We rely on speed limits to keep us safe by regulating the flow of traffic and discouraging drivers from traveling at dangerous speeds. Unfortunately, however, speed limits alone cannot prevent all car accidents. This is because, while speed limits have a limiting effect upon the speeds at which individuals drive, they do not regulate or anticipate all the forms of human behavior that contribute to car accidents. Our nation’s streets and highways are a complex system playing host to an even more complex web of behaviors.
For example, a driver might be driving at exactly the speed limit, but become distracted, tired, or ill and veer across lanes, thereby causing an accident. This is why the law requires that drivers possess car insurance – because accidents are a reality of the road for even law-abiding driving. This is especially the case in our new era of distracted driving brought on by cell phones, text messaging, and social media. Add these new dangers to old ones like severe weather and the presence of drunk drivers on the road, and the picture becomes much larger than just speed limits.
Fortunately, though, there is a means of recourse for accident victims whether the cause of the accident is a speed limit violation or not. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident in Florida, a skilled and experience auto accident attorney will work to obtain and the compensation you need and deserve in the wake of an accident.
Speed is a Factor in Car Accidents
Make no mistake, speed is a factor in car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed is a leading cause of accidents. This means that speed played a significant role in the 32,719 deaths and 2.3 million injuries that resulted from accidents in the United States in 2013. Increases in speed both decrease the amount of time one has to react and make decisions on the road and increases the application of force when one vehicle collides with another in an accident. Speed, as we will see below, is not the only factor in car accidents. Speed may not be an issue at all in some cases. n others, excessive speed may combine with other factors to cause an accident.
Negligence, Recklessness, and Intentionally Wrongful Acts Cause Car Accidents
You do not have to be a fast driver to cause a car accident. Sometimes all it takes is being a bad driver – even for a second. Negligent driving is one form of bad driving. Negligence is a legal doctrine; it is said to occur when the breach of a duty of care owed results in a damages. In plain language, negligence is synonymous with carelessness. As drivers, we owe a duty of care to other drivers, and the other drivers owe a duty of care to us. This duty of care is discharged by driving safely and not endangering other drivers. Conversely, the duty can be breached in a variety of ways:
- Driving too fast
- Driving while distracted (e.g. looking a text message instead of the road)
- Not obeying traffic signals and signs
For bad driving to constitute negligent driving, it does not matter that the breach of the duty of safe driving is intentional; it need only be the result of negligence or carelessness. In Florida, when this kind of careless driving causes a car accident, the negligent driver can be held liable for any serious injuries caused.
Sometimes the breach of the duty of safe driving is even worse that negligence. Take the all-too-common example of drunk driving. The choice to get behind the wheel and drive while intoxicated rises to the level of recklessness. As such, criminal as well as civil penalties are justified in drunk driving cases.
In rare cases, a breach of the duty of safe driving may be caused by an intentionally wrongful act. Examples include purposefully swerving into a vehicle or using a vehicle as a weapon. An intentional breach is the most grievous kind of breach and is punished accordingly.
What to Do if You Have Been Seriously Injured in an Auto Accident in Florida
If you have been injured in a car accident in the state of Florida, reach out to a skilled and experienced Florida auto accident attorney. Legal recourse in the aftermath of an accident in Florida is complicated by the state’s “no-fault” and comparative negligence laws. An accident must result in injuries sufficiently serious to justify bringing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver. When a lawsuit is brought, it is imperative that all evidence be presented to established fault. For these reasons, it is important that you rely on the skill of an experienced Florida auto accident attorney to obtain the compensation you need and deserve.