Vehicle accidents totaled 5,811,000 nationwide in 2008, injuring approximately 3 million people. Vehicle accidents can result in serious injuries and more than 2 million people were permanently injured in 2008 as a result. In Florida, there were 2,978 fatalities from vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These vehicle accidents were the number one cause of death among persons aged 3 to 33.
A motor vehicle accident is an occurrence in which a motorized vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, etc.) collides with another vehicle, a pedestrian, an animal, road hazard or debris, or when the vehicle collides with some geographical, architectural or natural obstacle. The result of a vehicle crash is normally injury, property damage, vehicle damage, or the death/destruction of whomever or whatever was hit.
Causes of vehicle accidents vary. Drivers may be at fault due to inattention, distraction, biological factors such as drunkenness, heart attack, stroke, fainting or other physical cause. Drivers may be ignorant of road rules, as in driving the wrong way on a one way street. Drivers may have mental problems or not even be a licensed driver. Inappropriate driver behavior may also be a factor. This would include tailgating, rubbernecking or disregarding traffic safety rules.
Other accidents can be caused by product defects or failures, weather conditions or road hazards. Most vehicle accident injuries result in serious physical injuries due to the size, weight and speed of the vehicle. Some vehicles are not crashworthy or have mechanical failures. In a rollover accident, there is likely to be extreme forces acting upon the vehicle that can result in roof crush, seat failures, tire tread separations and other material failures that can cause injury to occupants.
Road conditions include pot holes, poor design, improper drainage, missing warning or road signs and hazards like telephone poles or trees that are located too close to the highway for safe driving. The impact of bad weather can cause skidding, loss of control or interference with visibility. Accidents happen every second in this country. Florida is no exception to vehicle accidents, even though 2008 statistics are showing occurrences have been dropping slightly.
In the year 2008, statistics compiled by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles show that Florida had 243,342 traffic crashes, about 665 per day. Fatalities numbered 2,983, with 199,658 injuries. Even when there was only property damage, 112,416 crashes were counted.
What to do if you’re in an accident
If you or a loved one is injured in a vehicle accident, contact your personal injury attorney immediately. This is important for protecting your rights to accident damage compensation. Damages can include the obvious medical expenses. Additional claims can be made for property damage, pain and suffering, loss of income, therapy fees, special equipment costs and a raft of future expenses.
Future expense calculations may need to be figured up by an expert witness, who is provided by your personal injury lawyer. Future damages include loss of potential income, loss of companionship and guidance, loss of future inheritance and future medical/dental bills.
Injuries from vehicle accidents can be extensive, costly and life threatening. Brain injury, spinal cord injury, knee, leg and back injuries and whiplash are just some potential problems. Psychological injury may all occur, along with need for long term care or funeral/burial expenses in the case of a fatality.
Selecting an attorney
It is important to not sign any insurance papers or make any statements without first consulting your personal injury lawyer. The last thing you want is to sign away rights or make an inadequate settlement. Your personal injury attorney will stand up for your best interests in gaining a proper settlement or court award. Most personal injury cases do not make it all the way to court; settlements are done through negotiations to avoid high jury awards. In the case of product defect or failure, the lawyer will investigate all the details to pinpoint who is the party responsible for the negligence.
Work with your Florida personal injury lawyer from the beginning for vehicle accidents. Florida law only requires vehicle owners to provide minimum insurance of $10,000 to $20,000. This can be very inadequate. Your personal injury attorney will work to obtain a fair and reasonable amount to settle your damage claims.