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Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Getting hurt in a car accident is an overwhelming, stressful experience and, unfortunately, it happens quite often around South Florida. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Crash Dashboard, there have already been 76,269 motor vehicle collisions so far in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties in 2020. More than 27,000 people were hurt in these auto accidents, most of whom required medical care for minor, serious, or catastrophic injuries. 

Getting treatment after an auto crash is definitely a priority for many reasons, but you support both your health and your legal rights when you ask your doctor the right questions about your care. A Miami car accidents lawyer can explain in more detail about the following questions and answers:

  1. What is the extent of my injuries? Your doctor is the expert on medical issues, but you should at least get an overview of the nature and severity of your injuries. If you broke a bone in your arm or leg, make sure you know exactly which one. For back injuries, ask about the vertebrae that sustained trauma.

Traditional evidence may only go so far in a Miami car accident case, since there can be credibility issues, subjectivity or bias, difficulties with collecting items at the scene, and many other challenges. Plus, in a fatal auto crash, the victim is not around to provide details on what circumstances led up to and caused the incident. If you are an injured victim or surviving family member of someone killed in a collision, you might feel helpless about the evidence you have to support your claim for compensation.

Fortunately, there are other options that can fill the gaps – or even provide more solid evidence regarding the crash. Most recent auto models are equipped with electronic data recorders (EDR) that may give you an advantage with proof, and your Miami car accidents attorney can explain in more detail. Some basics may also be informative.

Overview of EDR Functions

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts many different public awareness campaigns throughout the year, and an upcoming event should be of particular interest to parents of younger motorists. National Teen Driver Safety Week runs from October 18-24, 2020, a week during which the NHTSA reminds parents to have conversations with their kids about critical safety rules. The statistics should convince you of the importance of such discussion: 

  • Car accidents are the #1 cause of death for US teens aged 15-18 years old;
  • In 2017, 2,247 people were killed in accidents involving a teen driver – of which 755 fatalities were the teenaged motorist; and,

DUI and drugged driving have ranked as a top cause of car accidents for decades, but another threat that is almost as dangerous has been making headlines for the last few years — distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 2,841 drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists were killed because of distracted driving in 2018. That figure is far less than the 10,511 victims who died in drunk driving crashes, but the trend is still cause of alarm. Any time a motorist is texting, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the radio, or engaged in other tasks, there is a risk of a serious collision. 

Though DUI crashes may lead to more fatalities, it is still worth looking at additional statistics on the dangers and how distracted driving causes Miami car accidents.

Statistics Comparing Drunk and Distracted Driving

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

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