Miami-Dade County by far leads the state in car accidents. In 2017, there were 65,986 crashes in the greater Miami area, causing 32,389 injuries and 285 fatalities. Tragically, these numbers have been going up every year for the past several years.

For as long as crash data has been collected, the overall numbers of car accidents had been declining over time. This was the case until just a few years ago, when the numbers started going up. Cars are being made safer every year with crash avoidance technology and safety features for vehicle occupants, so why is the frequency of car crashes increasing? The most likely answer is the rise in distracted driving due to cell phones, smartphones, social media and in-vehicle infotainment systems which pull drivers’ attention away from the road and the task of safe driving. Meanwhile, other car accident risk factors such as speeding and drunk driving have remained steady. Cars are being made safer, but negligent driving behavior is getting worse.

Criminal laws and public safety campaigns can only do so much to change driver behavior. Sometimes it takes hitting negligent drivers in the pocketbook to get their attention. Civil negligence claims not only provide accident victims with precious financial resources to compensate them for their medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering, but large insurance settlements and jury verdicts can also hold individual drivers accountable and deter other drivers from engaging in risky driving behaviors. At Chase Justice Injury Attorneys, attorney Brandon Chase pursues these twin aims of justice and compensation through skilled and aggressive representation in car accident claims in Miami, South Florida and statewide. Get answers to questions about Florida car accidents below, and contact Chase Justice Injury Attorneys for immediate assistance after a crash.

What does no-fault insurance cover in a Florida car accident?

No-fault insurance can help out significantly after a crash, but it cannot fully compensate a car accident injury victim. No-fault personal injury protection (PIP) covers:

80% of medical expenses
60% of lost wages

In a basic policy, these payments can cover up to $10,000 in damages. This is assuming, however, that the victim sought treatment for an emergency medical condition within 14 days of the accident. If not, the injured victim can only recover those limited expenses up to a total of $2,500. Accident victims who seek prompt medical treatment and legal counsel immediately after a crash are better positioned to recover a greater portion of their expenses and losses.

When can an injury victim sue the negligent driver in Florida?

If the accident victim is seriously injured in a crash, Florida’s no-fault insurance law allows the victim to go beyond the no-fault limitations and actually bring a civil negligence claim against the at-fault driver. For the purpose of stepping outside of the no-fault system, Florida law defines a serious injury as suffering one of the following:

Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement

What damages can be recovered in a civil suit?

As noted above, no-fault insurance only covers a fraction of actual medical expenses and lost income, and only up to $10,000 or as little as $2,500. In a civil suit for negligence, however, car accident injury victims can recover for the full amount of present and future medical expenses and lost income. Additionally, injury victims can be compensated for other damages such as their pain and suffering or their loss in quality of life after a physically limiting, disfiguring or disabling accident. If the actions of the negligent driver were especially reckless, punitive damages may be appropriate as well. If the case goes to trial, a jury ultimately decides how much the plaintiff should receive. Negotiations with the insurance company can also result in an out-of-court settlement that meets the plaintiff’s needs, so often times trial isn’t necessary.

Justice and Compensation after a Car Accident in Miami and throughout Florida

Attorney Brandon L. Chase negotiates from a position of strength and never shies away from taking a case to court to get the best result for his clients. After a serious injury in a car crash in Miami, South Florida or statewide, call Chase Justice Injury Attorneys at 305-677-2228 for a free case evaluation with an experienced and successful Miami car accident lawyer.