You're in a Car Crash – What Florida Law Requires You to Do

7 Most Common Florida Car Crash Injuries

Car crashes happen in Florida every day. Lots of car crashes. Which means lots of people getting hurt in all kinds of ways.

Below we are going to go over seven of the most common types of injuries that tend to occur in automobile accidents. If you are seriously hurt due to the negligent actions of another, you owe it to yourself and your family to fight back.


Types of Injuries You Might Experience If You are In an Automobile Accident


Head injuries. In a car crash, head injuries most often occur when the head makes impact with the windshield, window, or steering wheel. They can also occur if flying debris hits the skull.

It’s in your best interest to seek medical attention for any kind of head injury, no matter how minor. Head injuries can have long-lasting and serious complications, so the importance of a medical exam cannot be overstated.


Dizziness, bleeding, swelling, or temporary blackouts are all reasons to seek emergency medical care. Doctors will run tests to see if you have injury to your brain or if you experienced a concussion. Your medical diagnosis also serves as proof positive in a personal injury lawsuit, so it’s important to seek medical care even if the injury doesn’t seem particularly serious.


Soft tissue injuries. Some injuries due to a car crash aren’t immediately visible, and it may take days or even weeks for symptoms to show up. Whiplash is a common injury in a car crash that produces lingering pain in neck muscles and ligaments, but may not manifest immediately after an accident.


Consult your doctor if your joints are sprained or pain persists in your muscles. Your doctor will investigate the source of your soft tissue injury and recommend treatment. Getting treatment is important so you don’t make yourself susceptible to further injury.


Chest injuries. When the airbag deploys, it can cause bruising or even broken ribs. Seat belts are proven to save lives, but that doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes hurt you. Drivers are most susceptible to chest injuries, because their proximity to the steering column restricts freedom of movement. The steering column itself can injure the driver in a car crash if the impact is forceful enough.



Back injuries. Damage to vertebrae or the spinal column in a car crash can be permanently life-altering, depending on which disks are affected and to what degree damage occurred. Partial or full paralysis may occur from these kinds of injuries. Urgent medical care is essential to determine the level of the damage. Don’t hesitate to rush to the emergency room if you feel any numbness or pain in your neck or back after a car crash.


Abrasions. It’s common to experience bruising, cuts, and scrapes in a car crash. You may be slammed up against the interior or scratched up by the car itself. Also, flying debris like glass, cell phones, drinking cups, purses, and accessories may fly at you at high speed, causing painful bruises or cuts.


Some abrasions may be minor and treatable with a few stitches or home remedies. Others may be more serious and require extensive medical care. Surface abrasions may hide more severe ailments like head injuries or broken bones. If the pain lasts longer than what would occur with a normal bruise or cut, or if other symptoms go along with the abrasions, it is a good idea to get a doctor’s opinion.


Injury to extremities. Broken fingers, arms, legs, and toes can occur as a person is thrown against the vehicle interior or door in a crash. Side impact crashes tend to cause the most damage to limbs. People riding in the front seat may have knee or leg damage when they come into sudden contact with the dashboard. People riding in the back seat may experience damage to extremities as they are shoved into the seats in front of them.



These injuries need to be treated immediately by a doctor. Even if the pain is less than what you may expect for a broken bone, it’s wise to seek medical attention.


Pedestrian injuries. A pedestrian hit in a crash may suffer many of the injuries listed above. One third of non-traffic crashes involve pedestrians and cyclists, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation.


Contact a knowledgeable Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as you’ve sustained an injury to get help building a solid case. Insurance companies often resist paying claims to rightful victims in car crashes, but an experienced attorney will work to fight the insurance companies and help you receive the help and compensation you deserve.


Important Lessons from Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Important Lessons from Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Important Lessons from Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Though Distracted Driving Awareness Month is drawing to a close, the campaign’s message holds true any month of the year.


As the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) reminded us during their distracted driving awareness campaign this month, distracted driving is incredibly dangerous.


In Florida, distracted driving is a leading cause of auto accidents. According to recent reports, distracted driving accidents in Florida have risen 25 percent in the last three years. Studies have found that teens are responsible for an average of 12 percent of accidents, while drivers aged 20 – 29 account for an average of 31 percent of distracted driving accidents in Florida.


As director of Florida Highway Patrol Col. David Brierton explained in a press release from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “If you are not 100 percent focused, then you’re not 100 percent driving.”


Driving distractions come in many forms, including visual, manual, and cognitive. Common examples of distracted driving include texting, operating a GPS system, and daydreaming.


To help fight distracted driving in Florida this April and beyond, we’ve compiled a list of rules for avoiding distracted driving practices. Even though Distracted Driving Awareness Month is ending, these rules should be diligently adhered to throughout the year.


Switch off your phone. For many drivers, the buzz of a message or the hum of a call sparks an irresistible urge to check their phone. But in the seconds it takes to remove your eyes from the road and glance at a message, road signs, approaching cars, and other obstacles can be missed. When this happens, dangerous accidents occur.


Plan ahead. If you know you are going to need to use a GPS navigation system during your trip, be sure to plug in coordinates ahead of time. Set the air-conditioning or heat controls on a comfortable level, and pick a playlists or a CD before starting to drive.


Pull over. Sometimes during drives, you may need to answer an important phone call or find directions for a new location. When this happens, find a safe parking space or lot and pull over. The brief moment it takes to pull over can end up saving you from causing a crash.


Save the snacks and drinks for later. With so many fast food restaurants offering drive-through windows in Florida, it often feels like we are being encouraged to eat in our car. But eating or drinking while driving can be incredibly distracting. When you pause to unwrap a granola bar, take a sip of coffee, or clean up a spill, your attention is not where it should be—on the road and the drivers around you.


South Florida Distracted Driving Lawyer

Be mindful of passenger distractions. Studies have found that many distracted driving accidents occur when there are passengers in the car. Young children, unrestrained pets, and chatty passengers can be very distracting to drivers—be mindful of this, and don’t be afraid to politely request to postpone conversations for after the drive.


Hold distracted drivers accountable. You can help raise public awareness of Florida’s serious distracted driving problem by holding distracted drivers accountable. After falling victim to a distracted driving accident, contact a Florida auto accident attorney. An experienced attorney can explain your options, assist you in filing a claim, and ensure your voice is heard. If it becomes necessary to go to court, your attorney can help you defend your right to just compensation and speak out against distracted driving in our community.


No Texting While Driving

Harsher Penalties for Texting While Driving Coming?

No Texting While Driving
There is no arguing that texting and driving has become a serious cause of automobile accidents in the United States. So much so, in fact, that it has actually become a front-burner issue for a number of organizations, from branches of the government to cellphone companies. “It can wait” bumper stickers are popping up on cars everywhere, and all across the nation, laws are being developed to prevent and discourage texting while driving.


Florida is no exception. There are laws on the books against texting while driving, and now Florida’s anti-texting and driving campaign seems to be picking up speed as multiple new bills are set to appear before Florida Legislature this spring, as reported by News-Press.


Texting and Driving Laws in Florida


Dangers of Distracted Driving

As mentioned above, it is already against the law to text while driving in Florida. However, doing so is only a secondary offence, meaning that police officers can offer citations for it only if the driver was pulled over for another reason. According to News-Press, the new bills that are set to appear before Legislature this spring would serve to enhance those existing laws. Some new laws that these bills seek to enact include:


  • Making texting while driving a primary offense, so that texting and driving itself would be an acceptable reason to pull a person over
  • Imposing a criminal penalty on any driver who was using a cell phone at the time of a fatal accident
  • Forbidding all cell phone use when driving in school zones


If even one of these bills passes, it could seriously change things for Florida drivers. If drivers continue to text while driving, the consequences they face could be severe, from paying fines and doing community service to serving significant jail time. The increased accountability implied in all the proposed laws means that Florida drivers would have to be more cautious and more aware.


Dangers of Distracted Driving


In the United States, distracted driving is a problem of almost epidemic proportions. Anything from using a GPS, to traveling with a pet, to eating or drinking while driving can count as distracted driving, and all forms of distracted driving are extremely dangerous—not only for other drivers, but for pedestrians as well.


Still, however, men and women continue to drive while distracted, and the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths that occur as a result continues to climb. According to


  • As of 2012, 78% of teens and young adults say they have read a text message while driving, and 71% say they have composed or sent text messages while driving.
  • As of 2012, 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.
  • A person’s eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds while texting. If you’re traveling at 55mph, five seconds is enough time to cover the length of an entire football field.
  • Texting while driving enhances a person’s chance of getting into in a car crash by 23%.


Due in no small part to these statistics, “Take the pledge” campaigns gained a lot of popularity in recent years. According to, over 5 million people have signed their pledge to not text and drive. Clearly, drivers are aware of how dangerous it can be to text and drive. Yet far too many of them still do.


And other drivers and pedestrians on the road are suffering the consequences. Injuries that result from distracted driving accidents are many and varied, and they can be traumatizing not only to the victims but to their families and friends as well. Victims who have been hurt in distracted driving accidents may not only suffer the inconvenience of a damaged or totaled vehicle, they may also have to deal with personal injury in myriad forms—from minor cuts and bruises to lost limbs or disfigurement.


Hit by A Distracted Driver?


Boca Raton Auto Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident caused by a driver who was texting while driving, one of the first steps you take should be to speak to a qualified legal representative. Texting and driving is illegal and if you’ve been injured as a result of a distracted driver, you were injured by someone who was breaking the law. That person needs to be brought to justice, not only for your sake but also for the sake of other drivers and pedestrians who are at risk because of his or her negligence. Contact the law offices of Sootsky, Perez & Braxton today to get the compensation you need and put your life back on track.





Don't Text and Drive

“Happy” Text Has Grim Outcome for North Carolina Woman

Don't Text and Drive

Despite the overwhelming evidence that texting while driving is dangerous, all too many drivers are still deciding that using their smartphones can’t wait until they get to their destination. One of the latest tragic tales of a texting accident comes from North Carolina, where a young woman died seconds after posting a Facebook status about Pharrell Williams’ popular song “Happy.”


Police believe that 32-year-old Courtney Ann Sanford was driving in High Point, NC, when she posted the Facebook comment “The happy song makes me so HAPPY” at 8:33 pm on April 24th. Less than a minute after that comment went live, the High Point Police Department received a call about a car accident. The collision occurred when Sanford crossed the center median and drove headlong into an oncoming truck. The truck driver, 73-year-old John Wallace Thompson, was thankfully not injured, but Sanford’s Toyota Corolla caught on fire, and Sanford died at the scene.


Investigators found that Sanford was wearing a seat belt, but that it wasn’t secured properly. Police have also determined that she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and that the most likely cause of the accident was Sanford’s use of her cell phone. High Point Lieutenant Chris Weisner said of this preventable tragedy, “In a matter of seconds, a life was over just so she could notify some friends that she was happy. As sad as it is, it is a grim reminder for everyone… you just have to pay attention while you are in the car.”


Despite Texting Bans, Distracted Driving is Still a Problem


Distracted Driving

In January 2014, Pew Research reported that 90% of American adults own a cell phone, and 58% of American adults have a smartphone. We’re living in a constantly connected culture, where people have become used to being able to reach their friends and family or access the internet wherever they go—even if they’re behind the wheel.


With anywhere from 387,000 to 421,000 Americans being injured in distracted driving-related accidents each year, state laws are finally beginning to catch up and discourage risky driving behavior. 43 states, as well as DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands, currently ban all texting while driving (Florida enacted a texting ban just this last October). 12 states also prohibit the use of all handheld phones while driving, although hands-free devices like those that use Bluetooth are still acceptable.


Unfortunately, the penalties for texting and driving vary from state to state and are often not severe enough to deter drivers who are truly determined to use their phone while they’re on the go. In Florida, for example, texting while driving is only a secondary offense (meaning a police officer has to have a primary reason for pulling a driver over before ticketing them for texting), and a first-time offense results in a fine of $30—little more than a slap on the wrist. In North Carolina, where Sanford’s accident occurred, texting while driving is a primary offense, and violators face a $100 fine, as well as court costs. Although North Carolina’s law is stricter than Florida’s, it still was not a strong enough deterrent to keep Sanford from using Facebook while driving.


Technology distractions are still a huge problem for drivers, with the CDC estimating that 1 in 5 crashes resulting in injuries were caused by distracted driving. In spite of texting bans and statistics that prove how hazardous distracted driving is, drivers who want to use their phone continue to get into the mindset that they’re capable of multitasking behind the wheel.


We Think We Can Multitask (But We Can’t)


Talking on a Cellphone While Driving

Perhaps one of the most common rationales behind texting and driving is that the driver thinks they are “good at multitasking.” They may think that they’ve got glancing back and forth between their screen and the road down to a science, and that their acute perception makes them better at texting while driving than other people on the road.


In reality, the human brain doesn’t multitask in the way many of us think it does. David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah, has been working to bust the myth that people can successfully juggle multiple tasks at once. He told Psychology Today, “Our brains don’t do two things at once; instead, we rapidly switch between tasks, putting heavy burdens on attention, memory, and focus.” He added, “Talking on a cellphone while driving (perhaps the most ubiquitous type of multi-tasking) leaves people as cognitively impaired as if they’d had two or three drinks.”


Note that Mr. Strayer is discussing talking on the phone, an activity that doesn’t even take a driver’s eyes off the road. Texting or posting social media updates, which take a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds, obviously creates an even bigger impairment.


What Will Get Drivers to Stop Texting?


Although it was a horrible event, Sanford’s fatal accident – which received wide coverage due to its tragic irony—will hopefully serve as a wake-up call to other drivers who have thus far paid little attention to state texting bans. Sanford’s accident shows just how quickly someone can go from using their phone while driving to losing their life, all because they couldn’t wait until they parked to update their Facebook status.


We can only hope that these personal, emotional stories hit home more than distracted driving statistics and texting laws have so far. Anyone who has ever texted or updated their Facebook status while driving should reflect on Sanford’s accident. Maybe doing this will help them to recognize that they put themselves and other drivers in a potentially dangerous situation by allowing technology to distract them. While many of us consider it a modern necessity to constantly be available to our online contacts, we need to remember that no matter what message we need to share, it can always wait until we get to our destination or find a spot to safely pull over.



Texting While Driving

New Technology Promises to Prevent Texting and Driving

Texting While Driving

Because cell phones and other mobile devices have become so well-integrated into our daily routines, we’ve grown accustomed to using them every chance we get—even behind the wheel. Whether out of reflex or a feeling of need to continue a conversation occurring via text, we do it all too often.


But the risk of texting or checking a phone while driving is too high. In fact, the time it takes for someone to glance down at their phone or text a reply is approximately 4.6 seconds, which is commonly compared to driving the length of a football field. That’s like putting a blindfold on when you’re behind the wheel for almost five seconds. Most people wouldn’t dream of doing that, but for some reason using a phone while driving is seen as perfectly okay by many.


According to studies conducted by experts, you are 23 times more likely to be in an accident if you are texting while driving compared to driving while not distracted. Today, 39 states in the U.S. have banned sending texts while driving. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 1,600,000 accidents per year are caused by texting while driving, in addition to 330,000 injuries per year and about 11 teen deaths every day. In fact, 25% of all car accidents that occur are texting-while-driving related.


Technology Companies Step In… To Block Technology


That is why big cellphone companies such as Verizon and AT&T have created numerous awareness campaigns and educational programs in order to get people, especially teens, to pledge never to text while driving. Some companies have also invented apps that claim to prevent distracted driving accidents from occurring.


Verizon’s new app, for example, called Safely Go, automatically receives and responds to calls and texts so that the driver can remain focused and responsible while on the road. AT&T’s Drive Mode limits the extra features on your phone and automatically sends pre-set replies to incoming texts,letting people know that you are driving. Additionally, the app blocks you from reading or typing anything and further silences all calls, texts, and emails. But these innovations go beyond cellphone companies trying to fix a problem they had a hand in creating – lots of other companies are getting involved as well: actually reads your texts, calls, or emails aloud and responds to them either by voice or with pre-set responses.


Textecution uses a GPS to determine speed and will automatically disable texting if you are traveling more than 10 mph.


Text-STARalso senses motion and disables texting when going above 10 mph, but goes above and beyond this by allowing you to schedule auto-reply texts in advance if you plan to be driving at a later time.


tXtBlocker allows users to go a different route by customizing the locations and times of day (such as typical commuting or driving times) when they don’t want texts and phone calls to be accepted.


Technology Can Help, but People Are Still Responsible


Car Accident Attorney

The Verizon website states, “Experience teaches us that technology innovation will provide more opportunities to address public safety issues like texting and driving.” However, it’s important to remember that the effectiveness of these apps rely mostly on the drivers’ willing and effective use of them as tools to keep themselves focused on the road. Nevertheless, there will always be distracted people on the road, and if one of them hits you, it’s vital that you get the expert legal help you need as soon as possible to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.


About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year 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.