No Recovery, You Owe Us Nothing
Even if you have done everything in your power to maintain your vehicle, drive safely, and protect passengers from harm, it is not always possible to prevent death or serious injury from an unexpected vehicle crash.
The attorneys at Searcy Denney know all too well the devastation that can be caused by a hidden design defect, a drunk or distracted driver, a poorly-maintained road, or a tractor trailer out of control. We stand ready to share with you our more than 40 years of experience helping victims of vehicle accidents. For us, no case is too complex, and every case matters.
A major advancement in preventing car crash fatalities and injuries was the seat belt, first required in 1968 by the federal government to be installed in passenger cars. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that seat belts are estimated to have saved 12,802 lives in 2014, and to have reduced serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) credits other safety features, as well, with preventing thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries.
In recent vehicle safety developments:
Even with technological advances and rigorous enforcement of safety laws, accidents happen. If an auto accident happens to you or your family, the Florida car crash attorneys at Searcy Denney are available to discuss your options, gather the evidence to make your case, and fight for you at the negotiating table or in the courtroom.
In 2014, an estimated 80 percent of drivers and passengers were killed when ejected from their vehicles in car crashes. Statistics prove, and experts agree, that wearing a seat belt can make the difference between life and death.
The NHTSA reports that, in 2015, seat belt use reached 88.5%. This has been accompanied by a gradual decline in the number of people killed in car crashes who were not wearing seat belts.
In 1986, nearly 20 years after seat belts were introduced, a national Safety Belt Law was passed requiring states to enact seat belt laws. States responded by passing two types of laws:
As of 2015, 34 states plus the District of Columbia have primary seat belt laws. Secondary seat belt laws are in effect in 15 states, many of which have initiated primary enforcement for younger drivers and passengers. New Hampshire is the only state that does not require adults to wear seat belts, but it does require children under 18 to buckle up.
Details of state laws can vary widely. Florida law, for example, requires all front seat occupants – driver and passengers – to buckle up, but not back seat adult passengers. Children between ages six and 17 must wear seat belts whether sitting in the front or back seats. The driver is responsible for compliance, and each county imposes a set fine for violations. Despite evidence that fines increase compliance, Florida’s compliance level remains below the national average.
The Florida auto accident lawyers at Searcy Denney urge everyone to buckle up, whether a driver or passenger. But even though seat belts can save lives and prevent injuries, accidents happen. With more than 40 years’ experience representing families involved in auto accidents, our law firm will fight for your rights if a loved one is killed or you are injured in a car crash.
The NHTSA reports that in 2014, the lives of an estimated 252 children under five years old were saved by child car seat restraints.
A new iPhone, iPad and Android app announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2013 provides real-time vehicle safety information for consumers, including how to find help in installing children’s car seats. The app, which can be downloaded from Apple’s iTunes store, also includes:
For the Florida auto accident attorneys at Searcy Denney, many of whom are parents or grandparents, protecting our children is a top priority. That’s just one reason why our law firm helps so many families suffering the tragedy of an auto accident. If you are one of those families, we’re just a call away for a free, confidential conversation that can help you find your way through this difficult time.
The combination of seat belts and airbags has proved to be the most effective accident protection for drivers and passengers.
Airbags were first introduced in passenger cars in the 1970s, but these early models had significant design flaws that were responsible for fatalities caused solely by the airbags, especially among shorter-than-average or underweight occupants. Improved versions were re-introduced, and by 1991, driver-seat front airbags were mandatory. In 1998, both driver and passenger-seat front airbags were required by federal law in all passenger cars; in 1999, they were required in light trucks and vans, as well.
Frontal airbags saved an estimated 2,396 lives in 2014, and studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicate that side airbags provide even more protection.
To enhance the proven effectiveness of airbags, organizations such as the Governors Highway Safety Association continue to urge additional testing using crash dummies of various sizes, and to encourage auto manufacturers to offer advanced airbag technology that protects people of all sizes.
While side-impact airbags are not yet standard equipment, they are being installed in more and more passenger cars. Currently, there are three types of side-impact airbags (SABs):
The NHTSA estimates that early airbag models caused more than 290 deaths between 1990 and 2008, but technology has made airbags safer. In 2001, NHTSA modified safety standards to require that vehicles made after 2007 have airbags with sensors to detect a small driver or passenger or a child in a safety seat, in which cases airbags would be deployed with less force.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offers some additional recommendations for preventing airbag injuries:
Several airbag innovations appear promising for greater protection in case of a vehicle crash. Inflatable shoulder seat belts reduce risk for adults and for children in booster seats or safety belts alone. Volvo has developed a hood airbag that is designed to protect pedestrians, so that when collision with a pedestrian is detected, an airbag inflates from under the hood to cover the windshield and other areas that pedestrians are most likely to hit.
If you or a family member has been injured by a defective airbag or an unexpected airbag deployment, a free, confidential consultation with one of the experienced auto accident attorneys can explain what recourse you may have and help you seek justice for your losses.
Distracted driving can mean anything from eating or drinking to applying makeup to using a navigation system. But sending and reading text messages while driving has become the number one cause of distracted driving deaths and injuries. The NHTSA reports that the percentage of drivers texting or manipulating hand-held devices has increased from 1.7% in 2013 to 2.2% in 2014, with drivers between 16 and 24 years old leading the pack.
A US Department of Transportation (DOT) Distracted Driving Summit in 2009 became the catalyst for a national campaign to decrease traffic deaths and injuries associated with distracted driving, and to educate the public about the dangers of distractions such as texting and cell phone use on our roads and highways.
By 2011, texting and cell phone use by drivers had become so prevalent – and so dangerous – that many state legislatures and some municipal governments passed restrictions or outright bans. Between 2011 and 2014, smart phone ownership in the U.S. grew from 52% to 80%, increasing the potential risks for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Two new distracted driving risks that have the potential for widespread accidents are Snapchat, an interactive communication smartphone app, and Pokemon Go, a game where drivers search real locations in their area to capture virtual Pokemon characters.
Snapchat enables drivers to send their friends photos and videos that are destroyed shortly after they are received, and also can include a messaging and video chat app. The Pokemon Go game, which can be downloaded for free, guides players via a GPS map and displays which Pokemon figures are likely to pop up in nearby locations.
NHTSA data indicate that distracted driving killed 3,179 people in 2014 and injured 431,000 more. The figure may be even higher, NHTSA warns, because data collection is uncoordinated among the states and many distracted driving accidents go unreported.
According to the most recent information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety the following texting bans and cell phone restrictions have been adopted in the United States.
As of October 1, 2013, Florida has prohibited drivers of all ages from texting while driving. But enforcement is secondary, meaning that a driver must be stopped for another violation rather than for texting itself.
Increases in fatalities and injuries, combined with increases in smart phone ownership, have prompted states to consider restrictions on cell phone use while driving, including outright bans.
A first-of-its kind advocacy group called FocusDriven was formed in January 2010 as a result of collaboration among families of distracted driving victims, law enforcement, researchers, public officials and existing safety advocacy organizations such as the National Safety Council. In addition, the NHTSA has launched Distraction.gov, a website loaded with statistical reports, demonstration projects, and other research, plus educational materials such as videos and public service announcements.
Our Florida accident attorneys are deeply committed to helping families that have suffered a death or injuries in a catastrophic auto accident. Over more than 40 years, we have achieved substantial settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients. Our convenient, fully-staffed offices in West Palm Beach and Tallahassee welcome you for a free, confidential consultation with one of our lawyers.
Please complete our Contact Form or call us at 1-800-780-8607 to schedule an appointment.