Car Accidents

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Florida Car Accident Law Firm

At the Disability Law Firm, Zephyrhills and Dade City personal injury attorney Robert C. Alston aggressively brings cases on behalf of his injured clients.

Nobody gets behind the wheel expecting that they will get into a car accident. However, hundreds of Florida car crashes occur every single day. Often, these accidents result in life-altering injuries. Florida law allows those who have been injured in a Florida motor vehicle collision to pursue a personal injury claim against those responsible for their injuries. We work on your behalf against negligent motorists and their insurance companies to ensure you recover the compensation you need and deserve.

In Florida, drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists

This duty requires drivers to obey all traffic signs and laws, but also that they operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. However, lapses happen.

Every Year IN FLORIDA THERE ARE OVER

Car accidents suddenly and drastically change the lives of the people who are affected by them. Following a serious Tampa Bay car accident, those involved in the accident often suffer debilitating injuries, keeping them from working and enjoying their life in the same way they used to. Not only that, but the combination of the missed paychecks and the increasing medical bills can place significant additional stress on injured motorists and their families.

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402,500

Car Accidents
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254,000

INJURIES
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3,100

FATALITIES

Do I Have a Car Accident Case?

When a driver’s negligence causes a Florida car accident, anyone injured as a result of that driver’s negligence can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Florida personal injury claims are premised on the theory of negligence, which requires an injured motorist present proof of four elements:

01

The defendant owed the injured motorist a duty of care

02

The defendant violated that duty of care through action or inaction

03

The defendant’s breach of that duty resulted in the harm suffered by the injured motorist

04

The injured motorist suffered compensable damages

PROVING YOUR CAR ACCIDENT CASE

DUTY OF CARE

DUTY OF CARE

Under Florida law, all drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists. This duty requires drivers to obey all traffic signs and laws, but also that they operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. However, lapses in judgment occur, and when they do, other motorists are put at risk.

In the majority of Florida auto accident cases, duty is not at issue because it is commonly understood that all drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely.

BREACH OF DUTY
CAUSATION
ACTUAL DAMAGES

PROVING YOUR CAR ACCIDENT CASE

Duty of Care

Under Florida law, all drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists. This duty requires drivers to obey all traffic signs and laws, but also that they operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. However, lapses in judgment occur, and when they do, other motorists are put at risk.

In the majority of Florida auto accident cases, duty is not at issue because it is commonly understood that all drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely.

Breach of Duty

Each of the remaining three elements, including breach of duty, require an accident victim to present supporting evidence.

For example, if you were injured in a drunk driving accident, you may present evidence of the defendant’s conviction for DUI. This will help prove that the other driver violated his or her duty to operate a vehicle in a way that would not harm others.

Causation

Causation can be tricky to understand. The Florida Standard Jury Instructions explain that a defendant’s negligence is considered the legal cause of another’s injury if the defendant actions “in natural and continuous sequence produces or contributes substantially to producing such injury, so that it can reasonably be said that, but for the negligence, the injury would not have occurred.”

In other words, you must prove you would not have been injured but for the negligence of the defendant.

ACTUAL DAMAGES

An injured party must establish that they suffered actual damages to recover in a Florida car accident lawsuit.

Damages are often proven by presenting evidence of medical treatment, missed work, and testimony regarding the effect the accident had on the injured party’s life.

Causes of Florida Car Accidents

The causes of Florida car crashes vary. However, to better understand the statistics, experts group accidents with similar causes together when studying traffic safety. Often, accidents involve more than one cause. For example, a distracted driver may also be under the influence of alcohol at the time of an accident. Below are some of the most common causes of Florida car accidents:

01

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Aggressive Driving

AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

Speeding and other forms of aggressive driving are a leading cause of Florida car accidents, with approximately 27 percent of all fatal accidents caused by speeding alone. Other forms of aggressive driving include weaving through traffic, tailgating, sudden lane changes and running red lights.

speeding statistics

02

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Distracted Driving

DISTRACTED DRIVING

As the prevalence of cell phone use has increased over the past decade, the dangers of distracted driving have recently been pushed to the center stage. Recent reports have revealed that Florida has the second-highest rate of distracted driving in the nation, behind only neighboring Louisiana. State statistics indicate that there are almost 50,000 Florida distracted driving accidents each year.

50000 distracted driving accidents in florida each year

03

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Fatigued Driving

FATIGUED DRIVING

Driving while drowsy has been shown to have a negative effect on both a driver’s decision-making as well as their reaction time. Florida truck drivers, in particular, are at risk of driving while sleepy, due to the long hours on the road. When a driver is tired, they should pull over and rest rather than push their limits.

deadliest time to drive midnight 3am

04

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Failure to Yield

FAILURE TO YIELD

Accidents involving a motorist’s failure to yield include left-turn accidents, merging accidents and many accidents that occur in intersections controlled by stop signs. These accidents can be complex, especially if there is some evidence that multiple drivers – including the injured motorist – are at fault.

failure to yield statistics

05

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Intoxicated Driving

INTOXICATED DRIVING

In Florida, the rate of drunk driving is ten percent higher than the national average. As a result, each year there are approximately 840 fatalities caused by Florida drunk drivers. Florida drunk driving accidents are among the most tragic, as they are completely preventable.

florida drunk driving rate
FREE REPORT:

5 Mistakes That Will Cost You After Your Accident

Those injured in a Florida car accident should meet with a personal injury attorney to discuss their situation and how they can proceed with a claim for compensation.

Car accidents in Pasco County

The deadliest times to drive are between midnight and 3:00 am and between 6:00 and 9:00 pm. In 2016, there were over 1,000 fatal car accidents occurring during these periods.

Pasco County Car Accidents
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Comparative Fault in Florida Car Wreck Cases

Many car accident cases present unique issues that require extensive legal knowledge, skill, and experience.

Accidents involving multiple parties, especially when the injured motorist is claimed to be at fault, raise important issues that must be properly addressed to ensure a full and fair recovery.

Florida law employs the doctrine of comparative fault to determine which parties can bring a case to recover for their injuries. Under Florida’s comparative fault statute, the fact that a plaintiff shares some responsibility for the accident will not preclude them from recovering for their injuries. Instead, a plaintiff who is partly responsible for an accident will have their total damages award reduced by their percentage of fault as illustrated in the example.

A distracted driver clips a motorist, causing damages that total $500,000.

total damages

The jury determines that the distract driver was 90 percent and the motorist 10 percent a fault.

fault determination

The motorist would be able to recover 90 percent of the $500,000 damages award, or $450,000.

total award

Can I Recover Damages if I Was Not Wearing a Seatbelt?

Fortunately, under Florida law, the answer is yes.

Florida law requires all motorists wear a seatbelt, and for good reason. Studies have repeatedly shown that seatbelt use can reduce both the chance and severity of injury in a Florida car accident. However, Florida lawmakers recognize that wearing a seatbelt cannot cause or prevent a crash. Thus, a defendant in a car accident case cannot use the fact that the plaintiff was not wearing their seatbelt to prevent the plaintiff’s recovery. Notably, evidence of seatbelt nonuse is admissible to show a plaintiff’s comparative negligence. However, a defendant must be able to show that the plaintiff’s injuries could have been lessened or prevented had they worn a seatbelt.

Six Things to Do After a Florida Car Accident

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01 | Stay At the Scene

Leaving the scene of an accident – even one caused by another driver – is considered a Florida hit-and-run accident. All motorists involved in a collision must remain at the scene, exchange information and help those who need it obtain medical treatment.

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02 | Call the Police

Assess your own injuries, as well as those of others. If anyone has serious injuries, call 911. Even if no one was seriously injured, it is important to call police to report the accident. When police arrive, state the facts without speculating or exaggerating.

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03 | Protect & Document the Scene

Make the accident visible by setting up flares or leaving emergency flashers on. Disabled vehicles may need to stay in the road, but people should wait in a safe location. Take pictures of vehicle damage(s), the positioning of the vehicle(s), and make notes if possible.

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04 | Exchange Information

Get the name and insurance information for all drivers involved in an accident, even if police are on the scene.  Additionally, if there were any eyewitnesses to the accident, obtain their names and contact information.

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05 | Do Not Admit Fault

Accidents occur in a split second, and an injured motorist may not know what started the chain of events that led to the collision. It is important not to admit fault that may be based on incomplete knowledge.

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06 | Get Follow-up Care

Even if the accident seemed minor, seek follow-up care. Car accident injuries can go undetected for weeks. Take proactive steps to ensure you get proper care and create a record of medical treatment.

Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney for Immediate Assistance

TALK TO A LAWYER

Those who have been involved in a serious Florida car accident should consult with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to discuss how they can recover for their injuries.

We offer a free meeting at which we provide an honest, up front case evaluation and discuss how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation.

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