Auto accident deaths are on the rise nationally - and Florida is not an exception. In fact, roads in the Sunshine State are among the most dangerous, particularly for pedestrians and bicyclists. The vast majority of these crashes are preventable - caused mostly by driver carelessness or recklessness.
It's not necessary to prove a motorist violated the law in order to pursue damages. However, we do need to prove they were negligent. That means establishing that the other driver failed to use reasonable care in operating a motor vehicle, resulting in your injuries.
Remember: Florida is a no-fault state, meaning if you have the required coverage, you can get up to $10,000 in coverage no matter whose fault it was. To step outside the no-fault system, one must prove serious injury (i.e., broken bones, loss of bodily function, significant/permanent scarring, etc.) or death.
The Statistics on Traffic Fatalities in the United States
United States traffic fatalities hit an all-time low in 2011. According to The Washington Post, this was a result of fewer vehicles being on the road when the economy took a nose dive in 2008. Fatality rates continued to decline between 2008 and 2011. Unfortunately, this trend reversed and traffic deaths have been climbing since 2011.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 37,000 fatal injuries were sustained on the roads of America in 2016. This was an increase of 5.6 percent of the number of fatalities in 2015. Now, in 2017, more than eighteen thousand people died on the roads of America between January 1 and June 31. These figures put America on pace for as many - or more - traffic fatalities in 2017 as were experienced in 2016.
What Florida Drivers Can Do to Prevent Accidents and Reduce the Severity of Injuries
Speeding is a significant predictor of fatal injuries. The World Health Organization reports that an injury victim is twenty times more likely to die in an impact at 80 kilometers per hour than in an impact at 30 kilometers per hour. Reducing speed is more than a simple safety precaution - it is also a legal obligation under Florida law. Section 316.183 of the Florida Statutes prohibits drivers from traveling at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. The statute also requires drivers to control their speed as necessary in order to avoid a collision. Violation of this statute subjects a driver to not just a traffic citation, but civil liability as well. A driver who violates a traffic statute will generally be found legally responsible for any accident that occurs as a result. Liability also means the driver is legally obligated to compensate all injury victims for their financial losses.
Seat belt use is also highly effective at reducing the severity of injuries sustained in a traffic accident. Dozens of studies over many decades have proven that failure to use a seat belt increases the likelihood that traffic accident injuries will be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that seat belt use saved an estimated 64,000 lives between 2011 and 2015. Like speed reduction, seat belt use is a safety precaution which is also required by Florida law. Section 316.614 of the Florida Statutes requires both drivers and all passengers under the age of eighteen to wear seat belts.
It is important to hold negligent drivers accountable for their dangerous conduct. An experienced Orlando car accident attorney will identify all parties responsible for your injuries, and fight for you to receive the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled by Florida law. Don't battle the insurance companies alone - seek experienced legal guidance.