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The Role of Negligence in Car Accident Cases in Florida

09/22/2023
Car Accidents
BY

Car accidents can change one’s life in an instant. Auto wrecks can result in serious injuries that involve brain trauma, paralysis, and even wrongful death. Fortunately, Florida law allows the victims of an accident to receive compensation for their losses as well as their pain and suffering. Obtaining such compensation will require that you prove that the other party’s negligence is what caused the wreck. This article will explain the role that negligence plays in such situations.

Drivers Must Exercise Reasonable Care in Ensuring That They Follow the Rules of the Road

All drivers have a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that they are obeying traffic laws and operating their vehicles in a way that does not endanger others. If a driver breaches this duty and someone is injured as a result, then the driver can face liability. The damages that a victim of negligence can recover include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, as well as compensation for pain and suffering. The determination of who was at fault for the accident is made by a jury.

Several Forms of Negligence Can Lead to an Auto Accident

There are several ways in which a driver can breach their duty of care. Common examples of negligence that result in car accidents include the following.

Changing Lanes Without Signaling

Changing lanes without using a turn signal can result in another car being either run into or cut off. In extreme cases, the victim may find themselves pushed into other cars, pushed into barriers, or run off the road. 

Failures to Observe Traffic Signals and Signs

Running a stop sign or a red light can result in a car hitting another at high rates of speed. Also, racing through yellow signals, avoiding Yield signs, and otherwise avoiding mandates to slow down or stop often lead to one car hitting another from the side, which makes the passengers more susceptible to serious injury.

Driving at Excessive Speeds

When someone is driving in excess of the speed limit, they run the risk of losing control of their vehicle. This can result in them hitting another car and/or injuring their passengers.

Distracted Driving

Instances of individuals engaging in distracted driving have increased dramatically. This, obviously, includes speaking on one’s cell phone while operating a vehicle. It also includes taking photos, texting, checking social media, or watching videos while behind the wheel of a car. Other examples of distracted driving can include eating while behind the wheel, fiddling with the radio, and more. If a driver is paying attention to something other than the road, and injuries result, then the driver may face liability.

Operating a Vehicle with Faulty Equipment

All drivers must ensure that the vehicle they are driving is safe for the road. If one’s car is without functioning turn signals or headlights, they can face liability if their vehicle’s condition leads to an accident. While cars need not be kept in “like new” condition, they must not pose a safety risk to other drivers.

Proving Negligence in a Florida Car Accident Case

The establishment of negligence can be straightforward in instances where one driver is cited by law enforcement and there is clearly no dispute over who was to blame for an accident. There are many instances, however, where there may be an issue as to whether the victim was partially to blame or whether they were actually responsible for the wreck entirely. Establishing the other party’s liability in such cases requires evidence. This evidence can come in the form of witness statements, camera footage, information obtained through the discovery process, and testimony offered by experts. Retaining an attorney who is familiar with the process of conducting discovery, obtaining evidence, and dealing with experts can substantially impact your chances of receiving compensation.

Car Accident Victims May Recover Damages Even if Their Own Negligence Contributed to the Accident

Florida applies the doctrine of modified comparative negligence to personal injury cases. This doctrine allows the victim of an accident to receive compensation even if they were partially to blame for the wreck. Any compensation awarded to the victim will be reduced by the extent to which they were partially responsible for the accident. If a victim is found to have been more than 50% responsible for the wreck, then they will recover nothing. The determination of comparative fault is made by the jury in the event that the case goes to trial.

The foregoing concept is best explained by way of example. Suppose Joe Driver is turning left against a yellow light and he attempts to accelerate through the intersection to cross before oncoming traffic reaches him. He hits the car driven by David, who was looking at his phone while driving and not paying attention to the road. Joe is negligent for accelerating against a yellow signal and failing to yield to oncoming cars. If David had been paying attention to the road, however, he may have seen Joe and avoided the accident. David has suffered serious injuries and has $100,000 in damages. If the jury finds that Joe is seventy percent responsible for the accident, and David bears thirty percent responsibility, then David will recover $70,000 ($100k – 30%). It must be remembered that how a jury will rule in any given situation will depend on the facts of the case.

Contact Us To Speak With a Florida Car Accident Attorney

If you or a family member have been injured in an auto wreck, it is important that you contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. It is also suggested that you retain counsel as opposed to attempting to deal with the insurance companies directly. Our firm is dedicated to protecting those who have been injured through no fault of their own, and we are proud of the level of service that we offer. Contact us online or by telephone at 800-780-8607 to speak with a Florida car accident attorney.

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