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Car Accidents

Miami car accident attorney John Leighton can help you with your claim

Motor vehicle crashes continue to take over 40,000 lives each year due to:

  • Distracted Drivers (DWD – Driving While Distracted
  • Increasing number of vehicles on the road
  • Limited regulation of drivers and the trucking industry

Car crashes are the leading cause of injury and death for drivers under the age of 34.

Miami has it’s fair share of car accidents. It’s a fast paced city, as everyone knows, and on the road many drivers have the same attitude. People who visit Miami notice that driving here is different from many other parts of the country.

Residents driving to or from work every day, and the massive number of tourists that visit Florida, are the main reasons for the high number of car crashes that happen each year.

Many are serious crashes, changing the lives of those who have been injured. Serious injuries happen when a driver on the highway loses control of their car, fails to yield, or, worse, drives while distracted.

If you happen to be injured in a car accident while visiting Miami, or you actually live here, it’s extremely important to contact a personal injury lawyer who is an expert in car accidents.

Dealing with insurance companies is not a fair fight when an individual is up against a massive insurer. It is not something you should do by yourself, especially if you are still recovering from a serious accident. Insurance companies are experts at minimizing recoveries or refusing to deal in good faith. They will find any way NOT to make a reasonable payment or fairly settle claims.

Consulting with a Miami car accident lawyer will increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve and make sure you have someone on your side that knows the ins and out of the field.

Car Accidents: common injuries and most common causes

There are almost no two car accidents that are alike. The speed of the cars, size of the vehicles, angle of the collision and the specific location of the crash have a major impact on the injuries sustained. The injuries from a car crash can range from nothing to a sore neck to spinal damage to death. Many people in crashes do not realize that they have suffered a real injury at the time. Many neck and back injuries do not show up for weeks after a crash.

Under Florida law it is important to get immediate medical attention even if it is to just get checked out. The law in Florida requires that someone in a crash receive medical treatment within 14 days or they will lose their right to PIP (personal injury protection) coverage under their car insurance.

Here are some of the most common injury types caused by car accidents:

  • Fractures
  • Brain injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Back and neck injuries, including herniated or bulging discs
  • Burns
  • Cuts
  • Spinal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Leg or knee injuries
  • Chest and arm injuries

As there are many injuries that may happen during a car crash, there are also many different reasons that cause these accidents. Some of the most common crash causes are:

  • Reckless driving
  • Driving after drinking alcohol
  • Driving on unfamiliar roads
  • Tailgating
  • Texting or talking on the phone while driving (DWD: Driving While Distracted)
  • Speeding
  • General distraction
  • Fatigued or sleep-deprived drivers
  • Defective roads
  • Driving while consuming illegal substances
  • Dangerous weather conditions
  • Failing to follow traffic regulations

There are obviously many more reasons that can cause a crash, and this list is not complete. It is just another reason to consult with an experiences car accident attorney in Miami or your local state where the crash happened.

Florida car accident stats and info

Florida had 65,983 accidents in 2017 (the most recent full year of available data).

21,572 of these crashes resulted in an injury, which accounts for 32% of all accidents. 32,389 people were injured in these crashes. Most of these people were entitled to some sort of compensation to cover medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

To appreciate these numbers, the Miami area sees around 180 car crashes per day, or almost 8 every hour.

If you were injured, or someone in your family has lost his life in a crash, you should consider taking your case to a skilled Miami car accident lawyer as soon as possible

Have you been involved in a car accident in the Miami area? What to do now?

Below are a few recommendations you should do if you were involved in a car accident:

  1. If you feel o.k. and not badly injured, you should think about safety first, exit the vehicle and make sure you are not in any harms way on the road. If you’re up to it, try and help any other passengers who might need your help.
  2. Do not walk away or drive away from the scene. In Florida it is a crime to leave a scene of accident.
  3. Call 911 as soon as possible and tell them immediately if anyone needs medical attention or help from the fire department.
  4. If you need medical attention, try and find it when you can.
  5. If you can, take as many photos as possible of the scene and the vehicles, from as many angles as you can.
  6. Do not give any recorded statement to anyone. Especially not any insurance agent or person. These statements will be used against you even if you feel you did nothing wrong. They are trained to make it look and ask specific questions that will later be used against you.
  7. Do not settle for the first offer an insurance company offers you. The insurance companies always try to settle with someone before they even have a chance to talk to a personal injury lawyer because they save a lot of money this way. They know that once you have an attorney, they may have to pay the fair value of the case.
  8. Go to an emergency room, urgent care or your personal physician as soon as possible. Under Florida law you have 14 days to seek medical evaluation and treatment or you could lose the benefits under Florida’s PIP insurance coverage.
  9. You have 4 years to file your claim from the time of the accident in Florida. In case of death you only have 2 years to do it.
  10. Hire a good car accident attorney. Lawyers who specialize in car crashes will help you navigate through the healing process while at the same time get you the compensation you deserve.

Suing in Florida after a car accident

In Florida, there’s a no-fault state law. which means that you can’t always recover anything more than your unpaid lost wages and outstanding medical expenses (not covered by PIP) if you have not sustained a permanent injury. However, most people don’t really know the law well enough to know what is considered a mild injury or damage and what is a serious one. The issues that come up in almost every car accident case in Florida involve whether a crash victim has met the “permanency threshold”. Experienced and skilled car accident attorneys can develop the case and determine whether the case meets that standard. They can also fight in court and with the insurance companies on your behalf.

That’s why talking to a top flight car accident lawyer will help you understand your rights and options.

How Leighton Law can help you in your accident claim

car accident lawyer miami

A lot of other law firms will hand off their cases to paralegals or even secretaries just to keep up with the demand of new cases coming in. Because of the high volume of claims, they are forced to delegate and sometimes that means NOT the most experienced person will work on your case. They cannot give you personal attention.

Experienced, successful and aggressive Florida car accident lawyers

Leighton Law has extensive experience with accident cases involving cars, trucks, tractor-trailers, trains, motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, bicycles and mopeds. Board certified trial lawyer John Leighton and award-winning lawyer Max Panoff aggressively pursue the highest recovery for our clients. Mr. Leighton has extensive experience with litigating and trying complex motor vehicle and trucking cases throughout Florida and around the country. He is the past Chairman of the Motor Vehicle and Highway Liability Section of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and often lectures and teaches other trial lawyers on techniques for handling such cases and maximizing damages at trial. He recently taught attorneys at Harvard Law School at the American Trial Lawyers’ “Ultimate Trial Advocacy College.”

At Leighton Law, you can be sure we handle your case personally, through all stages of the case. Leighton Law has many years of experience settling car accident cases and will guide you through this process from intake to a verdict or settlement. We do not handle large volumes of cases, just serious cases for people who have been hurt in car crashes.

In most cases, the role of your car accident attorney will be to prove that the other party was negligent in their driving and that this caused a permanent injury. To prove negligence, we must show three things:

What type of compensation can I expect in a car accident?

  1. The defendant owed a duty to you (the victim)
  2. The defendant breached (failed to meet) that duty
  3. You (the victim) suffered damages as a result

There are actually two types of compensations a victim of a car accident can expect to get: Compensatory and Punitive.

Compensatory damages are divided into two categories:

Economic Damges

Economic damages are the most easy to calculate and settle. These are mostly medical expenses, lost income, and property damage that were caused by the accident. Here are some of the most common economic damages a car accident victim can claim:

  • Property damage (damage to vehicle and personal belongings)
  • Present and future medical and therapy bills
  • Present and future lost earnings
  • Household services
  • Wrongful death damages
  • Or any other calculable economic loss as a result from the accident

Non Economic Damages

These type of injuries are not as easy to calculate because they are related to how the injury has harmed someone beyond the out of pocket losses. But they are an essential part of the personal injury claim after a car accident. Here are a few examples of non economic damages:

  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • mental anguish
  • Loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement (scarring)
  • Loss of consortium (spouse or child)

In some cases if the Court finds the at-fault driver or business responsible to have acted outrageously, a claim may be made for punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the responsible party and deter others from doing the same thing. Punitive damages are rarely allowed but there are some instances where they can be recovered. Most often they are recovered in cases where a driver is drunk or under the influence.

A long history of outstanding verdicts and settlements

In a record setting recovery, Mr. Leighton obtained an $8 million award for the parents of a 19 year-old girl who was killed when the car in which she was a passenger was in a serious crash on Florida’s Turnpike. This was the only child of Mr. Leighton’s clients, and she had just completed high school and intended to join the military and go to college.

Recently Mr. Leighton won a $7.4 million verdict in Central Florida on behalf of a client who lost his leg when the tractor-trailer shown above was negligently operated and caused a multi vehicle crash. Erb v. Peninsula Logistics, Osceola County Circuit Court.

A family visiting from the United Kingdom was in a taxicab which violated the right of way of another car. The cab was hit, injuring this family who had just come to enjoy the attractions in Orlando. Mr. Leighton obtained a $1 million recovery on behalf of this family prior to trial.

Leighton successfully recovered more than the insurance policy limits against a trucking company who was responsible for a terrible crash in Broward County. Their trucker changed lanes into our client, causing the car to run off the road and flip, striking a tree.  The client sustained serious brain injuries.

Among the many trucking crash cases he has handled in over 30 years, Mr. Leighton recovered for the family of a woman killed when the truck above lost part of its axle and two wheels went flying across traffic on an interstate highway, as well as trucks which have been speeding and violated a car’s right of way.

Mr. Leighton has also recovered verdicts and settlements in motor vehicle and trucking crash cases of $6 million, $5 million, $3,650,000, $3,500,000, $2,000,000 and many others in excess of $1 million.

Miami car accident attorney John Leighton can help you with your claim

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a car accident, do not wait to contact us. We will help you asses the damage and build a strong case so you could continue on with your life with the compensation you deserve.

How do you choose the best car crash lawyer?

When considering which lawyer to represent you in Florida, there are a number of things to consider before you make your decision.

  • Is the lawyer board certified in civil trial law (the highest level of professional achievement available)? Most lawyers who claim to be personal injury attorneys are not board certified, so this is important to determine.
  • Is the lawyer you are considering preeminent in his or her field?
  • Has he or she written extensively, lectured, taught or been recognized as being at the top of the field in trial law?
  • Does the lawyer regularly litigate and try cases of the type you have? If so, find out what kind of results that lawyer has had in court.
  • Is the potential attorney a member of The Best Lawyers in America? Has he or she been selected for inclusion in Florida SuperLawyers, Florida Legal Elite and “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide?
  • Does the lawyer hold an “A-V”  preeminent rating (highest possible rating for ability and ethics) by Martindale-Hubbell?
  • Does the lawyer have a 10.0 rating by AVVO.com?

These are a few things that you want to consider when selecting a personal injury lawyer in Florida.  Leighton Law’s John Leighton has all of these qualifications and often litigates and tries major personal injury cases throughout Florida, having obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts.

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