In one recent Ohio accident, a 17-year-old driver was speeding and overcorrected, which ejected two teens from the vehicle and injured the other passengers. One of those teens was killed in the crash.
The reason the driver was speeding? The teens were running late to prom.
Over 5,000 teens are injured in car accidents every year across the nation during prom and graduation season, and one-third of teen driver accidents involve alcohol use. A full one-third of people under age 21 who die in accidents do so during graduation season, and many of them die in car accidents. Because of this, the months of April, May, and June are known as the most dangerous months for teens to be on the road.
It doesn’t end with teens, though – all Florida drivers need to be cautious. Even in the best of times, teens don’t typically drive with the same caution older drivers use. They take more risks and are less likely to make responsible choices in sudden situations. Teens are much more likely to be distracted drivers due to phone use, conversations, and peer pressure from teen passengers.
Now imagine that magnified by the lure of high school ending and the freedom of adulthood coming. Of teens wanting to have one last hurrah with their friends before they head off to college. That’s where we are right now.
Drinking and Driving on Prom or Graduation Night
Too many teens choose to celebrate these important life events with binge drinking. On graduation night, the percentage of alcohol-related fatal accidents moves up from 33 percent to 40 percent.
Teens often underestimate the risks of drunk driving. They may assume that someone at the party hasn’t had anything to drink and is safe to drive, but that’s frequently not the case.
If you are in an accident with a teen driver, the teen’s negligence may have caused your injuries, and you owe it to yourself and your family to hold them accountable for their actions and sue for compensation.
Understanding Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against a teen, here are the basics of car accident laws in Florida.
First, you must file a claim within four years of the date of the accident. If you don’t file within four years, you have no rights to compensation.
The court system will look at all parties involved in the accident and assign percentages of fault to each party. Your compensation will be reduced according to your percentage of fault.
For example, if you were speeding when the accident occurred, you may be held responsible for 20 percent of the accident. If the court decides to award you $100,000 for your injuries, that means the maximum amount you can actually receive under the pure comparative negligence rule is $80,000.
Florida also has a no-fault insurance law, which means that each driver is covered first by $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance. This applies no matter who is at fault for the accident. You can file for additional compensation only if the accident caused serious injuries. The courts also place caps on the amount of damages you can recover.
Want to learn more? Reach out today for a free consultation. One of our skilled Florida injury attorneys will be able to look at the facts of your case and tell you what options are available to you.
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.