Motor Vehicle Accidents

Most common facial injuries from road accidents

July 6, 2023

Facial trauma can be one of the worst results of a road accident in Florida. This is the type of injury that can lead to scarring that is well beyond physical. The effects of such an injury can be extremely long lasting. In the worst case, they can even be permanent.

Facial injuries can last a lifetime

Motor vehicle accidents are known to cause more than their share of facial trauma. These are serious injuries that can result in prolonged pain, loss of feeling, and long-term or permanent disfigurement. It is true that the science of plastic surgery has advanced to a highly developed point. But not all injuries can be fully cured via these techniques.

The damage caused by facial trauma can include scarring, swelling, bruising, and bleeding. The pain that is associated with lacerations, cuts and burns can be extreme. There is also the fact that an accident of this type can lead to lasting deformity. while plastic surgery can work wonders in some cases, there is still the mental anguish to deal with.

What are the most common facial injuries?

Facial trauma is one of the most severe injuries that you can receive in the wake of a serious vehicle collision. Some of the most common types of this trauma include broken jaw, broken teeth and broken bones in the middle area of the face. You can also sustain fractures and breakages in the area of your eye socket.

If you are in an accident where you sustain some sort of facial trauma, you should seek help immediately. The sooner you are treated for an injury of this type, the better. A quick response may greatly accelerate your chances of recovery.

Determining who was at fault in a car accident

June 12, 2023

Determining who was at fault for an accident in Florida is a decision usually made by a judge. This decision is made based on the information collected from all parties involved in the accident. Input comes from insurance claim adjusters, legal representatives and police officers who responded to the accident.

Determining fault

The court considers four factors when determining fault in Florida motor vehicle accidents. The first factor is the duty of care, which refers to the responsible driver’s obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of the injured party. The second factor is a breach of duty, which occurs when the responsible driver intentionally or negligently fails to fulfill their duty of care. The third factor is causation, which demonstrates that the breach of duty directly caused the accident. Finally, there are the damages, encompassing the injuries or losses resulting from the accident.

Identifying the at-fault party

Florida operates as a no-fault state, meaning that individuals are not exempt from legal responsibility in the event of a crash. It signifies that each injured party must initially pursue damages through their own insurance company when multiple vehicles or individuals are involved.

In Florida, a person can be at fault in an automobile accident even if the accident is not entirely their fault. This is due to the implementation of a comparative negligence standard. Under this standard, a percentage of fault gets attributed to both drivers involved in the accident. Consequently, drivers can receive compensation based on their assigned percentage of fault.

For instance, consider a scenario where an individual is rear-ended by someone texting or driving at excessive speed while the first person changes lanes without signaling. Both parties share a portion of the fault in the accident. If the court determines that one driver is 20% at fault and the other driver is 80% at fault, they might award the driver with 20% fault and $90,000 in compensation. However, their actual recovery would be 80%, approximately $72,000.

Everyone makes mistakes while behind the wheel. Recovering compensation from insurance companies after an accident can be a challenge. Understanding Florida’s laws about car accidents can make that process easier.

The unique hazards of summertime driving

June 1, 2023

Each Florida summer brings an increase in driving hazards and motor vehicle accidents. By taking an informed and proactive stance toward summer driving, you can heed some precautions to ensure safety for you and other drivers on the road. Stay aware of the following four hazards while driving this summer.

Summer construction

Summer often brings a surge of road work and construction, which causes increased traffic congestion and potential driving hazards. The larger number of cars on the road added to construction zones requires drivers to have patience, stay present and remain alert while driving along with being responsible about sharing the road.

Avoid areas with posted construction signs, allow extra time for traffic delays, find alternate routes or see about adjusting your work schedule. These steps, plus avoiding distractions, can help minimize your risk of motor vehicle accidents due to road construction hazards.

Motorcycles

The number of motorcycles on the road continues to increase, and drivers may have difficulty seeing them, especially if a motorcycle is in the driver’s blind spot. For example, misjudging a motorcycle’s speed and turning in front of it can have disastrous consequences. You can take precautions while driving to accommodate motorcycles. Double-check an oncoming motorcycle to verify its speed, keep a longer following distance and remain vigilant in case of any sudden stops.

Bicyclists

Bicycles, like motorcycles, challenge drivers partly because of their size and potentially poor visibility. As a driver, it is vital to understand the bicyclists’ rules of the road to ensure that you share the road safely and responsibly. Local laws often grant bicycle riders the same rules of the road as vehicles.

Treat bicycles as slow-moving vehicles and pass them with at least three feet of clearance. Allow sufficient space behind a bicycle, and prepare yourself for sudden direction changes, sudden stops or other unpredictable moves to prevent collisions.

Distracted pedestrians

The increased use of mobile devices has led to a rise in pedestrians being distracted as they cross the street. This habit poses dangers for pedestrians and drivers, making it critical for drivers to stay on alert for pedestrians who may get distracted while walking. Be especially vigilant at night and in busy, urban areas with higher foot traffic.

To prevent summer accidents involving pedestrians, you can take a second look at intersections before turning to ensure the crosswalk is clear and avoid going around a car stopped in front of a crosswalk, as it may be waiting for pedestrians to cross.

As you start your summer travels, it is crucial to stay vigilant and prepare yourself for the unique driving hazards of summer. Knowing and anticipating potential risks can ensure that you and your loved ones will be accident free.

2021 was a terrible year for pedestrian accidents

May 31, 2023

Pedestrians take risks even when walking on familiar routes. All it takes is one negligent driver to commit an ill-advised action, and someone could lose their life. Pedestrians in Florida may face greater risks, as tourists unfamiliar with directions might make costly mistakes. That said, commuters face dangers throughout the United States and not only in the Sunshine State.

An alarming trend with pedestrian accidents

2021 saw grim statistics related to pedestrian accidents. An average of 20 deaths per day occurred during the year, as driver-pedestrian collisions reached catastrophic levels. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governors Highway Safety Association released statistics regarding 2021’s pedestrian death tolls. An estimated 7,485 pedestrians lost their lives in vehicle collisions in 2021, an 11.5% increase from 2020.

No one can tell for sure whether those numbers will increase or decrease in 2022 and beyond. However, projections suggest death tolls could reach new highs.

Underlying issues lead to many traffic accidents

There can be many reasons for fatal motor vehicle accidents, and negligence ranks high on the list. Some suggest that risky behaviors developed during 2020 carried over into 2021. 2021’s volume of drivers on the road likely led to more accidents.

Many who choose to disregard safety and cause accidents will likely face financial consequences. Negligent driving takes many forms, and any negligent behavior could leave an at-fault driver liable for bodily injuries and property damage. For some, their insurance policies might be what saves them from facing bankruptcy.

Victims of motor vehicle collisions may need to file insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits to protect their financial interests. Health insurance might not cover all the costs associated with treatment and care. There would likely be additional costs and losses occurred, such as those from missing work. The lost income may not be recoverable, so civil litigation might become necessary.

Wrongful death lawsuits may lead to judgments that deliver punitive damages beyond those awards associated with direct losses. Such compensation could cover the unfortunate losses surviving family members suffer.

Some common traumatic injuries after a car accident

May 25, 2023

Car accidents can be devastating to anyone in Florida. Depending on the severity of the collision, a person can be left with injuries severe enough that it takes months or years to recover if they even do.

Traumatic brain injury

Motor vehicle accidents can easily leave victims suffering from a traumatic brain injury. When a person’s head hits a window, steering wheel, dashboard or airbag with high velocity or a projectile penetrates their skull, they develop this type of injury.

Spinal cord injuries

A car crash can result in severe trauma to a person’s spinal cord, leaving them suffering a slew of symptoms. Tingling or weakness may occur in the limbs. In some cases, damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis from the waist down or even the neck down. While some cases may only be temporary, others can be permanent, requiring a lifetime of care.

Burns

Some car accidents can leave victims suffering from severe burns and disfigurement. This can happen when a vehicle catches fire or chemicals spill and make direct contact with a person’s skin. In the worst-case scenario, skin grafting surgery might be necessary.

Amputation

A severe car accident can leave victims suffering from amputation injuries. A person can lose a limb or need it amputated through surgery if they sustain a crushing injury. This can leave them permanently disabled and needing long-term rehabilitation.

Internal injuries

Severe crashes can leave people dealing with internal injuries. These are often life-threatening and call for immediate emergency medical attention. Internal injuries occur when the victim’s body makes harsh contact with part of the vehicle or another object during a crash.

It’s wise to go to the emergency room after a car accident. You could be injured and not realize it for a period of time.

Factors involved in the 2021 car accident statistics

April 13, 2023

In the U.S., the number of fatal motor vehicle crashes increased 10.5% in 2021 compared to 2020. Almost 43,000 people died as a result of a fatal car accident in 2021. Keeping yourself safe on Florida roads requires an understanding of the reasons behind such a drastic increase.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving refers to any activity that prevents a driver from devoting all of their attention to driving. Allowing yourself to become a distracted driver increases your chances of fatal motor vehicle accidents. In 2021, the number of fatal accidents involving distracted drivers increased by 12%.

Examples of distracted driving include:

  • Adjusting controls
  • Eating or drinking
  • Using earbuds
  • Dressing or grooming
  • Talking to pets or kids
  • Talking on the phone
  • Observing incidents on the side of the road too closely
  • Texting

Speeding

  • Car accident deaths caused by speeding increased by 7.9% in 2021. Speeding causes the following effects on drivers:
  • Increased loss of control
  • Reduction in safety equipment function
  • Increase in required stopping distance

Alcohol

In 2021, the number of alcohol-related deaths rose by 14%. In the state of Florida, courts take cases involving driving under the influence (DUI) very seriously. Any case that results in a death or serious injury carries a felony charge with a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Commercial vehicles

In 2021, the number of accidents involving large trucks increased by 17%. These types of accidents involve commercial vehicles that often weigh more than 10,000 lbs and travel at increased speeds. The extra weight and speed can result in fatal consequences for other drivers on the road.

Remaining safe on the road can often present a challenge. Even if you drive safely, another driver may choose to engage in unsafe driving practices, and that can affect both you and your loved ones.

Why women suffer more serious car accident injuries than men

March 28, 2023

When researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studied motor vehicle accident reports that took place in Florida and around the country between 1998 and 2015, they discovered that women suffered injuries far more often than men. They noticed that female accident victims suffered serious injuries twice as often and minor injuries three times as often as male accident victims. When the researchers took a closer look at the data, they concluded that women are injured more often in traffic accidents because they tend to drive smaller vehicles and are usually behind the wheel of the vehicle that is struck.

The vehicles women drive

Most of the motor vehicle accidents studied by the IIHS were caused by men, and many of those men were behind the wheels of large pickup trucks when they crashed. Almost three-quarters of the women involved in accidents were traveling in small vehicles, and only 5% of them were driving large pickup trucks. The researchers also noticed that women were usually in the vehicle struck rather than the striking vehicle. When the researchers looked at accidents involving similar-sized vehicles, the disparity in serious injuries suffered by men and women was much smaller.

Crash-test dummies

While women suffered serious injuries about as often as men in compatible accidents, they suffered moderate or minor injuries far more often. This is something that road safety advocates have called attention to in the past, and it is often blamed on the way vehicles are designed and tested. Engineers rely on the results of crash tests when they develop automobile safety systems, and these tests are usually conducted using dummies based on the size and weight of an average man. However, cars may become safer for women in the near future because a team of Swedish engineers have developed an advanced female crash-test dummy.

Making the roads safer

The IIHS has been using basic female crash-test dummies since 2003 and will likely switch to the more advanced model in the near future, but few carmakers do the same. The new female crash-test dummy could make the roads safer for women, but that will only happen if carmakers actually use it or government regulators mandate its use in crash tests.

Improper truck loading creates dangers

March 15, 2023

Semi-trucks carry a tremendous amount of cargo to destinations in Florida. Securing the cargo is loaded correctly is vital to safe transport. Many things could go wrong when a truck experiences troubles from improper cargo loading. Drivers, their employers and other responsible parties could face legal claims if anyone gets hurt from a cargo issue-related accident.

Cargo loading concerns

Improper cargo loading may take several forms. Poorly secured loads might come to people’s minds first, and there are instances where cargo fell off an open bed and hit other vehicles. However, poorly secured loads inside a closed trailer may cause problems too. Drivers could have a harder time driving a truck when the cargo’s weight shifts.

Even if properly secured, unbalanced loads may cause trouble. The axle, tires and suspension are among the parts that could suffer when dealing with an unbalanced load’s stress. Unbalanced loads affect a truck’s handling, increasing the risk of accidents.

Overloading a truck with excess cargo may cause collisions too. A truck can only safely haul cargo up to the maximum weight limits specified by the manufacturer. Exceeding those limits may result in dangers when driving on inclines or declines. A semi-truck with too much weight could accelerate faster on a descent. Worse, the brakes might not be able to stop an overloaded vehicle efficiently as the stopping distance could increase.

Overloading and liabilities

Whether a semi-truck’s cargo problems are the result of deliberate actions or negligence, any motor vehicle accidents caused by the excess weight could leave the driver or others civilly liable. A jackknife accident might result in a multi-car accident with several injured victims, meaning that there could be several liability claims.

Truck accidents may inflict catastrophic injuries that lead to fatalities. Surviving family members might file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek substantial compensation.

Injuries and reckless drivers

March 2, 2023

Reckless driving takes many forms, and virtually all types of dangerous driving could fit the legal definition of recklessness. Under some circumstances, accident victims may be able to seek compensation for their injuries in a Florida civil courtroom.

Reckless driving behaviors and consequences

Anyone engaged in reckless driving displays little or no regard for their safety or the safety of others. Ignoring traffic laws and driving aggressively increases the chances of an accident and could increase the severity of injuries. For example, the impact created by a vehicle traveling 30 miles per hour over the speed limit may inflict severe harm upon crashing.

Besides speeding, tailgating, lane-splitting, cutting other drivers off, making turns without signaling and driving under the influence are all examples of reckless driving. Motor vehicle accidents caused by such behaviors might involve multiple cars and victims.

Potential injuries

Rear-end, head-on and other motor vehicle crashes could leave victims with catastrophic, life-threatening injuries. The same could be true when a reckless driver hits a bicyclist or pedestrian since the vehicle’s weight may crush the victim. Traumatic brain injuries might result when someone gets knocked to the ground after getting hit by a car. Fractures, concussions and damage to internal organs are all possible when someone is hit by a reckless driver.

Victims could face high medical bills even when they have health insurance. The insurance might not cover all the necessary procedures, and there could be out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, the victim might require rehab and other post-care costs that could be significant. Filing a civil claim might help victims minimize the financial impact of the necessary care.

First-time car accident safety and evidence collection

February 14, 2023

No one gets used to being in car accidents, but the first one that you experience as a driver shocks the system. Feelings of panic, anger or fear are common among drivers in South Florida when collisions occur. The extent of your injuries, if any, will influence what you can do after your first car wreck, but you should take the following actions whenever possible.

Move the car out of the way and check for injuries

Unless your vehicle is totally disabled or you are physically unable, move your vehicle to the side of the road or into a parking lot next to the scene of the motor vehicle accident. This helps to reduce traffic problems caused by a blocked road and reduces safety hazards when you get out of the car.

Evaluate yourself for injuries and ask your passengers if they are hurt. Call 911 for medical assistance if anyone has suffered an injury, especially if they are bleeding or have head injuries. If you experience serious pain when you try to exit the vehicle, stop. Warn badly injured passengers to stay in their seats as well. Wait for emergency personnel to stabilize you in case you have suffered a spinal injury.

Exchange information and take pictures

Chances are high that your accident will result in an insurance claim. Payment of a claim relies on documenting the crash. In addition to asking the police to respond to the accident and file an official report, you need to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers.

You should also feel free to take photos with your phone. Collect images of the vehicles, their plates, damage and your injuries. Photographic evidence contributes greatly to the determination of fault and financial responsibility.


Jared K. Newman Esq. is the founder of Newman Injury Law. Mr. Newman is an experienced civil litigation attorney who has dedicated his practice to representing those injured while driving, walking, at work or elsewhere due to the negligence of others. He is an experienced advocate for his clients against insurance companies that refuse to pay fair and just compensation for the injuries caused by their insureds. His expertise in litigation rounds out the capabilities that form the personal injury practice area of the firm. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, he received his bachelor’s degree in Criminology from the University of Florida and his Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. Mr. Newman has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2010.
id="footer" wp-includes/theme-compat/footer.php