A Crash Course in Car Accident Litigation
Driving to work. Driving home. Picking up your children. A car accident can occur at anytime, and hopefully you, your passengers, and occupants of the other involved vehicles will walk away from any collision injury-free. In the event that you sustain injuries, whether they be minor, permanently debilitating, or ultimately result in death, it is important to understand what your legal rights are.
If you have experienced a car crash first hand, you know how emotional and chaotic the scene can be afterward—insurance information being exchanged, medics tending to injured parties, bystanders giving police information about what they saw. In the aftermath of an accident, there are many things to think about besides being thankful that you survived. Whose fault was the accident? Were drugs or alcohol involved? Did the other driver have insurance? How am I going to get my car fixed?
Negligence is perhaps the most common civil legal claim arising in the aftermath of an auto accident. The premise of negligence is this: everyone one the road has a duty to act reasonably; that is, follow road signs and traffic signals and watch out for oncoming traffic and pedestrians. If a person is distracted, fails to follow signs and signals, or is not looking out for other vehicles, they may be the cause (or at least a cause) of an accident that causes injury to another person and that person should be held responsible for the injuries and damage he or she causes to others.
Drugs and Alcohol
Most everyone thinks of the mix of drug, alcohol, and cars being a purely criminal matter, but this is not the case. Presence of alcohol or drugs in the system of someone who caused an accident can be used as evidence to demonstrate that the intoxicated driver breached a duty to act reasonably around other drivers.
Who Pays for my Car and Medical Bills?
Ideally, a civil lawsuit arising from a car accident will either be amicably settled between the parties or taken to trial where, if the injured party prevails, they will receive a monetary award in an amount predetermined by the jury. There are two possible types of recovery: compensatory (actual) damages and punitive (exemplary) damages. Actual damages are proven expenses that have been incurred or will be incurred as a result of the negligence. These expenses may include reimbursement of medical bills, physical therapy, property damage, or pain and suffering. Punitive damages are designed to “make an example” out of the negligent person, making them pay to the injured party to deter future similar conduct. Compensatory damages are far more common than punitive damages, but there is a possibility of both being awarded in certain instances. If a person dies as a result of the accident, the estate can bring a legal action to recover these expenses as well in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Miami Auto Accident Litigation Attorneys
Whether you were in a minor accident or an accident that resulted in the death of a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation under Florida law if the party that caused the accident was negligent. At Alan Goldfarb P.A., our experienced auto accident attorneys know how to effectively handle and negotiate a auto accident case from start to finish. We will work with other attorneys, other parties, insurance companies, and the courts to come to the most favorable resolution possible. Contact us at our Miami office to learn more about your rights today.