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Car Accident Attorney

We drive to work and the grocery store, and use our cars to transport children to school and afterschool activities. On the weekends, we drive to a favorite restaurant, visit friends, or even take a little road trip. Our cars are an integral part of our work and social lives, and make travel easy and effective.

But unfortunately, using your car more often means a higher chance of being in a car accident.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Crash and Citation Reports & Statistics, there were over 374,000 vehicle accidents in Florida in 2015. Of these, nearly 160,000 resulted in injuries, and about 2,700 ended with fatalities.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Distracted driving

A car can travel the length of a football field in five seconds. When you glance down at your phone to check a message, you can travel up to the length of a football field! Five seconds might not seem very long, but in a car, it can mean injuries, damages, or even death. Too few people realize the risks associated with distracted driving. However, the numbers are alarming.

In 2017, there were 3,166 people killed in distracted driving incidents. Additionally, 10% of distracted driving accidents involve people between the ages of fifteen and nineteen. While young drivers have numerous apps, like Instagram and Snapchat, to distract them from the road, the high risk is also due to their lack of driving experience.

Regardless of age, if a driver is distracted, they may rear-end another vehicle, drift off the road or into another lane, or be unable to come to a safe stop if an obstacle arises in front of them. There are many dangers that arise from distracted driving. Many people associate distracted driving with texting. Texting is certainly a main issue, but plenty of other activities create distractions.

Drunk driving

While many people would never drink and drive, the statistics show that plenty of Floridians do. In 2017, there were 10,874 alcohol-impaired crash fatalities. Drunk driving accidents are often fatal because of how alcohol affects people. Impairment from alcohol affects concentration, judgment, reaction time, attention, and vision. Additionally, a drunk driver may exhibit reckless behavior, like speeding or weaving between lanes.

For some people, alcohol causes drowsiness. This is an added threat, as it may result in a lack of focus, or even falling asleep at the wheel. In Florida, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level is 0.08. For most people, it only takes a few drinks to reach the illegal level. However, since alcohol has such an adverse effect, it’s advisable to never drive after having a drink. Even one drink can be dangerous. It’s very easy to call a cab or ask a sober friend for a ride home. Unfortunately, many people ignore this advice, and the consequences are fatal.

Oftentimes, the victims of drunk driving crashes are occupants of other vehicles. Even the most responsible driver can become the victim of a drunk driving accident, because of the reckless choices of others.

Drowsy driving

Operating a vehicle with insufficient sleep can carry a lot of the same risks associated with drunk driving. This condition is responsible for a lot of car accident injuries each year. Ensuring you are properly rested before operating a motor vehicle falls directly on the individual. Failure to do so could hold unique consequences.

Driver error

The smallest error behind the wheel can have lasting effects. Car accidents that occur because of driver error or failure to comply with rules and regulations of the road can carry harsh penalties.

Speeding or otherwise reckless driving

While speeding might not seem as dangerous as drunk or distracted driving, it is a main contributor to fatal car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding was the cause of 26% of all fatal crashes in 2017. When a driver is going over the speed limit, they may be unable to stop in time for an obstacle, like a pedestrian. They could also find themselves unable to come to a safe stop at a red light. Unlike a driver traveling at a safe speed, someone who is going over the speed limit is likely to be less aware of their surroundings. This makes them more likely to be unable to avoid a dangerous collision.

Vehicle design defects

In some unique cases, the cause of your car accident injury may not be the fault of the other driver and rather the fault of your vehicle’s design and/or equipment. Defects with critical safety features like brakes, seatbelts, and airbags can lead to serious injuries, and the manufacture of the vehicle might be liable.

Dangerous road conditions

Adverse conditions, from potholes to inadequate guardrails, present their own risks, and drivers are expected to adjust their style of driving based on these circumstances. If a driver is not paying attention and fails to properly react to an adverse road reaction or if they react in a negligent way to a roadway issue, they could cause an accident.
Even if you are a responsible driver, accidents can happen. A drunk driver may run a red light, or a texting driver might hit a car from behind. Unfortunately, plenty of people make reckless decisions behind the wheel, impacting other people’s lives.

In many accidents, the injuries are severe and life-changing.

Even if you are a responsible driver, accidents can happen. A drunk driver may run a red light, or a texting driver might hit a car from behind. Unfortunately, plenty of people make reckless decisions behind the wheel, impacting other people’s lives.

In many accidents, the injuries are severe and life-changing.

Common Car Accident Injuries

  • Brain and head injuries
  • Neck injuries, like whiplash
  • Back injuries
  • Facial injuries from broken glass, debris, or collision with the airbags or interior of the car
  • Psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

In some unthinkable cases, car accidents can be fatal. The loss of a loved one is painful. No matter the circumstances, the death of a loved one contributes to serious grief, years of painful remembrance, and physical and mental suffering. When the accident was preventable, the suffering only grows. To make matters worse, many of these accidents were likely preventable. A driver can easily make the decision to hail a cab if they have been drinking or can resist the urge to check a text. However, not everyone makes these responsible choices, and other drivers suffer because of it.

  • 32% of fatal accidents involve drunk driving
  • 31% of accidents involve a speeding driver
  • 16% of accidents involve speeding
  • Only 11% of fatal accidents happen because of non-human reasons, like inclement weather. This truly shows that, if everyone made good decisions on the roads, the number of fatalities would greatly decrease.

In 9% of fatal accidents nationwide, the victims are between the ages of 16 and 20. The loss of a young person is especially tragic. They have their whole lives ahead of them, but everything is cut short by one reckless decision.

Do You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

If there are serious injuries after a car accident, seeking medical treatment is, of course, the most important step. However, if you believe that another driver caused your injuries, you may also want to start considering a personal injury lawsuit.

After a car accident, an experienced car accident attorney can help with important steps like:

  • Interviewing witnesses and obtaining photographs of the accident scene, including pictures of the vehicle damages
  • Obtaining your medical records, which can be used to show how the accident has impacted your health and life
  • Advising you before you speak to an insurance adjuster or anyone else involved in the accident
  • Most importantly, a car accident attorney can help you win the compensation you deserve!

 

Car Accident Injury FAQs

It’s not advisable to do an investigation of an automobile accident yourself. An experienced car accident investigator knows the important steps to take to gather the needed evidence to meet your burden of proof if you are the plaintiff. A professional investigator can also testify effectively to interviews and other results of his efforts as an independent witness independent from you. And if you are injured in a car accident, hiring an investigator lets you devote your energy to seeking medical treatment.

By acting on your own, your activities as a so-called “investigator” could be characterized by the other party’s insurance company adjustor or accident attorney as proof that you were determined to make a claim all along, no matter how serious the injury turned out to be.

A claim made against another driver or vehicle owner is called a tort claim. It is usually based on the concept of carelessness or negligence, although it can also be based on an intentional or reckless act. There are three categories of issues that can arise in a tort claim after an automobile accident:

  • Liability
  • Damages
  • Insurance Coverage

Liability refers to who is at fault and to what degree. Questions that might be asked about liability in a car accident case include:

  • Did the other driver exceed the speed limit?
  • Did you fail to stop at a stop sign?
  • Were the brakes on the vehicle properly maintained?

The insurance company defending your claim wants to minimize the liability of its driver and maximize your liability.

Damages refer to injuries or financial losses caused by the accident that you are entitled to compensation for. Detailed records and, if necessary, the testimony of your doctor can support your claim for compensation. Your attorney can document the ways you have been impacted by your injuries.

Insurance coverage can be complicated and involve disputes over coverage. The insurance company may try to deny coverage. Where uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM) coverage is involved, there are often multiple issues that also must be resolved to assure maximum financial recovery.

The best course of action after a car accident is to contact an attorney immediately. The ideal car accident lawyer should have experience and a track record of winning compensation for victims. A skilled attorney can also speed along your case by by helping you make a claim to your insurance.

If you are injured in a car accident, there are many ways to select a doctor, but the primary goal is to be treated by a competent physician who is not only able to bring about your physical and emotional recovery but also assist you in making a claim.

Some doctors are excellent at medicine, but they are not prepared to provide the detailed reports or testimony that you need to mount a successful insurance claim or legal case.

A good starting point when selecting a doctor after a car accident is your primary care physician or family doctor. He or she is usually familiar with your state of health prior to the auto accident and can recognize the nature and extent of the injuries caused by the accident. Often, your family doctor will make a referral to a specialist, such as an orthopedist (bone and joint) or neurologist (nerve), who is knowledgeable and able to provide care to accident victims.

Another possibility is to consider the recommendation of the emergency room physician who evaluated you immediately after the accident. Friends, relatives or neighbors may also know an excellent physician who has helped them in the past.

Another resource to ask for medical referrals is the personal injury attorney handling your case. Car accident attorneys interact with many of the doctors in your community and can provide a list of conscientious physicians in various medical specialties. After you retain an attorney, it is wise to inform them of any planned change in doctors because they may have useful information about a doctor’s competency to treat a particular condition.

There are at least 10 steps you should take as soon as possible after an automobile accident in order to protect your rights. These are particularly important if you or a passenger has been injured.

  • Obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.
  • Report the accident immediately to the police and your insurance company.
  • Cooperate with the police in preparing an auto accident report.
  • Photograph the exterior and interior of the autos involved in the accident.
  • See a physician immediately if you are having any pain.
  • Get legal advice before filling out insurance documents or giving recorded statements to any insurance company or meeting with any insurance company representative.
    Photograph your injuries.
  • Gather all car insurance policies in your household for evaluation by an attorney.
  • Get legal advice before signing any check or document from any insurance company.
  • Call an experienced car accident attorney to schedule a consultation.

car accident

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes (formerly Perenich & Carroll) was founded in 1955. We are exclusively invested in helping personal injury victims— and their loved ones — win compensation and find justice. We approach every case with passion, experience, and dedication, and strive to provide the answers you need, when you need them.

If you are seeking the help of a  car accident attorney, please contact us. We’ll see you through.

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