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Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Whether you just got your driver’s license or have had it for years, there are some rules of the road that are so basic you will never forget. Come to a full stop on red, always use your turn indicator, never pass in a no-passing zone, and other regulations listed in the Florida Driver License Handbook are ingrained in the memories of most motorists. However, there is one source of confusion about one key point in state traffic laws: Right of way – who has it, who does not, and who is at fault when a violation leads to a crash?

The answers to these questions are far from clear, which is why it is critical to retain a Miami car accident lawyer to protect your rights if you were involved in a collision. Some general information can help you understand the basics about right of way and your legal options. 

What “Right of Way” Means

Being involved in a car accident is always frightening, but you could feel overwhelmed if the auto crash occurs in the heavy traffic of Miami streets. Unfortunately, these incidents are becoming more common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of collision fatalities in urban areas has risen considerably over the last 10 years, and has surpassed the number of deaths from rural accidents every year since 2016. 

Despite the chaos and vehicles speeding around you, it is essential to take proper precautions after a Miami car accident. Getting necessary medical care should be a priority, but other important considerations include:

  • Take a Deep Breath: If you are not knocked unconscious by the impact of the crash, your heart may be racing and your adrenaline skyrocketing. Your first instinct might be to jump out of the car out of a combination of aggravation, anger, and frustration. It is important that you do NOT act on this instinct, as you could be putting yourself in grave danger from the traffic coursing around you. Instead, take a deep breath, and then do a quick check to determine whether you are hurt and how badly.

We live in an age of instant gratification, same-day delivery, and lightning-fast WiFi, so automakers do their best to keep the short attention spans of new car buyers when rolling out the latest model year. An August 27, 2020 article in US News & World Report discusses increased horsepower and longer range for electric vehicles. There is even a flying car, which recently successfully completed its first round of testing. These concept models will not be making it to the showroom floor for a few years, but they are interesting as a glimpse of the future.

Despite these flashy bells and whistles, many automobile purchasers are much more interested in the safety features and equipment that will protect their families right now. Some notable technologies are intended to prevent Miami car accidents, while others serve to reduce the potential for serious injuries in the event of a crash. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Lane Assist: This feature is most effective for inattentive drivers who veer over into another lane and motorists who may be drowsy driving. Through sensors and cameras, the technology will correct a vehicle’s path while simultaneously issuing a notification to get the driver’s attention about the slip.

There is a popular view that Florida is home to a larger population of elderly individuals compared to other US states, and census data confirms this assumption. The state Department of Elder Affairs reports that more than a quarter of the state’s population is at least 60 years old, while 20% are aged 65 and up. Based on these figures, you might guess that the risk of car accidents is higher with so many older drivers on the road. It is true that there are unique factors involved with elderly motorists, but there is much more to the story than pinning blame on age.

If you were involved in an auto crash, negligence is the key to recovering compensation for your losses. You must establish that the other driver was careless, so age is not a factor. A Miami car accident lawyer can assist with the legal process, but some statistics on elderly individuals and crashes reveal that the threat is not what you expect.

Statistics on Motor Vehicle Collisions and the Elderly

Many US states have taken action against the dangers of texting and driving by enacting statutes that make certain types of cell phone use illegal while a driver is operating a vehicle. Florida’s approach is contained within the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law, which took effect in July 2019. Police now have primary enforcement to pull over a motorist if they observe violations of the law, and there are penalties for getting a ticket. However, if illegal cell phone use is linked to an injury-causing accident, victims cannot always rely on law enforcement observations when pursuing their right to compensation. Unlike a drunk driving accident where the motorist’s chemical rests reveal a blood alcohol content over the legal limit, there are issues of proof with a distracted driving crash. 

You cannot expect the responsible driver to admit to texting, so you – through your Miami car accidents attorney – will need to explore other options to get essential evidence. An overview of the key issues may help you understand the importance of proof in texting and driving collision claims.

Florida Law on Texting While Driving

Fatal car accidents are an unfortunately common tragedy across the US and Florida, and especially in large cities like Miami. According to the Annual Report 2018 prepared by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 2,917 deadly auto crashes that claimed the lives of 3,135 victims. Though the figures are not yet available for 2019, it is likely that the statistics will come close to the three-year average of 2,925 fatal accidents and 3,142 deaths. These numbers may not seem so high in the bigger scheme of things, until you realize the number of lives affected by one person’s death. For many more thousands of surviving family members, the future looks grim. 

You may be entitled to compensation if you lost a loved one in a fatal auto crash, and a Miami car accidents lawyer can assist with the legal process. Meanwhile, some statistics on fatal collisions should be informative.

Year-to-Year Accident Trends in South Florida

For a potential passenger, booking a trip through a Miami rideshare company is a simple process that involves just a few clicks on the mobile app. From the perspective of an Uber or Lyft driver, interacting with the app is slightly more complicated. The underlying reason is grounded in the relationship between a rideshare service – defined as atransportation network company’ (TNC) under Florida law – and the person who provides the services using his or her own vehicle. TNC drivers are independent contractors instead of employees, eliminating the possibility that you can pursue the rideshare company if you were hurt in a vehicle collision.

However, the distinction does not take away your rights as an Uber or Lyft accident victim. Instead, the focus is on the TNC driver’s usage of the app, based upon three key periods of interaction. A Miami rideshare accidents lawyer can explain in more detail, but a general description may be helpful.

Three Key Periods for TNC Driver App Usage

Considering the year-round mild temperatures and gentle ocean breezes, it is easy to see why many South Floridians choose to get around by foot or bicycle. Walkscore ratings for Miami are proof, giving the city high marks at 78 for walkability and a 65 for bike riding. The downside is that the increase in foot and bicycle traffic can cause some tension with the number of motorized vehicles, especially in the heart of downtown and during rush hours. Add to that an explosion in the number of people using Uber and Lyft, and you have a potentially disastrous scenario that can lead to serious rideshare accidents with pedestrians and bicycle riders.

Fortunately, it does not matter if you were in a motorized vehicle to seek your legal remedies as an injured victim. Florida laws protect the interests of pedestrians and bicyclists, so you should discuss your options with a Miami rideshare accidents attorney

Vulnerable Road Users Have Rights After a Rideshare Accident

As part of its mission to provide safety information to insurance companies and auto makers, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) routinely conducts studies on how to reduce the risks of accidents and potential for serious injuries. A recent study should be of particular concern to any motorist or passenger, especially for those who use ridesharing services in Miami: The dangers of riding in the back seat of a vehicle, a common practice for Uber and Lyft passengers, are serious. IIHS researchers expressed serious concerns about multiple crash-related factors, after analyzing the details of almost 120 collisions that caused death to back seat passengers.

The increased risk for back seat occupants is alarming, but the truth is that you have rights after an Uber or Lyft crash no matter where you were sitting. It is important to speak with a Miami rideshare accidents attorney about the legal concepts, but you may also benefit from some information about the threat to back seat riders.

Seat Belt Usage and Rideshare Services

The benefits of ridesharing services are well-known to many people who use Uber or Lyft to get around Miami, but you may not give much thought about the advantages from the perspective of the driver. BuildFire, a mobile app developer, reported some interesting statistics that provide insight:

  • Globally, more than 3 million people drive as independent contractors for Uber, fulfilling 40 million ride requests per month;
  • The average Uber driver earns $364 per month;
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