According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), there were 395,785 collisions in Florida, 2,935 of which involved at least one fatality in 2016. That works out to 0.7 percent of all crashes for that year being fatal. While only a small percentage of traffic collisions are deadly, they still kill many people; more than 3,000 Floridians lost their lives in traffic collisions in 2016.
If you look at state statistics from 2011 to 2016, you will see that the numbers for total accidents, fatal accidents, and traffic fatalities have increased each year. In fact, in 2011, there were only 2,214 fatal accidents out of 227,998 total accidents. This increase is concerning, as it could indicate that more drivers are acting negligently behind the wheel.
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Where do most Florida Fatal Accidents Occur?
In 2016, certain Florida counties experienced a greater number of fatal accidents than others. It should come as no surprise that the county with the highest number of traffic fatalities in 2016 is one of the largest counties in Florida: Miami-Dade. The top five Florida counties for fatal traffic collisions in 2016 include:
- Miami-Dade County – 294 traffic fatalities
- Broward County – 245 traffic fatalities
- Hillsborough County – 228 traffic fatalities
- Palm Beach County – 181 traffic fatalities
- Orange County – 171 traffic fatalities
If you lost a loved one to a fatal accident in any of these communities, you should speak to a South Florida car accident lawyer to see if you are eligible for compensation.
What Types of Injuries Cause Traffic Fatalities?
While only 0.7% of all Florida accidents in 2016 were fatal, there were still 3,176 lives lost in these fatal crashes. Many fatal accidents are head-on collisions where the front ends of two vehicles collide as the vehicles head towards each other. The strong impact can result in one or more of these life-ending injuries:
- Head or brain injuries – Many accident victims hit their heads on a hard surface (e.g., pavement, steering wheel), suffer a jolt to the head (e.g., whiplash), or experience other forms of head trauma. They are sometimes unable to recover from their traumatic brain injuries. Even if the victim survives, brain injuries can have lifelong consequences, affecting a person’s ability to walk, communicate, or otherwise function.
- Chest injuries – If the victim receives a crush injury to the chest in a head-on collision or another type of crash, the victim may suffer internal bleeding and severe, irreparable damage to their internal organs.
- Burns – In many accidents, vehicles catch on fire, and victims cannot recover from the severe burns all over their bodies.
- Neck and spinal cord injuries – If an accident victim breaks their spinal cord or neck due to the impact, their injuries may instantly result in death.
Why do these Accidents Occur?
Fatal accidents occur for a multitude of reasons, including:
- Driver errors – When a driver engages in irresponsible behavior behind the wheel (e.g., texting, driving drunk, driving recklessly), they are more likely to make a mistake that could cost someone their life. For example, a person driving recklessly may follow the vehicle in front of them too closely at high speed so that when the vehicle stops, they are unable to brake in time and end up rear-ending the vehicle.
- Poor roadway maintenance – Debris, potholes, and other poor road conditions may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash into other vehicles or barriers.
- Defective vehicles – Brake failure, steering mechanism failure, improperly treaded tires, and other defects may cause a serious accident, particularly if the vehicle travels at high speed.
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You Could Recover Compensation if Your Loved One Died in a Car Accident
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, our wrongful death lawyers could help you seek compensation for your financial and emotional losses. Some compensation you could be entitled to recover in a wrongful death case includes:
- Your loved one’s final medical bills
- Property damage
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering before their death
- Loss of support
- Lost financial contributions
- Loss of companionship
- Your pain and suffering
A personal injury lawyer from our Fort Lauderdale firm can take on your case and seek damages for your family. All you have to do is focus on grieving the loss of your loved one.
Parties that could be Liable for You and Your Loved One’s Losses
The following parties could be responsible for your losses resulting from your loved one’s death:
Your Loved One’s Insurance Company
In Florida, drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Your loved one’s insurance policy could cover up to $5,000 in death benefits, according to Florida Statutes §627.736. The insurance company might also cover their medical expenses before their death, if any, and property damage.
We can negotiate for a settlement from your loved one’s insurance company and tell you what you are entitled to.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
When another driver causes your loved one’s death through negligence, we can seek a settlement through their insurance company.
The At-Fault Driver
Sometimes, the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate fairly. In these cases, we can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to seek compensation.
Other parties that could be liable for your losses would include government agencies (if an issue under a municipality’s control, such as a road defect, contributed to the accident) and a company if an employee caused your loved one’s death while working in the scope of their employment.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Can Help
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, our goal is to fight for justice on behalf of accident victims and their families. Our personal injury attorneys can help handle your insurance company as well as the legal claim filing process. Call (954) 525-0050 to find out how we can assist you.