Car accidents happen every day in Miami. What happens if you cause an accident? Will your car insurance policy protect you? Or, will you be liable for damage to vehicles or bodily injuries? Can you recover compensation for your own injuries if you’re responsible? Is it worth hiring an attorney to represent you if you’re sued?
These are all important questions. Below, our car accident attorneys explain what you need to do if you’re blamed for a collision in Miami.
How is Fault For an Accident in Miami Determined?
Most car accidents are the result of negligence. Negligence means that someone involved in the accident failed to use the degree of care that was necessary under the circumstances. When you’re blamed for an accident, the person blaming you for their injuries will have to prove:
- You owed them a duty of care
- You breached that duty of care
- They suffered injuries in an accident, and
- Your behavior caused those injuries.
You can’t be considered negligent and liable for someone’s injuries unless they can prove all of these things.
What Might Be Considered Negligence?
When you get behind the wheel of a car in Miami, you have an obligation to others to drive safely. You have to follow local and state traffic laws and use a reasonable degree of care. If you engage in unsafe behaviors, you may be considered negligent and at-fault for an accident.
Examples of negligence can include:
- Drunk driving
- Driving while fatigued or overtired
- Distracted driving (e.g., texting, talking on the phone, eating, fiddling with the radio or GPS)
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Failing to look for bicyclists or pedestrians before making a turn at an intersection
- Attempting to beat a traffic light before it turns red, or
Any of these behaviors increase the risk of an accident. When you do these things, you’ll be considered negligent and perhaps responsible for injuries and damage that others sustain in a collision.
Will My Car Insurance Cover Accident Damage?
Car insurance is the primary source of compensation after a car accident in Florida. As long as you have insurance, your policy should cover the costs of injuries and damage, regardless of fault. This is true even if you’re at fault.
However, there are limits to your insurance coverage. You’re only insured for a certain amount (depending on the specific terms of your policy) and insurers reserve the right to deny claims for a number of reasons. When insurance runs out or your provider denies a claim, you might be on the hook for damages. You could be named in a personal injury lawsuit and sued by others involved in the accident.
What If I’m Only Partly At Fault For a Miami Crash?
Accidents are rarely black and white. Several factors can contribute to a collision. Many times, more than one person is to blame. Florida is a comparative negligence state. This will impact you in two major ways after an accident.
First, comparative negligence means that more than one person can be financially liable for injuries after an accident. Each negligent person is apportioned a degree of the blame. If you’re 25 percent at fault, you’re liable for 25 percent of the damages.
Second, comparative fault means that you’re not automatically barred from recovering compensation just because you contributed to the accident. You can get money for your injuries or property damage as long as someone else is also at fault. However, you’ll only be able to recover a portion of your damages. Your award will be reduced by the degree to which you caused the accident. If you’re 25 percent at fault, your award will be reduced by 25 percent.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer If I’m Blamed For an Accident?
Absolutely. You risk accepting too much of the blame if you try to handle an injury case on your own. Accidents are complicated. There could be many reasons for your collision. Not all of them might be your fault. A Miami personal injury attorney at Lavent Law, P.A. will know how to investigate your accident and find other potential causes.
Hiring an attorney will give you the best shot at reducing your liability for an accident. The less fault you’re attributed for an accident, the less money you’ll have to pay. At the same time, the less fault you share, the more money you can get for your own injuries.