Memorial Day offers a time to celebrate loved ones lost. It also signals the beginning of another Florida summer which often means road trip! In either case, we all find a reason and a way to cut loose.
Unfortunately, these celebrations also lead to an uptick in car accidents.
The primary causes? More cars on the road plus the sheer increase in motorists choosing to drive drunk – a dangerous, even deadly, combination.
In today’s post we share the hard numbers on Memorial Day car crashes, and offer some insight into car accident liability in this state.
Florida Memorial Day Crashes: The Hard Numbers
If you were injured in a Memorial Day car crash, you’re far from alone. In fact, Americans are four times more likely to die on the road on Memorial Day weekend than any other regular weekend.
Nearly 43 million Americans travel during this time, and every year over 300 fatal accidents occur. Many thousands more serious injuries occur, which can be permanently debilitating.
Florida’s waterways invite abundant Memorial Day festivities, so the state is actually one of the most dangerous places to be on the road over the holiday weekend.
Florida Car Accident Laws
Being involved in a Memorial Day car accident can leave you facing major financial concerns such as costly car repairs, medical bills and lost wages. This can place a major financial burden on your entire family.
When the crash isn’t your fault, you have the right to seek damages for your injuries. This holds the responsible party accountable for their negligent actions, which can also bring you some sense of closure.
However, if you plan on filing a claim, it’s important to take action as soon as possible. There are four key elements you should understand about Florida car accident liability – including the statute of limitations – which we cover below:
Reporting a Florida Car Accident
If you’re involved in a Florida car accident and the crash resulted in serious injury, death or over $500 worth of damages to the vehicles, the accident must be reported to the local police department.
This report should be made immediately following the accident, as it will be an important piece of evidence later in determining fault.
Florida’s No-Fault Car Insurance Laws
Florida has a no-fault car insurance scheme. This means that injured drivers and passengers first turn to their own personal-injury protection car insurance to get compensation for medical bills, lost income and other expenses, regardless of who was at fault.
A claim against the responsible party is only possible if the victim sustained a serious injury. This includes significant disfigurement, broken bones, permanent limitation of a bodily organ or limb, or full disability for at least 90 days.
Statute of Limitations
You will have four years from the date of your crash to file suit for damages. Cases filed after this statute of limitations will probably be dismissed.
Professionals recommend filing suit much sooner, though, as the seriousness of your injuries may fall under question when you wait several years to file suit.
In the majority of car accidents, both drivers are at some degree of fault. When a serious injury has been sustained, Florida follows a “pure comparative fault” rule.
This means a jury is asked to calculate both the percentage of fault that belongs to each party, and the monetary value of the damages sustained by the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s damages are then reduced by the percent equal to their fault.
Seeking damages for a Florida car crash is an often-complex undertaking, but may be necessary to help you recover from your injuries and get your life back on track.
Knowing what to do after a car crash and seeking out the advice of an attorney if necessary can help get you the compensation you deserve.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.