Florida Accident Law Overview
Every year millions of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents - many very seriously. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every 10 seconds someone in the United States is involved in a car accident. In 2005, there were an estimated 6,159,000 police reported traffic crashes, in which 43,443 people were killed and 2,699,000 people were injured. Other startling facts are as follows:
- Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of injury death in the United States for people ages 3 to 33.
- Motor vehicle crashes took the lives of 2,348 children (ages 1 to 15) and 6,964 teenagers (ages 16 to 20) in 2005. Older adults (over 65) continue to be a high-risk age group for motor vehicle fatalities.
- In the United States, 4,881 pedestrians died from traffic-related injuries and another 59,119 pedestrians sustained non-fatal injuries in 2005.
- In 2005, 33% of traffic fatalities were alcohol related; either the driver or an affected person (e.g., a pedestrian or a bicyclist) had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 gram per deciliter (g/dl).
At Fuentes & Berrio, L.L.P we use our experience in handling accident cases to investigate every possible contributing cause of an accident to ensure that you will receive full compensation for your injuries. Evaluating all of the facts involved in the cause of a motor vehicle accident requires skill and experience. Our office will take over the investigation of your case so that you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries. We can assist you in finding an appropriate medical specialist to treat you, and we can make arrangements with your medical care providers to wait for payment until your case is resolved through settlement or trial.
Automobile accidents are generally decided using the law of negligence. A person who negligently operates a vehicle may be required to pay any damages caused by their negligence, either to person or property. Generally, people who operate automobiles must exercise "reasonable care under the circumstances." Failure to use reasonable care is the basis in most lawsuits for damages caused by an automobile accident.
Courts look to a number of factors in determining whether a driver was negligent. Some examples of these factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Driving too fast or too slow
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to signal while turning
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Failing to drive on the right side of the road
A driver may also be liable for an accident caused by intentional or reckless conduct. A driver who is reckless is one who drives unsafely, with willful and wanton disregard for the probability that the driving may cause an accident.
In certain cases, accidents are caused by factors unrelated to the conduct of any particular driver. For example, under the law of product liability, an automobile manufacturer or supplier may be responsible for injuries caused by a defect in the automobile, or a component of the automobile, as in the Firestone tire litigation. A products liability suit is a lawsuit brought against the seller of a product for selling a defective product that caused physical injury to a consumer or user. If a manufacturer of a product creates a defective product - either in developing, designing or labeling the product - the manufacturer is liable for any injures the product causes, regardless of whether or not the manufacturer was negligent.
In another example, if a mechanic fails to properly repair a vehicle, and the failure causes an accident, the person who improperly repaired the automobile, and his repair shop, may be liable for injuries sustained. Other factors such as poorly maintained roads and malfunctioning traffic control signals can contribute to the cause. Improper design, maintenance, construction, signage, lighting or other highway defect, as well as improper striping on the road's passing lanes, a sharp obstruction or problem with the roadway that obstructs drivers' vision, or poorly placed trees and utility poles can also cause serious accidents. Finally, if an accident is caused by an intoxicated driver, a bar or social host may be liable for damages sustained if they served an obviously intoxicated guest, who then drives and causes an accident. See Drunk Drivers.
In all automobile accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an automobile accident, call Fuentes & Berrio, L.L.P now at 305-931-2002 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.