Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience in many ways. Emotionally and mentally, the accident can result in a significant amount of anxiety, trauma, and grief. Physically, car accidents can be the cause of serious injury, debilitation, or even death. Car accidents also take a financial toll on those involved, even if they have excellent insurance coverage. While no one wants to suffer the traumatic effects of a car accident, statistics show that anyone can become the victim of such an event.
In 2012 alone, more than 33,000 deaths were reported in the United States resulting from car accidents. Further, more than two million injuries were reported. While the numbers alone are startling, the reality of the tragedy that surrounds car accidents goes much deeper for those involved.
Every year thousands of car accidents are caused by negligent acts behind the wheel, such as impaired driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and drowsy driving. When car accidents are the result of these acts, the already difficult situation can be exacerbated by pending criminal charges, court dates, and reliving the ordeal. In many cases, the victim of a car accident will be left with only minimum coverage and financial support from insurance companies, leaving them financially devastated as they attempt to recover. In other cases, motorists involved in car accidents may be underinsured or uninsured, leaving the other party with little recourse for compensation.
Fortunately, Florida has personal injury laws that protect the rights of individuals injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another party. Additionally, Florida law has specific guidelines for managing cases where one motorist is underinsured or uninsured. After a devastating car accident, Florida drivers may find that their best option is to seek out the guidance of an experienced Florida personal injury attorney. It is important to understand Florida car accidents, why they occur, and what the process for compensation is in order for Florida drivers to protect their rights.
Causes of Florida Car Accidents
While there are many factors that cause or contribute to car accidents on Florida roadways, some of the most common and dangerous causes include:
- Impaired Driving - Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the U.S. According to the NHTSA, in 2012, car accidents involving impaired drivers claimed the lives of at least 10,000 people. That accounts for an estimated death every 51 minutes across the country. However, the startling facts don’t stop there. Impaired driving also reportedly costs almost $40 million dollars every year!
- Impaired driving is more than driving after a few alcoholic beverages. Impaired driving can involve the use of alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs, or other substances. And the driver does not have to be found to be over the legal limit in order to be considered impaired.
- Distracted Driving - In today’s digital age, distracted driving has become a great concern for law enforcement and lawmakers. Distracted driving can be caused by rubbernecking, talking on a mobile device, texting on a mobile device, sorting through music, fidgeting with a GPS unit, or being distracted by other individuals in the car. In 2012, more than 3,300 people were killed in car accidents directly attributed to distracted driving. Current statistics from the NHTSA indicate that more than three-quarters of teen and adult drivers on the road admit to using mobile devices for sending or receiving text messages, indicating that the danger is very real.
- Aggressive Driving - Anyone who has ever driven in a big city or on an interstate has probably seen some instance of aggressive driving. Tailgating, frequent and unlawful lane changes, failing to heed traffic signals, not yielding the right of way, and making rude gestures at other drivers are all forms of aggressive driving.
- Drowsy Driving - Drowsy driving is a common problem, though many drivers are unaware of just how dangerous the behavior really is. Drowsy driving becomes a real threat for drivers who are behind the wheel for at least two hours, those who commute very early in the morning, those who commute during the overnight hours, and those who take medications that cause drowsiness. Drowsy driving is a particular concern for long-haul truckers who may be behind the wheel for many hours and may be unable to take proper breaks.
- Speeding - Speeding is another common cause of car accidents all across the U.S. As one of the leading causes of car accidents, speeding is one of the most dangerous, though most common, behaviors drivers can engage in. This behavior increases the chance of losing control on slick roadways and being unable to stop or avoid other vehicles or objects. Speeding also exacerbates the dangers of distracted, impaired, or drowsy driving.
What Car Accident Victims Can Do
There is no way to avoid a car accident completely since Florida drivers can only be accountable for their own actions. What drivers can do, however, is be aware of the dangers on the roadway and be sure that they are following the legal rules of the road. Some important reminders for safety:
- Always wear your seatbelt and make sure that you follow legal and safety guidelines for car seats, booster seats, and number of passengers
- Avoid driving during inclement weather if possible. If you must, be aware of your surroundings and drive at an appropriate speed for the situation
- Do not drive after drinking any alcohol, and do not accept a ride from someone else who has been drinking
- When traveling, always pack items securely in the trunk or backseat so they cannot move around and cause damage should an accident occur
Individuals who have suffered through a traumatic car accident, as well as families who have lost loved ones in these accidents, are sometimes unsure of where to turn for help. It is important that these individuals understand their rights, including the right to seek personal injury claims against any parties found to be negligent in contributing to their injuries, or to the loss of a loved one.
To find out what your options are, contact our Florida Gainesville Car Accident Attorney today to schedule a free consultation.