Road accidents are common in our roads and come in various forms. Intersection accidents are those that happen at junctions where drivers yield way to the one with a right of way. The damages and injuries from intersection accidents are some of the most severe. Some of the injuries can be traumatic to the victims, while the damage to the cars involved being excessive. The losses victims of these accidents incur are significant and cause substantial harm to their finances.
Fortunately, the state of Florida allows victims of such accidents to recover damages from their insurance as well as from the at-fault driver’s insurance. Pursuing damages often gets frustrating, especially when you are still recovering from the injuries or do not understand the legal requirements in seeking claims. This makes it necessary for accident victims to find an attorney to help them with their applications. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we understand the challenges of recovering damages. Due to this, we aggressively seek compensation for our clients to enable them to recover their losses.
Types of Intersection Accidents
Intersection accidents come in many forms and will still cause significant damages and injuries to the victims. There are many types of these accidents with the most common being:
- Head-on collisions – These types of accidents happen when two motorists crash at each other at the front. The damages and injuries from these types of accidents are substantial, with many cases of fatalities. When two drivers are moving towards each other at high speeds, they may fail to stop on time and end up crashing into each other. One driver can be at-fault or both of them, depending on what they were doing before the crash. When a driver is turning across traffic, and the other one is moving towards them, they may each believe in having the right of way. Each driver may be expecting the other to stop, but instead, they crash into each other.
- Rear-end collisions – These are other types of intersection accidents common in intersections. The driver at the front may realize the lights require them to stop or yield way while the one behind is distracted and doesn’t see the front driver has stopped. Negligence is one of the common causes of these accidents where the rear driver is often distracted. Mechanical failure, such as brake failure, can also cause rear-end collisions. The injuries from these accidents might not be as severe if the rear driver was not moving at high speeds. However, depending on the circumstances, substantial injuries do happen.
- T-bone accidents – This is common in intersections where one driver fails to obey the red light and drives into the intersection where another vehicle was already. The impact involves the front end of a car crashing into the side of another vehicle. Some of the significant bodily injuries are as a result of t-bone accidents.
- Side-swipe crashes – These are also common at intersections. When one or more vehicles are turning at an intersection, they may end up crashing into each other on their sides. These kinds of accidents often result in significant damages to the vehicles and sometimes to the victims.
- Pedestrian accidents – Intersections also provide for pedestrian crossing. A vehicle may fail to yield way to a pedestrian or run a red light and crash into a pedestrian. The injuries mainly to the pedestrian are often significant and sometimes result in death.
When approaching intersections, it is always advisable to be mindful to avoid accidents.
Causes of Intersection Accidents
When an accident happens at an intersection, one of the first questions is who or what caused it. This is a crucial question, especially when one needs to pursue damages due to the accident. Understanding the various causes of an intersection accident may help you determine the party at fault, which is essential when filing a damages claim. Some of the prevalent causes of intersection accidents are:
- A tired or fatigued driver – Fatigued drivers show signs of impairment, just like intoxicated drivers. A tired driver may fall asleep on the wheel or take a long time to react to an emergency on the road compared to an average driver. When a driver has been on the road for long hours or is tired because of other reasons, they often lack the required focus on the way, resulting in accidents.
- Distracted driver – Drivers who are distracted on the road is one of the primary causes of intersection accidents in Florida. A driver using their cell phone or eating, among other things, will be distracted. Distraction can cause a driver to run a red light or fail to yield a way where they are supposed to. This often results in accidents that carry significant damages.
- Driving at high speeds – According to statute 316.183 of Florida, it is an offense to drive over the designated speed limit. When a driver moves at excessive speeds, it becomes difficult for them to control their vehicle when faced with an emergency. If such a driver comes at a sudden change of lights at an intersection, they often fail to stop and end up crashing into other drivers.
- Poorly designed intersections – How well an intersection is designed can help eliminate excessive accidents. When an intersection has blind spots or visibility challenges, accidents are likely to happen. If an intersection happens due to poor design, the entity responsible for the damages is often the government body charged with the upkeep and design of the intersection.
- Drunk driving – In Florida, it is illegal to have a BAC of 0.08% or more. This is according to statute 316.193. Drivers intoxicated by alcohol or drugs have a higher chance of causing road accidents, including intersection accidents.
- Faulty auto parts – Not all accidents are due to a driver’s fault. Some accidents happen as a result of defective parts. When the brakes of a vehicle fail, an accident is likely to happen. In such a case, the manufacturer of the faulty brakes or the vehicle may be held accountable for the damages suffered.
The Red Light Law in Florida
In Florida, one of the primary causes of intersection accidents is when a driver runs a red light. According to 316.075 statutes of Florida, a vehicle facing a red light must stop before entering a crosswalk. If no red light is visible, the car must remain standing before getting into an intersection, until they see a green light.
Based on this law, causing an accident by disregarding traffic lights is a violation punishable by law, aside from being held responsible for the damages as a result.
As discussed above, the causes of intersection accidents help a victim or their lawyer know the party at fault. Even when Florida is a no-fault state, the law allows accident victims to seek damages from the party responsible for the accident, when their insurance is unable to cover all the costs. This is the reason it is imperative to establish fault in an intersection accident.
A victim of an accident may not know the requirements in establishing fault. This makes it crucial to get a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim because they understand what is required in determining fault.
Injuries Sustained from an Intersection Accident
Car accidents result in many injuries, with some being more significant than others. Intersection accidents, just like other accidents, cause victims to suffer injuries as well as damages to their property. Some of the prevalent injuries include:
- Head injuries – An intersection accident victim can suffer mild, standard, or catastrophic head injuries. The injuries victims sustain depend primarily on the impact of the accident and where it affected them. Victims can have their heads banged against the car or the steering wheel, causing severe injuries. Sometimes when the accident impact is very high, a victim can be thrown out of the vehicle and crash against the hard road surface with their head. When the injuries are very severe, the victim can be left in a vegetative state requiring extended medical care. Head injuries involve fractures to the skull, damage to the brain, and internal bleeding in the brain. Head injuries sometimes result in the death of the victim either at the accident scene or later at the hospital.
- Broken ribs – These are common injuries in intersection accidents. Ribs are very fragile, where a light impact can still cause them to break. The effect in an intersection accident can push the victim in different directions within the car. The hitting against various surfaces will cause ribs to break, and their treatment may require a surgical procedure.
- Injuries to the limbs – An intersection accident can result in broken legs or hands. Sometimes, when the impact is severe, a victim’s arm can be amputated. Loss of function of a limb is also common in intersection accidents.
- Trauma to the spine and neck – One of the most painful injuries in an intersection accident is trauma to the spine and neck. When a victim suffers severe trauma to their spine, it results in them suffering partial or full paralysis. This means that victims can lose function of some of their body parts or all of their bodies. Such an injury alters their lives, resulting in them losing their ability to earn.
- Internal bleeding – These injuries are not apparent because they are on the inside of the body. This is one of the reasons accident victims are encouraged to visit a hospital immediately following a car accident. Internal injuries kill when not treated on time. Body organs such as the kidneys or liver can also be injured due to the accident.
- Chest injuries – An intersection accident can cause a driver to hit against the steering wheel with their chest. The high impact can result in bruises and sometimes damage to the lungs.
- Cuts and bruises – Car accidents can result in bruises or cuts. Some of these may be minor, while others can be significant, requiring stitching.
- Disfigurement – An accident victim can also suffer disfigurement to their face. When they are hit forcefully on their face, it can result in broken jaws, loss of teeth, broken nose, or disfigurement. Some of these injuries to their face may require them to undergo reconstructive surgery.
- Wrongful death – Although this is not an injury, a victim of an intersection accident can die as a result of the injuries sustained or the impact of the crash.
The injuries car accident victims suffer often cost a lot of money to seek treatment. The financial damages can be overwhelming to the victim and their family, requiring some to take medical loans for treatment. The good news, however, is that one can recover these losses and repay their medical loans once they are compensated for the damages. To avoid getting paid below what you deserve, you need to engage a personal injury lawyer to pursue the claims for you.
Recoverable Damages Following an Intersection Accident
As earlier stated, when involved in an intersection car accident in Florida, you have a right to losses suffered. The costs an accident victim can recover in Florida are both economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are those tangible or quantifiable damages supported by documents. Noneconomic losses, however, are usually higher than the economic costs even when no records exist to support them.
In claiming economic damages, you must have receipts and reports that outline the costs you have incurred as a result of the intersection accident. Some of the recoverable economic damages in Florida are:
- Medical expenses – Medical expenses are often the largest of all economic losses. When you suffer injuries following an intersection accident, you will incur medical expenses while seeking treatment. You are entitled to be compensated for the doctor’s fees, consultation fees, medical procedures cost, and cost of medication. Medical expenses include any expenses that go into getting you treated for the injuries you sustained. If you underwent a surgical procedure, the cost of the surgery is recoverable. Other medical procedures such as tests, CT scans, or X-rays are recoverable as well.
- Future medical costs – Some injuries may require prolonged treatment or a lifetime of care. The cost of treating your injuries past the hospital stay or the rest of your life is recoverable too. If an accident left the victim in a vegetative state, it means treatment may be required for the rest of their lives. These costs must be documented well in your claim for damages, and the insurance company will pay.
- Lost wages – When an accident occurs, various injuries will require different time to heal. Some injuries can take a few days, while others can take months to heal. During the recovery period, a victim can miss work, meaning they will not earn a living during the time. Fortunately, the law allows an accident victim to recover the wages they have lost as they went through recovery.
- Property damage – In a car accident, the property likely to be damaged is the cars involved in the collision. The cost of repairing your vehicle or replacing it altogether is recoverable in Florida.
- Lost earning capacity – When injuries are catastrophic, the victims often lose their ability to make a living. Because the state understands that the victim will have needs that they would have met if they were working, their inability to earn is equally compensated.
- Funeral and burial costs – When an accident victim dies as a result, the surviving family can seek to be compensated for the burial and funeral expenses they incurred.
As earlier stated, noneconomic costs are typically higher than economic losses. These damages are not supported by any documents but are decided based on the injuries a victim has suffered. The damages vary from one victim to the other, with many reasons used for the variance. Some of the recoverable damages are:
- Pain and suffering – An accident victim suffers a lot of pain and discomfort due to the injuries. Although there is no sure way of determining the value of the pain or suffering a victim has endured, a figure is arrived at, and the victim is compensated.
- Lost limbs – When an accident victim loses their limbs, getting prosthetics cannot replace their natural limbs. There is no value associated with losing a leg or a hand. However, an amount must be given to compensate for the inconvenience and the loss of your body part.
- Wrongful death – No one can state with certainty that human life is worth how much in monetary terms. When a loved one dies due to the injuries or impact following an intersection accident, compensation for their life is paid. This is a noneconomic expense that cannot be supported by documents.
Filing an Insurance Damage Claim
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that when a person is involved in a car accident, they seek damages first from their insurance provider. If the losses they have suffered are more than their covers can pay, they then follow the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. It is essential to know that when seeking damages from your insurance provider, it doesn't matter who was to blame for the crash.
When involved in an accident, avoid dealing with the insurance adjusters yourself. Insurance companies will always offer to compensate you less than what you deserve. Get a lawyer who will help you file for your damages and ensure you receive your rightful costs.
In Florida, all drivers must have insurance coverage. Each driver must have a minimum of $10,000 in coverage that protects their property (PDL) and another minimum cover of $10,000 for personal injury (PIP). It is essential to know that the insurance company will not pay you beyond your coverage. This is why establishing the at-fault party is essential.
When your insurance coverage is not enough to cover your medical costs or repairs to your damaged vehicle, your lawyer can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance. Sometimes victims of an accident may have other covers that will pay for their damages. If you had insured the full value of your car, then the cover will cover all your costs or replacing your vehicle.
When a government entity is responsible for the accident, through your lawyer, you may seek damages from them. Third parties can also be held accountable for the damages. If the accident involved a driver with a company vehicle, the employer is also held liable for the damages.
Some individuals, such as pedestrians, may not have had PIP insurance. If that is the case, damages can be recovered from the at-fault driver’s cover.
How to Support Your Claim
For you to receive the damages you deserve, you must have sufficient evidence supporting the claims. Some of the crucial things you need are:
- A police report – Following an accident, the police usually come to the accident scene and issue a report on their findings. A report, in this case, may include photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved. The police will also include in their report any witness statements. Additionally, they will give their opinion on the cause of the accident.
- Written witness statement – If at the accident scene you can talk to witnesses, find out if they can issue a written and signed statement. This is crucial in supporting your claim, especially when dealing with the insurance provider of the other driver.
- Pictures – When you can take photos of the accident scene as well as for the injuries you sustain, it will be helpful in your claim.
- Doctor’s report – A comprehensive report from your doctor detailing the injuries you sustained, the treatment, and the cost is crucial to your claim. In case your doctor feels that there is a need for further treatment, he or she will include it and the approximate costs.
- Report from the auto shop – The shop where you take your car for repairs must also issue a detailed report as well as the cost of the repairs.
In summary, all the costs associated with your injuries must be well documented. Your costs to repair your car need to be documented as well.
Find a Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
Florida is a no-fault state, making it easier for accident victims to recover damages and not have to wait for long to determine liability. However, insurance companies may still frustrate you when paying your costs. Insurance adjusters also look for reasons to deny a claim if not well presented. An experienced lawyer knows all the necessary documents that will support your case and ensure you receive your rightful compensation. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we understand the stress our clients go through seeking compensation after an accident. Over the years, we have helped many accident victims receive their rightful damages, and we can help you as well. Call us at 904-494-8242, and let us discuss your claim.