Florida is often a dangerous place for everyone on the road. Whether you are a driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, or pedestrian, you face the risk of injury every time you get on the roads. Unfortunately, some of the most dangerous roadways in the country are right here in Florida.
Injury victims should hold negligent drivers accountable for the injuries they cause when accidents and serious injuries occur. Doing so not only protects your right to receive compensation for your injuries and losses, but it also helps make the roads of Florida safer for all road users. Legal claims, the time and expense associated with litigation, and increased insurance premiums are a strong deterrent to negligent driving in the future.
The experienced Port Richey auto accident lawyers at Nicoletti Law have helped many injury victims across Florida protect their legal rights, and we will fight hard for you, too.
The Facts About the Most Dangerous Highways in America
According to Forbes, Florida is home to six of the ten most deadly highways in the United States. It is also home to the most deadly highway in America, which is U.S.-1, running the east coast of our state for 544 fatal miles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that its crash rate of nearly 2.8 fatal accidents per million miles driven was higher than any other highway in America.
The top ten most dangerous highways in the United States are:
- U.S. 1 in Florida: 2.78 fatalities per million miles (1011 fatal crashes, 1079 total fatalities)
- U.S. 41 in Florida: 2.16 (714 fatal crashes, 772 fatalities)
- U.S. 27 in Florida: 2.13 (529 fatal crashes, 614 fatalities)
- U.S. 83 in Texas: 1.95 (268 fatal crashes, 336 fatalities)
- U.S. 441in Florida: 1.77 (417 fatal crashes, 442 fatalities)
- I-40 in California: 1.76 (116 fatal crashes, 136 fatalities)
- I-40 in Arizona: 1.65 (249 fatal crashes, 293 fatalities)
- U.S. 87 in Texas: 1.59 (166 fatal crashes, 197 fatalities)
- U.S. 17 in Florida: 1.58 (387 fatal crashes, 420 fatalities)
- U.S. 98 in Florida: 1.57 (422 fatal crashes, 465 fatalities)
Why Are There so Many Fatalities on Florida Roads?
There are several reasons why auto accidents can be more likely in Florida than in other places. The first is our healthy tourism industry. With mild weather and yearlong sunshine, the tourism season in Florida never ends and has many financial upsides. It can, however, lead to heavy traffic. The more miles driven, the more likely it is that fatal accidents will occur on a roadway. Heavy traffic can also result in accidents caused by drivers who are impatient, or not paying attention, or simply not used to being in conditions of heavy traffic.
Year-round tourism also results in many drivers who are unfamiliar with the area. Drivers who do not commonly travel our roads may be unprepared for traffic signs and signals. They might turn the wrong way onto a one-way street or accidentally run a red light. All of these common mistakes can increase the likelihood of serious traffic accidents that have the potential to result in severe injuries.
Another problem here in Florida is the lack of major highways. On the north-south route, Interstates 95 and 75 are the only consistent routes. Smaller state highways can easily become crowded, especially as they pass through major cities like Orlando, Tampa, and Miami. It is also easy for traffic to become backed up after the slightest fender bender or construction diversion.
If you find yourself in this situation, be patient! Take the time to pay attention to your surroundings and continue to drive safely. Drivers who were not paying attention to the road, tried to speed through a construction zone, or who were staring at an accident scene instead of watching the traffic around them have caused many secondary accidents.
6 Types of Road Users Injured in Motor Vehicle Crashes
Many different types of vehicles use Florida roads at any given time, each presenting different injury risks. The type and severity of your injuries will determine the amount of compensation you deserve.
1.) Drivers and Passengers
Vehicle occupants have many critical protections from the force of a collision. Both the airbags and the seat belts inside a vehicle drastically reduce the severity of sustained injuries. The steel frame of the vehicle has reinforced areas designed to crumple and deflect force away from the passenger compartment. This critical safety design saves many lives every year.
These safety features do not, of course, prevent all injuries. Many auto accident victims suffer whiplash from the sudden back-and-forth movement their necks go through in a crash. The impact forces the spine to crack like a whip and often results in days of pain and discomfort. Similar injuries to other soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other non-bony tissue) can also result in pain and discomfort.
You might experience more severe internal injuries. Organ damage, internal bleeding, and nerve damage can quickly become life-threatening conditions. Many of these injuries do not show symptoms until you are already in trouble, making it very important to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident, even if you do not think you are hurt.
2.) Rideshare Passengers
Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services owe a duty of care to their riders. They ensure compensation to their riders for injuries with multiple layers of insurance coverage. Uber and Lyft carry supplemental insurance policies that provide additional coverage to injured passengers. These are large commercial policies that offer up to one million dollars in supplemental coverage for injured rideshare passengers.
But how does supplemental insurance coverage work? First, you must file a claim against the driver who is responsible for the accident. If another driver hit your Uber, then they would be at fault. In this case, you would have to first file a claim against that driver’s auto insurance policy. If your Uber or Lyft driver is at fault for the accident, you will have to first file a claim on their own personal policy.
Uber and Lyft drivers must carry their own personal auto insurance policy with liability coverage. If there is no coverage on this policy or insufficient coverage to pay for all your injuries and losses, then you may also file a claim against Uber or Lyft’s supplemental insurance policy. This policy “steps in” to cover the difference between what coverage was available under the primary insurance policy and the total value of your claim.
As you can imagine, things get confusing when there are multiple drivers and multiple insurance policies involved, illustrating why you need to hire your own injury lawyer to protect your legal interests throughout the claims process. When there are other parties or insurance companies to blame, adjusters sometimes try to get out of paying by pinning the blame on someone else. You need a lawyer who is fighting for you throughout the entire process to be sure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
3.) Motorcycle Riders
Motorcycle riders are at an increased risk of being involved in an accident. Being smaller and not as well lit as cars, motorcycles are difficult to see, and this can result in collisions. When a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, injuries are often severe because riders do not have the protection of airbags, seat belts, or a steel vehicle frame to protect them from the force of the collision.
Often, a rider’s only protection is a helmet, a critical element since head and neck injuries are some of the most serious of all auto accident injuries. A traumatic brain injury can quickly become fatal. The brain controls the most basic life functions. Without it, the heart will not pump, and the lungs will not continue to inflate and deflate. Even if a victim survives a serious traumatic brain injury, they could be left permanently disabled. Serious brain injuries can prevent a person from speaking, moving, or feeding themselves. The risk of serious brain injury significantly reduces when riders wear helmets.
Like motorcycle riders, bicycle riders are also vulnerable to being involved in an auto related bicycle accident. Here, too, it is critically important to wear a bicycle helmet every time you ride. Studies have consistently shown that helmets save lives. Pads and other safety gear can also help reduce injuries to your bones and muscles. But the brain is critical and vulnerable, and it is important to protect it every time you ride.
Pedestrians accidents can arguably be the most catastrophic of all road users. Unlike motorcycle riders or bicycle riders, pedestrians do not have a helmet to protect the fragile head and neck, leaving them vulnerable to brain damage, spinal cord damage, and other serious injuries. Even minor injuries can leave a lifetime of pain and suffering.
A pedestrian who suffers whiplash might feel aches and pain in their neck for years. A minor broken bone might take months to heal and result in a bone that is displaced, painful, or, at the very least, never quite the same as it was before the accident. All of these effects are subject to compensation in a car accident lawsuit. An experienced auto accident lawyer will know how to prove the full extent of all your pain and suffering.
6.) Scooter Riders
Electric scooters have popped up in cities across Florida. Some companies have actually removed their scooters due to the risk of liability. If another vehicle hits you while riding an electric scooter, the other driver could be at fault. The scooter manufacturer could also be liable if the accident was due to some defect in the scooter. Finally, the rental company could be at fault if it did not properly maintain its scooters or place proper warning labels on them.
Work with an injury lawyer who understands the unique legal issues presented by scooter injury cases. Scooter cases raise many new questions of liability, which the courts of Florida may answer.
How a Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Legal Rights
As we have seen, there are many important things a lawyer can do to protect your legal rights after an auto accident. Once the insurance company receives notification that you have counsel, they can no longer contact you about your case. This extra layer of communication protects you from accidentally saying anything that could hurt your case. Your lawyer will know how to prove who was at fault for your accident.
An experienced injury lawyer will also know how to prove all of the physical, emotional, and financial losses that you have suffered. An injury lawyer can determine what your claim is fairly worth based on what amount for which comparable cases in the area have settled. Your lawyer can attempt to negotiate for a fair settlement offer and tell you whether you received a reasonable offer or you should take your case to trial.
The Right Lawyers for All Florida Auto Accidents
If you have sustained an injury or injuries in an auto accident, you have legal rights that must be protected. The experienced Florida injury lawyers at the Nicoletti Law Firm know how to fight hard to protect your legal rights and get you the compensation you deserve under Florida law. Let us handle the insurance claims paperwork so you can focus on recovering from your injuries, secure in the knowledge that an experienced legal professional is protecting your rights.
Call (727) 845-5972 for your free consultation. The sooner you have a skilled motor vehicle accident attorney on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be.