Every year between late February and early April, traffic fatalities rise in certain areas of the country. Why? What’s happening?
Two words: spring break.
Those findings are from a new study that illustrates the spike in deadly auto accidents specific to “spring break destinations.”
How do the researchers know that the problem really is related to spring break? There are a couple of different reasons:
Traffic fatality rates in these areas during this time rise significantly for
Drivers under the age of 25
Among those who travel from other states
No increases are noted for areas that are not destinations for spring break
As if to drive this point home, in early March a Ball State student was critically injured in an alleged hit-and-run accident.
Drew Akers was on spring break in Fort Lauderdale when he was hit while crossing the street. Witnesses called 911 for help and stayed with Akers until emergency services arrived. He is now in a medically induced coma, and doctors say it could be a month before he can return home. The identity of the driver who allegedly caused the accident is still unknown.
Below, we’re going to detail how Florida personal injury claims work if you are hurt in a spring break car crash.
Filing a Florida Claim after a Spring Break Car Crash
If you’re injured in an auto accident, the first thing you need to do isn’t file a claim, but seek medical care. Not only is this a good way to make sure your injuries get taken care of and that you aren’t hurt more than you realize, it increases your chances of winning compensation as well.
Why? Because your medical record will be a key piece of evidence in proving that the crash caused your injuries and that you deserve compensation for your medical expenses.
Next, your best course of action is to consult with a knowledgeable Florida injury attorney. He or she will be able to evaluate your case, and will make sure that you adhere to and understand the process.
Some important things to know:
Florida’s Injury Statute of Limitations. Under Florida law, you must file an injury lawsuit no more than four years from the date of the accident. File outside of that timeline and your case will likely be dismissed.
Florida’s Pure Comparative Negligence Rule. When discussing your possible compensation amounts with a personal injury lawyer, it’s important to know that the amount may be adjusted according to the pure comparative negligence rule. This rule says that winning plaintiffs will receive compensation for their injuries according to their percentage of fault in the accident.
For example, if a drunk driver hit you and caused your injuries, but you were speeding at the time of the accident, the court may determine that you are 30 percent at fault for the accident. This means that any compensation you receive will only be 70 percent of the awarded total. If your total award is $100,000, you will be eligible to receive $70,000 due to the 30 percent reduction under the pure comparative negligence rule.
Florida’s No-Fault Car Insurance Law. In the majority of traffic accidents, each driver’s insurance company will be responsible for up to $10,000 in various expenses like medical bills and lost income – no matter who is at fault for the accident.
It is only when serious injuries occur that you can sue for additional damages. The requirements include the following types of injuries resulting from a car crash:
Significant or permanent bodily function loss
Significant or permanent disfigurement or scarring
A skilled attorney will know if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold, and therefore will be eligible for greater compensation.
Damage Limits in Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits. In car accident lawsuits, Florida courts set limits on the amount that can be compensated for punitive damages, which often apply to non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
You can file for the greater of either triple the amount of damages or $500,000. This normally applies only to extreme cases where the behavior of the driver was exceptionally reckless or dangerous.
How a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Fight Back
If you are hurt in a Florida spring break car crash due to another’s negligence, you shouldn’t be stuck with all the bills for a serious injury. Unfortunately, dealing with insurance companies is often a tough challenge, and you have additional hurdles if you were injured on a visit to Florida as so many spring breakers are.
A skilled Florida personal injury attorney can ease your burden in dealing with all of this and help you fight to get the compensation you deserve. Reach out today for a free case review. We will look over the details of your situation and let you know 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.
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