With Florida’s tourist season well underway, it’s important to take extra precautions on the road, whether you are a Florida resident or a visitor to our beautiful state. Because of the influx of tourists, our roads become quite congested, which makes Florida one of the states with the highest car accident rates. This is not something we want Florida to be known for, so we encourage everyone to become aware of possible red flags in order to keep safe on the road.
Common hazards on the road in Florida
When traveling by car in Florida, keep particularly vigilant for these red flags:
- Significant traffic, especially around tourist attractions: Many drivers around tourist attractions may not be sure where they are going. Watch for signs of people driving erratically; cars going slower than the speed limit; turn signals left on for a long time waiting for the turn to come up; drivers suddenly cutting across several lanes to get to an exit.
- Distracted drivers: If you see a driver not looking at the road, allow a wide berth. The person may be looking at their GPS instead of the road, texting, or looking at their phone to make a call. People will even eat while driving as they hurry from one attraction to another.
- Road obstructions or maintenance issues: Because of the heavy traffic, roads can deteriorate before road crews can make repairs; pieces of tire or animal carcasses may be on the road; debris from a recent storm or hurricane may litter the highway.
- Poor signage or damaged traffic signals: New attractions may not yet be listed on signs or old signs may fall, fade, or be damaged from a storm or accident; traffic lights can malfunction after storms.
- Poor visibility: Our lush greenery may obscure signs or roads, or a sudden rain shower can decrease visibility in traffic.
Paying the bills after an accident
If you are involved in an accident, whether you are a resident of Florida or a visitor, first check that people are all right, then call the police and if necessary report any injuries that might require medical attention. Take pictures of the accident scene before cars are moved out of traffic, if possible. Exchange insurance information with the other driver and do not volunteer any other information. Try to get a witness statement, if there are any witnesses who saw the accident.
Everyone involved in the accident should seek medical attention within 48 hours if possible, even if there are no obvious injuries. Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which requires Florida residents to carry Personal Insurance Protection (PIP). When involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault, Florida residents are required to go to their own insurance company first for compensation up to $10,000 (various rules apply). But in order to be eligible for the PIP coverage, you must be examined by an approved medical provider within 14 days of the incident, or the coverage is forfeited.
If you have medical bills or other damages from an accident that was not your fault in excess of your insurance coverage, you can, with proper legal representation, get compensation from the other driver’s insurance company or other entities that may have been at fault. If there was negligence on the part of another driver, municipality, tourist attraction, hotel, or other organization, Florida law allows you to sue for compensation from at-fault parties.
Additionally, Florida follows a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that, even if you are partially at fault, you may still receive partial compensation. For instance, if a jury determines that you are 50% at fault for an accident and the court has awarded $100,000 compensation, you would receive $50,000.
Other damages can include loss of income, damage to property, necessary improvements to your home to accommodate your injuries, and other expenses, as well as pain and suffering. Therefore, if you have been injured in a car accident in Florida and you believe another driver or entity was negligent, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
As a Florida personal injury lawyer, I am committed to helping people injured in our state receive just and fair compensation to help them cope with the injuries they have sustained through someone else’s negligence. Contact me at (954) 448-7288 to see how I can help you.