MOST COMMON CAUSES OF CAR CRASHES
When a car accident occurs, the arriving officers immediately attempt to determine the sequence of events that led to the collision. In addition to taking photos and examining physical evidence, officers may also take statements from involved parties and witnesses in an attempt to identify which party was responsible for the wreck. Injury victims are advised to avoid admitting fault at the scene of a collision. Doing so may have a lasting impact if either party files an insurance claim or pursues compensation in civil court. The Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) has identified the following as the most frequently occurring auto accidents:
Cities regularly invest in designing roads, signage and traffic signals to allow for the safe usage of local streets and highways. Therefore, when a driver exceeds the posted speed limit and collides with another vehicle, pedestrian or someone else’s property, a court may find the driver behaved negligently by not following the rules of the road. Most people are aware that drivers may receive a speeding ticket due to operating a vehicle at excessive speed. However, if a driver’s act of speeding causes injury or damage to someone else’s property, the driver could be required to compensate the injured party for his or her injuries and/or property damage that resulted from the accident.
Although distracted driving is not a new phenomenon, the common cause of car accidents has gained renewed attention over the past two decades due to the invention of cell phones. Although Florida has joined a majority of states in prohibiting texting while driving, Fort Lauderdale drivers who text will only be penalized if their texting is discovered after being pulled over for a primary traffic offense. Nevertheless, a driver may be required to compensate an injured plaintiff if his or her texting while driving caused an auto wreck in which the other party was injured. Other forms of distracted driving may include relatively minor behaviors that are not prohibited by law such as eating, listening to music or interacting with other occupants of the vehicle. In any of these instances, a court may require the driver to pay damages to an injured party if he or she is found to have failed to remain adequately focused on the road due to an avoidable distraction.
Some of the most tragic accidents that occur are the result of an individual driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is important to note that a crash caused by a DUI could have both criminal and civil law consequences. The state may seek criminal charges against the driver for his or her act of endangering the lives and well-being of others on the road. If an accident arises as a result of intoxicated driving and personal injury or proper damage occurs, the injured parties may retain a Broward car accident attorney and pursue legal action against the driver in civil court to seek compensation for resulting damages.
TYPES OF AUTO WRECKS IN BROWARD
While the circumstances of each auto wreck often vary greatly in Fort Lauderdale, they usually fall into a few common categories. These car accident types are based on the part of the vehicle that is directly impacted by the collision. Injuries and property damage sustained may vary according to accident type:
Rear-end & parking lot
In the U.S., the rear-end collision is one of the most common types of car accidents that occurs on roadways. This type of collision frequently occurs due to driver inattentiveness. In Florida, there is a legal presumption that a driver who rear-ends another vehicle is at fault. However, the rear-ending driver may rebut the presumption by offering evidence of negligence on the part of the other driver. Rear-end collisions often occur at lower speeds. Nevertheless, parties may suffer significant injuries, including whiplash. More common than rear-end collisions are parking lot accidents, which also typically occur at lower speeds. Crashes that take place in parking lots usually only cause property damage. However, serious injuries could result, especially in scenarios in which a pedestrian is hit or “backed over” by an inattentive a driver.
Head-on collisions, or frontal crashes, result in some of the most severe auto accident injuries. Due to the force of the collision, parties in frontal crashes more commonly suffer spinal injuries, nerve damage, head trauma, chest trauma, foot and leg injuries and even death. Seat belt use has been shown to reduce fatalities in head-on collisions by approximately 61%; however, the fact that the rate of seat belt use remains unsteady is illustrated by the thousands of frontal collision-related deaths each year. Broward County courts are likely to find a driver negligent if he or she collides head-on with another vehicle as a result of intoxication, failure to brake due to excess speed or driving while distracted.
Side-impact accidents are more likely to occur at intersections, but may also take place in parking lots and on multiple-lane roads when one vehicle attempts to pass another. A wreck in which the front or rear of one vehicle collides with the side of another is termed a “broadside” or “T-bone collision.” Bodily injury is more likely to be severe in the car that’s impacted; however, the extent of injury may vary, depending on the exact location of the collision. Side-impact wrecks are also more likely to involve multiple subsequent impacts and speed changes prior to the impacted car coming to a resting position. Whiplash and concussions are the most common injuries suffered in side-impact crashes; however, arms and legs also are frequently hurt. Drivers are often found negligent in side impact crashes when they proceed into an intersection prematurely by disobeying a stop sign.
The most catastrophic type of car accident is the rollover collision, in which a vehicle rolls over onto its side or roof. This type of wreck is further divided into “tripped” and “untripped” rollovers. Tripped accidents are the result of an outside force, which may include impact from a second vehicle or the driver colliding with a curb or other object. Untripped crashes may occur when the vehicle is destabilized by a force like steering input, reduced ground friction or excessive speed. Drivers may be found negligent in a rollover if they are driving at a speed that impedes their ability to remain within their lane. Such action could result in striking another car or forcing another vehicle off the road entirely. Fatality rates are higher among rollover wrecks. Other injuries that car accident victims could suffer in this type of crash include head, neck, and spinal cord injuries, soft tissue trauma, broken bones, amputations and lacerations.
HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR FUTURE ATTORNEYS WITH YOUR CASE
If you’re seriously hurt in an auto accident in Hollywood or elsewhere in Broward County, await medical attention. Your well-being trumps anything else. Those who aren’t; however, can do a number of things at the scene to help their Fort Lauderdale car wreck lawyer strengthen a future injury case, and avoid doing others that can harm it.
- Remain calm and collected.
- Call 911 to have an officer dispatched to prepare a police report.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Take photos of the accident scene whenever possible.
- When recounting the crasj to the police, be as accurate and factual as possible.
- Read the police report carefully for accuracy before signing.
- When asked if you were injured, state that you are not certain (because you likely aren’t).
- Seek medical attention regardless of whether you feel you have been injured.
- Do not discuss the accident with any other driver.
- Do not accept responsibility or accuse the other driver of fault.
- Do not engage in any conversation with other drivers other than exchanging insurance information.
- Do not allow anyone to move either vehicle before the arrival of the police officer.
- Do not assume that you are uninjured.
- Do not sign anything other than the police report.
- Do not accept monetary or other compensatory offers from the other driver who may wish to keep the collision unreported.
Many car accident victims who don’t follow the aforementioned suggestions quickly learn that accidents cost much more than just the repair of their automobiles. For example, permitting the driver who caused the car crash to move his or her vehicle or persuade you to move yours can cause the investigating officer to question the validity of your account. If the vehicles must be moved for reasons of public safety, try to snap one or two photos before doing so. A single photo could impeach an opposing account of the auto wreck, or bolster yours.
ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT
It is imperative that you seek medical attention even if you feel or see no sign of injury. Whenever moving vehicles collide, a strong force of impact that travels throughout the entire vehicle, including the bodies of the driver and passengers. Resulting pain from this impact often is not felt immediately, and injuries that could have been treated quickly might become more severe after symptoms begin to appear.
Always consult with an experienced Fort Lauderdale car crash attorney immediately after the accident. The longer you wait, the harder it could be to gather evidence or track down witnesses. A wreck can be hard to relive, but our accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood will help you through it as painlessly as possible.
Krupnick Campbell represents victims of car accidents with caring, compassion and unrivaled expertise. If you or a loved one have been involved in a crash, call our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys today at (954) 763-8181 today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with an auto wreck attorney at our Broward County office. You have nothing to lose: You don’t pay unless we prevail in court or through a settlement.