Common Causes of Car Accidents
Auto Accident Help from a Leading Florida Law Firm
Don’t Take Less Than You Deserve! Consult with Searcy Law to Learn the Strength of Your Car Accident Claim
Car accidents account for a significant number of injuries and deaths in Florida, which ranks among the most dangerous states in the country in this respect. According to data collected by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2018 alone there were over 403,000 crashes statewide, with 255,353 reported injuries and 3,135 reported traffic fatalities. Too few of these accident victims realize how important it is to speak with an experienced Florida auto accident lawyer.
Many car accident injury victims fail to recognize that they have a legitimate claim for damages under Florida law. Car accidents can result in medical expenses, deteriorating quality of life, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property loss. By bringing a timely action against the defendant, the injured plaintiff may be able to secure compensation for their various losses.
Here at Searcy Denney, an experienced Florida auto accident lawyer can assist you at every stage of the litigation process, from gathering evidence to negotiating a settlement to arguing the case at trial. We are tenacious advocates and are willing and able to go the extra mile to ensure that our clients obtain the compensation they deserve. If you’d like to learn more about our legal services and what we can do to help, contact us today to set up a free and confidential consultation.
Common Factors Leading to Car Accidents Explained by a Top Florida Auto Accident Lawyer
Car accidents may be caused by a variety of factors, many of which can be linked to the negligent or otherwise wrongful acts of a defendant. If you are capable of proving that the defendant’s actions led to your injuries, then you may be entitled to recover significant damages as compensation.
Consider the following common car accident causes.
Poor Weather Conditions
Many drivers mistakenly assume that, because the weather conditions are poor, they are shielded from liability in the event that they lose control of their vehicle and cause a car accident. In reality, however, drivers are held to a standard of care that is dynamic in accordance with the circumstances. If visibility is poor, for example, then the driver cannot operate their vehicle in the same manner (and at the same speeds) that they might otherwise during fair weather conditions. Failure to account for these challenging environmental conditions could expose the driver to significant liability in the event of an accident.
Let’s use a quick example to clarify.
Suppose that you are injured in a car accident collision involving another driver (during heavy rain and a thunderstorm). The defendant-driver argues that they lost control of their car due to the slick roads and rainy weather, causing them to swerve into your lane and get into an unexpected collision. You could counter this assertion by showing that, even if the conditions were poor, the defendant-driver should have accounted for the risk posed by the weather conditions and operated his vehicle at a slower speed, and with greater care. Had he done so, perhaps the collision would not have occurred. A Florida auto accident lawyer can help you evaluate whether the other driver exercised the appropriate standard of care under the circumstances.
Reckless Driving and Speeding Car Accidents
Reckless driving and excessive speeding often lead to car accidents.
If you have been injured in a car accident where the defendant was operating their vehicle in a reckless manner or at an unreasonable speed, then you may be entitled to damages. In fact, if they were traveling in excess of the legal speed limit for the roadway, you may be able to hold them liable for damages pursuant to “negligence per se,” which allows you to automatically find the defendant negligent for the circumstances. This can make it substantially easier to prove that the defendant is responsible for your losses.
According to statistics, intoxicated drivers (whether they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or some other substance) are responsible for nearly 30 percent of all traffic fatalities. If you have been injured by an intoxicated driver, chances are that you will be able to obtain compensation for your losses. It’s worth noting that in some cases, Florida dram shop laws may give you the right to sue and recover damages from the business and/or social host that served the intoxicated driver alcohol. Given the hidden complexity of many “drunk driving” car accident lawsuits, it’s important to consult with a qualified Florida auto accident attorney as soon as possible, so that your case can be thoroughly and timely evaluated.
Fatigued driving, otherwise known as drowsy driving, is a serious problem, and it is a lot more common than many drivers expect. According to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving led to almost 91,000 crashes, 50,000 injuries, and 800 fatalities in 2017 alone.
Many drivers mistakenly underestimate the effect of fatigue on their ability to competently operate a vehicle. In truth, however, fatigue can slow reaction times, making it significantly more difficult to avoid collisions. In extreme cases, fatigue can cause a driver to fall asleep at the wheel.
Fatigued driving is perhaps most commonly encountered in the commercial driving context, where employers overwork their drivers and provide incentives that encourage their drivers to avoid sleep and take stimulants. If you are injured by a fatigued commercial driver, you may have an independent negligence claim against the employer, too.
Rollover accidents may be dangerous, but they are avoidable. Drivers must exercise reasonable care when inspecting, loading, and operating their vehicles to ensure that the rollover risk is kept to a minimum. Failure to do so could expose the defendant to significant car accident liability.
Teen drivers can be a significant risk to others on the road. Oftentimes, teen drivers operate vehicles in a distracted or reckless manner. For example, teen drivers may become too absorbed in the music they’re listening to, or too involved in a conversation occurring inside the vehicle, causing them to fail to react in time to road hazards.
Fundamentally, however, the main problem that plagues teen drivers is their relative inexperience. Many teen drivers lack the requisite muscle memory necessary to make safe driving decisions during dangerous situations. They may turn too slowly or fail to make the correct decision to avoid a collision or minimize damage in the event of an unavoidable collision.
In car accidents involving teen drivers, sometimes the vehicle is not owned by the teen driver themselves, but by their parent (or even a friend), particularly when the teen is a minor. If that is the case, you may also have an independent right of action against the vehicle owner for damages, pursuant to “negligent entrustment.” If the vehicle owner knows that the teen driver is incompetent to safely operate the vehicle (i.e., unlicensed, excessive history of accidents, etc.), then they may be held liable for injuries caused by that driver after entrusting the vehicle to them. Understanding who can be held responsible for an accident caused by a teen driver is one of the many hurdles a Florida car accident attorney can help you overcome.
Senior Driver May Accidentally Cause a Collision
Eventually, advanced age can impede the physical and mental faculties of a driver to a significant enough extent that they are simply not “competent” enough to safely operate a motor vehicle. Drivers must consider their ability to safely operate their vehicle before setting forth on the road. If they are having trouble effectively navigating roadways, then chances are that they are exposing others to an unreasonable risk of injury.
In some car accident scenarios, you may have a legitimate claim for damages against a property owner — public or private. Property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition for others, and this includes roadways. Failure to adequately maintain roadways (and adjacent structures) could lead to a serious car accident and expose the property owner to liability.
Consider, for example, a situation in which you are injured by a falling tree on the highway during perfectly normal weather. After further investigation, you find that the owner of the property abutting the highway did not properly inspect the trees for disease and rot. Had they done so, they would have discovered that the trees posed a dangerous falling hazard, and they could have corrected the issue by cutting down the trees or otherwise treating the disease/rot. A Florida lawyer can help you determine whether your accident was preventable and within the property owner’s duty to maintain.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Attorneys to Discuss Your Case
If you have sustained serious injuries in a car accident due to the negligence or wrongful misconduct of another individual (or entity), then you may have a right to be compensated for your losses under Florida law. Here at Searcy Denney, we have extensive experience representing injured claimants in a range of car accident lawsuits, from those involving drunk drivers to multi-car pileups.
Interested in learning more? Contact a skilled Florida auto accident lawyer to arrange for a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. Call 1-800-780-8607 or request an appointment online. We do not charge our clients fees or costs until — and unless — the case is won, and you have received just compensation for your injuries.