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Automobile Accidents

The most common personal injury claims are those resulting from automobile accidents. This essay will review the legal aspects of an automobile accident claim in Florida.

The basic issue in an automobile accident case is proving that the other driver was negligent.  Negligence means ‘the failure to use due care’, that is, failing to do what a reasonably prudent driver would do under the same circumstances. Failure to pay attention to traffic conditions, speeding, and failure to obey a traffic control device are examples of negligence.

The negligent party who caused the accident is responsible for the damages suffered by the innocent party. If the negligence can be proved, the injured party is entitled to money damages from the negligent driver. A personal injury claim is also generally brought against the owner of the car.

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In some automobile accident cases, the injured party may also have been negligent and have contributed to the injuries.  Negligence by the injured party is referred to as comparative or contributory negligence.  In Florida, comparative negligence by the injured party will reduce any potential monetary recovery that he/she is entitled to by the percentage of negligence attributable to the injured party. In Florida car accidents, failure to use a seatbelt constitutes comparative negligence.

Another important issue in an car accident case is the nature and extent of injuries (lawyers refer to this as ‘damages’).  If you can prove damages, our system of justice will award you compensation for your loss. The damages will include past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, loss of ability to enjoy life, the cost of care and medical appliances. Parents and spouses of injured parties may be entitled to damages for loss of companionship.

The insurance company for the negligent party will ordinarily agree to pay the property damage, that is, the damage to the automobile.

In order to make a claim against a negligent party for physical injuries, in Florida, the injured party must have sustained a serious or permanent injury. This is established through the reports and testimony of the treating doctor, the injured party and any witnesses who have information regarding injuries.

In Florida, there are ordinarily automatic medical payments made by one’s own insurance company for medical expenses and lost wages. These benefits are called PIP benefits. PIP benefits are not reduced by comparative negligence. If the injured party did not own a car (e.g., a passenger) or was not a member of a household that owns a car, PIP benefits may be available through the other driver’s insurance coverage.

A law firm, such as Hoffman, Larin and Agnetti, PA is often able to settle a personal injury lawsuit without the necessity of filing a law suit, which can take a long time to come to trial. We have obtained millions of dollars for our clients since 1975, when the firm was formed.

We handle cases on a contingency fee; that is, we receive a fee only if we obtain a recovery, whether by settlement or in trial. Hoffman, Larin and Agnetti, PA offers a free consultation at our offices located in Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties.

At the Law Office of Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti in North Miami Beach, FL we have over 30 years of experience representing people injured in motor vehicle accidents. We represent clients throughout Miami area and the surrounding area of South Florida.  To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Miami auto accident lawyer, contact our offices today. We handle all injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will pay us nothing unless and until you are compensated for your injuries.