Wrong-Way Crashes In Florida
An auto accident will never be a welcome event, but wrong-way crashes, where someone strikes you head-on while traveling in the wrong lane, are arguably some of the most frightening. These crashes are unfortunately too common in Florida, and if you are unfortunate enough to experience one, it is critical for you to know that you have options in terms of seeking compensation for your injuries.
More Common Than You Think
While it may seem that wrong-way accidents are the province of bad movies, in reality, they do occur more often than one might think, especially if the presence of alcohol or another substance is involved. Statistics from the ENTERPRISE Transportation Pooled Fund (a study group directed by representatives from 12 different traffic and safety boards), citing the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), estimate that a few hundred fatalities occur each year due to wrong-way crashes, and the rate is disproportionately higher for wrong-way crashes than it is in other types of accidents.
In addition, statistics also seemed to indicate that certain factors were overrepresented in wrong-way crash totals. Those elements include being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, being older – generally those over age 55 are more likely to wind up in a wrong-way crash than those who are younger; and driving often at night or on weekends, given that more wrong-way accidents occur at those times. While the most common type of wrong-way accident is when someone tries to enter the freeway using an exit ramp, they can in theory occur anywhere, if one misperceives the lane they are meant to be in.
Use The No-Fault System
Florida is one of the few states that currently uses a no-fault auto insurance system, which means that most car crashes are settled by drivers making claims against their own insurance policies. Florida state law requires that every driver licensed in the state carry at least $10,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) liability insurance, which will also cover $5,000 worth of death benefits in the event of the policyholder’s passing. Many drivers carry more, but it is not required – either way, your PIP policy will often be your first line of defense in terms of covering any medical bills you incur.
While the no-fault system is the primary mode of settling car crash claims in Florida, there are times when your injuries may be egregious enough to merit going to court. If you can show that your injuries are serious enough to result in permanent disability or the “significant and permanent loss” of a bodily function, Florida law allows you to bring suit against the person who you believe to have been at fault for the accident. This is important because very often, your insurer will not pay for such costs as mental anguish or loss of quality of life, but these are available as lawsuit awards.
Contact An Orlando Auto Accident Lawyer
When you have been injured, recovery should be first on your plate – not legalities. An Orlando car accident attorney should be a crucial member of your team moving forward, as they can focus on holding a wrong-way driver liable while your attention is turned toward getting your life back to normal. The dedicated and compassionate attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group will work hard to help you. Call our office today for a free consultation.