The Aftermath of a Miami Car Crash: Dealing With Injuries, Claims, and Insurance

Florida’s Turnpike or State Road 91 closed all morning of April 28, 2023, due to a head-on collision involving a Chevrolet Camaro and a Toyota pickup. The Camaro was driving north in the southbound lane when it hit the pickup. While the pickup truck driver sustained minor injuries, the Camaro driver suffered severe injuries. Emergency responders had to airlift him to the Ryder Trauma Center for immediate medical attention.

Unfortunately, these incidents happen too often within the area. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) recorded 63,507 car crashes in Miami-Dade County in 2022. The county seat, Miami, is one of the most perilous cities to drive in South Florida. Neighboring cities of Miami Gardens, North Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Doral, Coral Gables, and Hialeah also showed high car crash rates.

Nobody knows when car accidents happen, so always prepare how to respond in such a situation. Your timely and appropriate reactions can save lives, especially a loved one. 

In addition to immediate responses, learn the best ways to deal with the aftermath of the crash. Having a working knowledge of car insurance policies and filing crash reports can make your transition to recovery smoother.

For assistance with the legal aspects of car accidents, visit The Personal Injury Center. Our online resources cater to non-legal experts and provide information on topics such as damages, driver negligence, and other legal concepts.

Key Takeaways
  • Miami is one of the cities in Florida with a higher incidence of motor vehicle accidents.
  • Drivers in Florida must acquire PIP insurance to cover personal injury costs in a car crash.
  • Miami car crash victims may claim economic, non-economic, and punitive damages from responsible parties.

Typical Experiences After a Car Crash 

The annual number of Miami car crash injuries exceeds 11,000. About 200 are considered severe injuries requiring emergency responders to fetch victims to hospitals. Similarly, the tally for fatal crash casualties is around 200. 

Recovering from a car crash can be challenging. Here are possible injuries that car collision victims may sustain:

  • Bone fracture, especially on the limbs, neck, and pelvic area
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Bruises
  • Deep wounds
  • Scars
  • Traumatic brain injury

In addition to physical injuries, patients may struggle mentally and emotionally during rehabilitation. As a result, they may develop anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dealing With Personal Injuries After the Car Crash 

Due to the overwhelming turn of events, it is common for parties to act erratically after the crash. The immediate moments following a collision are crucial, as parties may develop disabilities if they do not receive appropriate treatment. Protect your health and rights by following these steps after you find yourself in a car accident:

Inspect the drivers and passengers for injuries

Checking for injuries should be at the top of your priority list after a car collision. Look for physical signs of bleeding or severe bruising, as injured victims might need immediate medical attention. Also, ask everyone how they are feeling to alleviate any shock caused by the accident.

Keep a safe distance from the crash site

After assessing everyone’s condition, move to a safe distance from the crash site and vehicles. While the possibility of post-collision fire is around 1 percent, it can still happen. Aside from watching out for fire, parties should stay on the safe side of the road to avoid being side-swept.

Call for 911

Contacting emergency services serves two purposes: to request medical assistance and alert the Miami police department of the vehicular accident. Patiently wait until the authorities arrive and refrain from going anywhere. All involved parties should remain on the site for a faster investigation. 

Take pictures of the incident

The most efficient way to document the accident is by taking photos with your camera. Take multiple close-ups and wide shots of the vehicles from different angles. It is also helpful to photograph the condition of the road, particularly any skid marks or relevant details.

Exchange contact information with all involved parties

After ensuring your health and safety, calmly and respectfully communicate with the passengers of the other cars. Get their name, home address, work address, and contact number. After, set a date to discuss settlement and other matters that require resolution.

Refrain from having roadside discussions regarding any settlement

It is not ideal to settle matters by the roadside immediately after the accident. Parties might not be mentally prepared to make rational decisions considering what they just went through. Besides, the parties may want to consult others before agreeing to a settlement.

Seek medical attention

After leaving the crash site, proceed to a hospital or clinic. Undergo a full-body checkup to ensure that you did not incur underlying injuries. It is possible for symptoms like headaches and nausea to manifest later.

Follow your doctor’s advice

Undergo all the necessary treatments prescribed by your doctor to address injuries sustained during the car crash. Failure to do so enables insurance companies and the erring parties to refute your personal injury claims. They may allege that the injuries were self-inflicted or you purposely evaded medical treatment.

What To Know About Personal Injury Claims With an Insurance Company 

Before going to court, injured parties in Florida may file a claim against an insurance company for personal injuries and property damages. However, expect to undergo multiple steps and meticulous requirements. Further, you must determine which insurance company is eligible to pay for damages to avoid unintentionally forfeiting your compensation claims.

Florida is a no-fault state

No-fault states require drivers to set a minimum amount as personal injury coverage in their auto insurance policies. This fixed amount will cover certain costs in case of a car collision. The insurance coverage will activate regardless of whom among the parties is at fault.

In comparison, at-fault states require erring drivers to compensate for the personal injuries of the victims. Injured parties may claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurer.

Twelve states in the US impose no-fault laws, including:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

Of the twelve, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are optional no-fault states. Meaning drivers in these states may choose between no-fault and traditional auto liability insurance policies.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance 

Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is the policy required for drivers in no-fault states. In Florida, the minimum value of PIP insurance for four-wheel vehicle owners is $10,000. It covers the following:

  • Medical treatment relating to a car crash
  • Ambulance services
  • Medical supplies
  • Rehabilitation and future treatments
  • Lost wages 
  • Replacement services costs, especially for house cleaning and childcare
  • Funeral costs 
  • Survivor benefits

However, there are certain expenses PIP insurance does not cover. Here is a list of common examples:

  • Policyholder’s car damage
  • Damages on other’s property
  • Injuries arising from accidents intentionally caused by others
  • Injuries resulting from accidents when the covered driver is committing a crime

Filing an insurance claim 

Claimants of PIP insurance in Florida can file against their insurer or the insurer of the erring driver. Regardless of choice, insurance companies have sixty days to investigate the claim. However, they are obliged to pay the damages within thirty days, even if the investigation is ongoing.

The claim will become overdue if thirty days have passed and the insurance company has not paid. In such cases, claimants may send a demand letter to the insurance company. This formal letter shall express their intention to initiate litigation if the insurers persistently deny their PIP claim.

Legal consequences of agreeing to a settlement 

It is standard practice for insurance companies to request claimants to sign a release and waiver agreement before delivering the settlement money. Signing this legal document prevents the claimant from taking legal action against the insurance company. The contract may remain effective even when the claimant, later on, finds the amount insufficient and unjustifiable.

Injured parties should not sell themselves short in exchange for a faster release of insurance claims. If you are dissatisfied with the insurer’s settlement offer, know there is always room for negotiations.

Have you recently been injured in an accident?

Negotiating With an Insurance Company 

Negotiating with insurance companies can be tiring and time-consuming. Claimants should prepare for lengthy paperwork and various processes in multiple offices. However, no matter how tired or overwhelmed you may feel, never settle for a settlement offer that undervalues your worth.

Tips for negotiation 

Claimants can hasten and simplify the negotiation of personal injury settlements with these helpful tips:

  • Before filing a claim, decide on an amount you are willing to settle
  • File the insurance claim as soon as possible
  • Justify your claims with official receipts, medical records, and other legitimate documents
  • Ask insurance adjusters to explain their offer
  • Refrain from saying yes to the first offer
  • Set all agreements in writing
  • Consult a personal injury lawyer

Timeline for an insurance settlement 

Since a time limit of thirty days is given to insurance companies to pay claimants, the settlement can be relatively fast. Typically, the filing of claims and the payment of the settlement amount may be completed within four to six weeks. 

However, the settlement process may last longer if the insurance company denies your claim. If that happens, seek the assistance of a personal injury law firm. With their cooperation, you can build a stronger case and claim a justifiable amount.

Filing an insurance claim vs. filing a personal injury lawsuit 

Filing a PIP insurance claim requires less work and time than filing a personal injury case. While arranging settlements with insurance companies may take a few weeks or months, a trial can go on for years. Besides, insurance settlements are more flexible because parties may communicate directly with each other.

When To Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Hiring a personal injury attorney is a worthwhile investment as it relieves clients from technical and legal difficulties. Injured parties should immediately seek their services. 

Here are the top reasons its crucial for parties to consult a personal injury attorney: 

  • They can help you avoid committing procedural mistakes from the start.
  • They can help you gather time-sensitive evidence.
  • They can track recoverable damages ensuring no losses go unaccounted for.
  • They can coordinate with insurers on your behalf, ensuring your rights and interests are protected.

Extreme situations like hit-and-run accidents or wrong-way crashes can be devastating. Coordinating with a personal injury lawyer early on could give parties peace of mind. They can help analyze your case and find appropriate solutions.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Miami, Florida 

A personal injury lawsuit arises when someone suffers injuries due to accidents, such as a car crash. Although parties may initially resolve the claim by negotiating among themselves, they may proceed to court if they fail on a settlement amount. 

Filing lawsuits can vary depending on the ruling state laws. In Florida, you must consider the following:

Elements of personal injury 

The four elements of personal injury are duty, breach, causation, and damages. When filing a personal injury case resulting from a car accident, plaintiffs should establish the following:

  • The legal duty of the driver to follow standards set by traffic laws
  • The failure of the driver to exercise reasonable care while driving
  • The driver’s negligence caused the car collision
  • The car accident inflicted damages to the plaintiff and other parties involved

Claimable damages 

In personal injury lawsuits, parties may claim compensatory and punitive damages. 

Courts grant compensatory damages to reimburse injured parties for the damages they suffered. Compensatory damages can either be general or specific damages.

General damages cover physical disfigurement, immobility, loss of companionship, and lower quality of life. In contrast, specific damages cover hospital expenses, car repairs, rehabilitation costs, and loss of wages.

Meanwhile, punitive damages aim to deter the public from following the notorious act of an erring party. The estimation of punitive damages depends on the court or jury’s discretion.

Statute of limitations 

The statute of limitations sets the timeframe within which parties must file a lawsuit. Filing beyond the set limit may invalidate a case. The rules on statute of limitations vary per state. For instance, Section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes states that injured parties in a car crash should file a personal injury case within two years.

Damage cap 

Some states impose limitations on the amount of damages that can be awarded. Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee have damage caps on general damages for product liability and medical malpractice cases. Notably, Florida has no active damage cap on damages arising from personal injury cases.

Did you know?

A wrong-way crash is when a driver counterflows and collides with vehicles moving in the correct traffic flow. This type of collision often leads to fatalities.

Preserve Your Rights With the Help of Miami Car Crash Lawyers

Miami is known for its high rate of car crashes. Given the frequent use of motor vehicles in daily life, everyone should know how to respond in the event of a car collision.

However, navigating through the complexities of dealing with insurance companies, at-fault drivers, and other parties can be overwhelming. To alleviate the burden and ensure you receive fair compensation, consider collaborating with a personal injury lawyer.

Visit The Personal Injury Center. We offer a free case evaluation. Simply complete the questionnaire, and we will connect you to a top-rated local attorney near you. 

You deserve compensation for your losses in a Miami car crash. The Personal Injury Center can connect you with a trusted law firm.

FAQs on Miami Car Crashes

Yes, Florida follows a comparative negligence system. In effect, at-fault parties who contributed to a car crash injuring them may only claim reduced compensatory damages.

Parties exceeding their PIP coverage may file compensatory damages against the erring party. If the at-fault party or their insurer does not comply, injured parties may file a personal injury lawsuit.

It is not advisable to provide a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster without consulting a lawyer. They may use what you said to decrease the value of the potential settlement. Besides, you are not under any obligation to do so.