Did you know speeding is a factor in 29 percent of fatal accidents? Every day, you likely see at least one car speeding, weaving in and out of lanes to get ahead faster. While it happens all the time, speeding is often more dangerous than many realize.
Speeding is a factor in a large percentage of car accidents every year, and these collisions often result in deaths. If you’ve experienced a car accident with a speeding driver and suffered injuries, or if a loved one has passed away due to a speeding accident, a Port Richey car accident lawyer can help you pursue justice.
Speeding and Fatal Car Accidents
Information and statistics come out yearly regarding car accidents and resulting injuries and fatalities. Among the leading causes of car accidents, speeding always makes the list. For over 20 years, speeding has been the cause of roughly one-third of all accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is one of the entities responsible for gathering important traffic and accident data and educating the public. Recently, they reported speeding as a contributing factor in 29 percent of all fatal accidents.
Speeding puts the driver, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk. No matter the reason, it's never a good idea.
Why Do People Speed?
Speeding is commonplace, and people speed for several reasons. Below are some of the most common factors resulting in speeding.
Running late is one of the most significant causes of speeding drivers.
When you’re running late, it might seem like a good idea to speed and zip through traffic, hoping to get to your destination sooner. However, many fail to consider the consequences, and you’ll never make it where you’re going if you’re in an accident.
No one wants to be stuck in traffic; it’s frustrating and irritating. Still, while speeding might appear like the best way to cut people off and get ahead, it only endangers everyone on the road.
Driving Under the Influence
When someone is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, common sense and control often go out the door. It's also common for impaired drivers to be unaware of how fast they drive.
This is why drunk driving is one of the most significant causes of fatalities in the United States.
The Dangers of Speeding
Speeding creates danger on the road for the following reasons.
Greater Chance of Losing Control of the Vehicle
First and foremost, when a driver is speeding, it's harder for them to control the vehicle. It is much easier for a driver to get into a collision when speeding.
Decreased Reaction Time
Driving often requires drivers to make split-second decisions. However, when someone is speeding, they cannot make quick decisions due to the vehicle’s speed.
Increased Stopping Distance
The distance you need to come to a complete stop while driving depends on the vehicle’s speed. A car traveling 30 miles per hour will have a much shorter stopping distance than a car going 60 miles per hour.
A speeding driver who doesn't have enough distance to stop can crash.
Higher Likelihood of Severe Injuries and Fatalities
A speeding car hits another car with significant force, commonly leading to worse injuries. In the most unfortunate cases, the strong impact results in death.
Significant Injuries and Fatalities Are Common in Speeding Accidents
A collision with a speeding vehicle, more often than not, results in severe injuries and death for victims.
Some of the most common kinds of injuries resulting from accidents involving speeding include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Injuries resulting in amputation
- Internal injuries
In many cases, a victim suffers extensive injuries and eventually succumbs to them. In other cases, speeding accidents kill victims on contact.
Recovering Financially From a Fatality
If a loved one passed away in a speeding accident, you may seek financial compensation for your loss.
When a victim passes away, the family may have a valid claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death claim arises when an individual passes away due to another’s wrongful actions. In other words, the victim would not have passed away if that person had not committed a negligent or intentional act. Hence the name “wrongful death.”
In Florida, the personal representative of the victim’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s estate and surviving family.
Damages are available to compensate for the losses experienced by both the victim and their family, whether economic or non-economic.
The victim’s losses may include those they suffered from the time of their accident until their passing. Because some victims do not pass away right away after an accident, it’s common for them to suffer various losses. Damages for the victim can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Compensation for the victim’s family can include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The loss of support and services the victim provided
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
You may seek punitive damages for the defendant's grossly negligent or intentional actions. While economic and non-economic damages compensate victims and their families, punitive damages punish the defendant.
Financial compensation cannot fix the pain caused by the untimely loss of a loved one, but it can help with some of the financial stress a death causes. A car accident attorney can assign a value to the wrongful death case and pursue financial recovery.
Recovering Financially for Injuries
You could pursue compensation for your losses if you suffered serious injuries in a speeding accident.
Depending on your case, a car accident lawyer can start by sending the other driver’s insurance company a demand letter asking for compensation on your behalf. A demand letter lists the reasoning behind the insured’s liability, the extent of your injuries, and the calculation of your damages.
If the insurance company does not respond or does not want to settle your claim, your car accident attorney can then decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal injury lawsuits exist to help victims who have suffered harm at the hands of another seek justice and compensation. The responsible party is held liable, and you can pursue the compensation you deserve.
Damages for car accident claims depend on the details of the accident but are either economic or non-economic.
Economic damages represent your tangible losses, including:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses for the past and future
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Property damage
Non-economic damages represent your intangible losses, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disfigurement
Punitive damages may also be available for personal injury lawsuits if the judge finds it necessary or appropriate.
Calculating damages is one of the most challenging parts of a personal injury claim but one of the most critical. Your car accident lawyer can thoroughly review the details of your case to determine how much your case is worth.
Once you understand the value of your case, your attorney can fight aggressively to get you the compensation you need for your losses.
Proving Liability for a Car Accident Involving Speeding
Establishing the other party’s liability is critical in pursuing compensation for a car accident.
Car accident claims most often involve negligence. A person is negligent when they do not act with proper care, failing to act in a manner a reasonable person in a similar situation would have.
To establish the defendant was negligent, you must satisfy the necessary elements of negligence.
You must prove:
- The defendant had a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care
- Their breach caused the accident
- You suffered injuries and losses as a result
For example, if the defendant were speeding at the time of your collision, you would have to prove:
- The defendant had a duty of care to drive safely and responsibly
- They breached their duty by speeding
- Their speeding was the cause of your accident
- You sustained injuries due to the accident
Proving liability can be tricky for accidents involving speeding. Evidence can help establish the other person’s liability, including:
- Surveillance or traffic camera footage
- Witness and expert statements
- Police reports
- Photos at the scene
An experienced car accident attorney knows how to prove the other driver's liability. You can trust your lawyer to obtain the information and evidence necessary to hold the defendant accountable and seek the financial recovery you need for your losses.
What to Do After a Speeding Accident
The following steps could protect your legal claim after a car accident with a speeding driver.
Call for Help
If you can dial 911 and ask for police and medical assistance, do so. If you cannot, have someone do it for you.
Receive Medical Attention
Suffering injury in a speeding accident is highly likely, so you’ll need emergency medical care. If your injuries are severe enough, paramedics can transport you to the hospital.
Even if you don’t go to the hospital or refuse medical care on the scene, don’t wait to visit an emergency room or see your physician for a complete medical examination. Understanding the extent of your injuries sooner rather than later can help ensure you get the medical treatment you need as soon as possible.
Exchange Information with the Driver
Florida law requires that drivers exchange information, specifically if the accident involves injuries or death.
Florida prohibits leaving the scene of an accident. If the other driver abandons the scene without stopping, exchanging information, or rendering assistance if needed, they can face legal repercussions.
Report Your Accident to Your Insurance Company
As soon as you can, report your accident to your insurer. Formally reporting your accident initiates the claims process.
Consult a Car Accident Attorney
After a serious accident, always put your health first. When you’re ready, meet with a car accident lawyer to discuss your accident. An attorney can give you valuable legal advice and help you decide how to proceed.
Time Is Limited to Pursue Compensation
Florida sets the statute of limitations for personal injuries at four years from the accident. If you lost a loved one in a speeding accident and wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death.
Because failing to file a claim within the specified time can result in the forfeiture of rights to compensation, you should speak to a car accident lawyer immediately.
After a Collision Involving Speeding, Consult an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
After a car accident with a speeding driver, speak to a skilled Port Richey personal injury lawyer. An attorney can put you in the best possible position to get the compensation you deserve for your losses.
A car accident attorney can also help you if an accident involving speeding took the life of a loved one. Discuss your situation with a lawyer to better understand your legal options and how you can hold the individual accountable while pursuing the financial recovery you need during a challenging time.