What is Considered Property Damage in a Miami Car Accident?

After a Miami car accident occurs, property damage is bound to happen! Property damage can be only car-related or damage to your personal property like your home, yard, or business. But in any of these cases, the out-of-pocket losses are still very expensive and should be compensated by the at-fault party.

Our Miami car accident attorneys specialize in getting their clients the most amount of compensation possible after being involved in a car crash. Car accident injuries and property damages can be claimed together in a settlement.

Reporting a Miami Car Accident & Filing a Claim

According to the Florida Statute 316.065, motor vehicle accidents must be reported to the police if the crash resulted in injury or death and/or the property damage caused was at least $500 or more. This is easier when the at-fault driver stays present for the police to come to the scene. If you have to deal with a hit-and-run type of crash, pursuing the claim will be different.

For all Miami car accidents, it is important to take photos of the scene of the crash, injuries, and damage to vehicles or other property. This type of evidence is used to gather up costs for all damages that occurred from the accident. When you are filing a claim, having the proper evidence and witness statements can greatly increase your settlement amount.

In Florida, pure comparative fault is used to determine the fault of an auto accident. Pure comparative fault means that both parties can be found to share the blame or negligence for the accident. So if you are seeking compensation, your Miami car accident lawyer should be able to prove the other party is more at fault for the accident to increase the amount won.

Florida Insurance Coverage

If you think you do not need a personal injury lawyer to help you win your case and decide to pursue only an insurance claim, you will be missing out on potential losses. Insurance coverage in Florida such as Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is coverage all drivers are required to have besides property damage liability coverage. According to Florida law, you must carry $10,000 in PIP and $10,000 of property damage liability.

PIP insurance covers yourself, your household family members, and your children if they are involved in a car accident. However, with PIP only being $10,000 and covering 80% of all medical costs, it is normally not enough to cover all necessary costs.

miami car accident property damage

Types of Property Damage and Injury Damage to Claim

In order for a Miami car accident victim to collect a settlement, they must be collecting compensation for injuries and damages if they are pursuing with a personal injury law firm. When it comes to crashes, injuries and property damages go hand in hand. Some damages that can be claimed are:

  • Vehicle repairs
  • Totaled car reimbursement
  • Loss of value to the vehicle
  • Rental car costs
  • Loss of items that were inside the vehicle

When your car is deemed totaled by an insurance adjuster, it means that the costs to fix the vehicle outweigh the value of the vehicle completely. Similarly to medical bills, you want to keep all documentation of vehicle costs. When you bring your car to an auto shop, they will document all necessary fixes to make your vehicle drivable again. Costs of the parts and labor costs will be outlined in those papers as well.

For injuries, accident victims can claim compensation for both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Both handle different types of losses. For compensatory damages, it will include financial and emotional losses.

Financial losses mean medical bills, lost wages, physical therapy bills, and even property damage. Emotional losses mean pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of a loved one, loss of enjoyment of life, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

In order for an injury victim to be able to claim punitive damages, they must be claiming compensatory damages and prove that the defendant’s negligence was extreme. According to Florida Statute 768.73, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant, like a drunk driver, who was dangerously negligent and/or participated in the same act before. However, the settlement amount for these damages cannot exceed 4 times the amount of the compensatory damages and exceed $2 million.

Calculating Damages

If you decide not to pursue a claim with an auto accident attorney, you risk losing out on certain damages to be compensated. Your insurance company will only provide you with a bare minimum amount of money to cover your damages. Especially when you only have the $10,000 minimum for PIP and property damage, which many Miami drivers have.

Calculating compensatory damages are different for financial and emotional losses. Financial is easy, as long as you keep track of expenses, you have concrete evidence of the monetary losses you would suffer without proper compensation.

Emotional losses are calculated by the court determining the severity of the accident. This ranges from 1.5 to 5 with 5 being the most severe. That number would be multiplied by the amount of financial losses to determine the emotional losses compensation amount.

About the Author

Michael Feiner
Michael Feiner

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Michael A. Feiner is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Since being admitted to the Florida Bar in 2001, Michael has devoted his practice to representing plaintiffs throughout Florida in various tort and strict liability cases and has successfully litigated cases against national insurance companies, large public companies, and governmental agencies, resulting in tens of millions of dollars for his clients. He has handled all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases on behalf of plaintiffs, including automobile negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, dog bites, and sexual harassment. Michael’s product liability case against Microsoft, as well as his representation of victims of sexual harassment and abuse by physicians, has garnered him important media attention at both the local and national levels. Michael is an experienced trial lawyer and successfully argued an appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. In the reported decision Ortlieb v. Butts, 849 So.2d 1165 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), Michael persuaded the Fourth District Court of Appeal that a directed verdict on liability was appropriate where the defendant did not rebut the presumption of negligence of a rear driver in a rear-end collision.