car Accident?

When we talk about damages in personal injury law, we are referring to the full measure of losses that a victim suffered as the result of a driver or other party’s negligence. Florida law generally divides compensatory damages into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages covers those out-of-pocket costs that can be readily quantified in terms of dollars. This includes your past, present, and future medical bills. Keep in mind, an auto accident can cause a wide range of serious and potentially catastrophic injuries. You may require months–or even years–of active medical treatment and physical rehabilitation. And even then you may sustain a permanent impairment that will never fully heal. You can seek economic damages as compensation for all of these losses and more.

Economic damages also cover your loss of past and future income. If you are unable to return to work following a car accident, you may lose a substantial amount of your regular income. And if you do suffer a long-term impairment, that may permanently reduce your future earning capacity.

In contrast to economic damages, non-economic damages look at the psychological and emotional injuries you suffered in an accident. It is practically impossible to quantify such losses in terms of dollars. But non-economic damages assigns a value to them anyway, as that is the best the law can do in these cases. Non-economic damages therefore cover losses such as your ongoing pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life due to your physical and psychological injuries.

Does My Insurance Cover My Damages Following a Palmetto Bay, Florida, Car Accident?

Many Palmetto Bay residents are confused by the nature of Florida’s “no-fault” auto insurance system. Many people assume that their insurance carrier will fully cover them for any damages they suffer in an auto accident. But the no-fault system is actually quite limited in its coverage.

Florida law requires all motorists to purchase insurance with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This is what most people think of as “no-fault” insurance. Basically, if you are injured in an accident, you need to look at your PIP coverage first rather than going after the negligent driver who caused the crash.

The problem is that most Florida drivers only carry the minimum amount of required PIP coverage, which is $10,000. On top of that, PIP coverage does not even fully cover losses under that minimum. The insurance company is only required to pay 80 percent of an accident victim’s “reasonably incurred” medical expenses up to the $10,000 limit. The victim can also receive 60 percent of any lost income, again up to the policy limit. But victims do not receive any compensation for their non-economic damages under a PIP policy.

All that said, it is still possible to pursue a personal injury claim against a negligent driver notwithstanding any no-fault coverage. Florida law permits such lawsuits when the victim can prove they suffered a serious injury. So what exactly qualifies an injury as “serious”? Essentially, your injury must satisfy one or more of the following tests:

  • The injury led to a significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
  • The injury is permanent, at least within a reasonable degree of medical probability.
  • The injury caused significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
  • The injury led to the victim’s death.

In cases where a victim dies in a car accident, their estate and surviving family members can pursue a special type of personal injury claim known as a wrongful death lawsuit. In all other cases, the victim can bring their own personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties. In either case, the parties bringing the claim are not bound by the limits of Florida’s no-fault insurance system. To learn more about how our award winning attorneys can help you gain compensation to help with your medical costs, give us a call today!

Palmetto Bay Car Accident FAQ’s:

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Crash Injury Claim in Palmetto Bay?

Two years. Previously, the statute of limitations for fault-based auto accident claims in Florida was four years. However, that is no longer the case for crashes that occurred after the spring of 2023, Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 95.11), there is now a two-year statutory deadline for these claims. Understanding this deadline is essential because it provides a timeframe within which the injured party must initiate legal action against the responsible entity. If you fail to file a car accident injury lawsuit within two years, you may not be able to bring a claim at all. There are only very narrow exceptions to the rule. Protect your legal rights: find a top-rated Palmetto Bay auto accident attorney as soon as possible after a major collision. 

A Note on the 14-Day Rule: The two year statute of limitations is for fault-based negligence claims. Many car accidents in Palmetto Bay are purely no-fault claims. You generally have 14 days to notify your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurer of your accident and your injuries. Do not wait to take action as it could invalidate your PIP coverage. 

What is the Maximum Settlement I Can Get for a Palmetto Bay Car Accident?

There is no statutory maximum settlement for car accident claims in Florida. You have the right to seek compensation for the full extent of your damages. Each auto accident injury claim in Palmetto Bay, FL is evaluated individually. A proper settlement will depend on a wide range of different factors, including the severity of the victim’s injuries. You have the right to seek compensation for economic losses and non-economic damages in Florida. Compensation may be recovered for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. 

The concept of liability can also impact the settlement. You must prove another party’s negligence to prove their liability in a fault-based auto accident claim. Beyond that, under Florida’s comparative negligence rule, your compensation can be reduced by your percentage of fault in the accident. Based on recent reforms, Florida is now a modified comparative negligence state. If you are found responsible for 51 percent or more of your own crash, you could be denied the right to recover compensation at all. 

Will My Car Accident Injury Case Go to Trial?

Probably not. Most car accident injury cases in Florida do not go to trial. Indeed, the Office of Justice Programs reports that fewer than five percent of personal injury claims nationwide ever make it to court. Still, litigation is a possibility that you should always be prepared for. If a full and fair settlement cannot be reached, it could be necessary to take a case to trial. No matter the circumstances that you are dealing with, an experienced Palmetto Bay, FL car accident lawyer can help you determine the best course of action. At-fault drivers, other negligent parties and their insurance carriers must be held accountable.

Will My Insurance Pay for My Car Accident?

If you have ever owned or registered a car in Florida, you probably know that state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Also known as “no-fault” insurance, PIP coverage provides you with a specified amount of benefits in the event of a car accident. These benefits are no-fault in the sense that it does not matter whether you or another driver was actually responsible for causing the accident.

How Much Can I Expect From PIP Coverage?

Unfortunately, Florida’s no-fault laws do not provide 100-percent compensation for your losses related to a car or truck accident. Your actual PIP benefits are as follows:

  • 80 percent of any “reasonable” medical expenses incurred as a result of your accident.
  • 60 percent of any lost income if you are forced to miss time from your job due to an accident.
  • In the event someone is killed in the accident, $5,000 in death benefits is paid to the personal representative or administrator of their estate (or directly to their next of kin).

Keep in mind, most Florida drivers only carry the minimum required amount of PIP benefits, which is just $10,000.

Are My Passengers Covered By My No-Fault Policy?

Florida’s PIP coverage does provide benefits for people other than the owner or driver of the insured vehicle. Some of the other people who may be covered by your no-fault policy include:

  • members of your household;
  • your children, including cases where they are injured riding on a school bus; and
  • most passengers in your car who do not own their own vehicle or have their own PIP coverage.

Keep in mind, your no-fault coverage may also protect you in the event you are involved in an accident with a car or truck but not in a vehicle yourself. For example, if you are struck by a car while crossing the street, you would still qualify for PIP benefits.

Can I Still Sue the Negligent Driver Even If I Receive PIP Benefits?

For most minor car and truck accidents, Florida law limits your recovery to your no-fault insurance. In order to “step outside” of this system and sue a negligent driver or other third party, you need to demonstrate that you suffered a “serious injury.” Essentially, this means that you suffered a permanent injury, the significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, or some form of permanent scarring or disfigurement. If you have sustained at least one of these injuries, then you can bring a personal injury claim.

What If I Was Partly At-Fault for a Motor-vehicle Accident?

Florida is a “comparative fault” state when it comes to personal injury claims. In simple terms, this means that your compensation for an accident is reduced by your share of the fault, if any. Prior to 2023, Florida followed a “pure” comparative fault rule, which meant you could recover some damages regardless of your own degree of responsibility. But under recent changes to the law, you cannot receive any compensation if you are found 51 percent or more at-fault.

What Do I Need to Know Before Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Palmetto Bay, Florida?

Even if you end up suing a negligent driver, you will likely end up dealing with their insurance company, which is potentially on the hook for any damages you sustained. Many Palmetto Bay car accident victims make the mistake of talking to an insurance company on their own without speaking to a lawyer first. This is always a mistake. Insurance adjusters have a good deal of experience in under-valuing accident claims and even getting victims to admit possible fault for an accident.

Indeed, you should never give any sort of formal statement to an insurance company–even your own–without first speaking to a qualified Palmetto Bay car accident lawyer. Anything you say to an insurance company can and will be used against you later. And in many cases you may not actually be aware of all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your own accident. An attorney can assist you in conducting a full and proper investigation before sitting down to talk with the insurance company about a possible settlement.

And when a settlement is not possible, you need some of the best car accident attorneys in Florida who will stand by you in court and argue your case in front of a judge or jury.

Contact our attorneys today!

If you have been injured in an accident–or lost a family member in a crash–and need legal advice on what steps to take next, call Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, today at 305-371-2692 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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