Let a Fort Lauderdale Intersection Accident Lawyer Manage Your Accident Claim
Intersection accidents are one of the most common types of car accidents in Florida. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles statistics, there were more than 300,000 car accidents that happened in a Florida intersection last year. Of those accidents, 30% of them resulted in injuries or fatalities.
The most common causes of Intersection Accidents are:
- Running the red light
- Lane changes while traveling through an intersection
- Failure to Obey traffic control signals
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Improper turns and U turns in an intersection
Running a red light continues to be the most common cause of Florida intersection accidents. According to the Automobile Association of America (AAA), Florida has the fifth highest number of fatal red-light intersection car accidents in the US. Nationally, fatal accidents which occur after a driver runs a red light is at a 10-year high. AAA estimates that 2 people every day dies as a result of a driver running a red light.
The statistics for people that get injured by another driver running a red light are much higher. Red light runners in intersections account for more than half of all intersection car accidents. The remainder of intersection car accidents in Florida is split evenly between improper lane changes in an intersection, improper turns in an intersection, excessive speed and failing to obey a traffic signal. No matter what causes the intersection accident you are involved in, it’s always best to contact a Fort Lauderdal automobile accident lawyer to best establish liability for the accident.
How Do You Prove Who is at Fault for a Florida Intersection Car Accident?
After an intersection accident, it may be tough to understand your accident claim. Multiple vehicles are typically involved, and it may be hard to know what caused the accident. When you hire an experienced car accident attorney, here are some of the evidence they will examine:
- Witness Statements – If your accident happens in a busy intersection, the odds of you being able to obtain evidence in your favor is good. Busy intersections typically have many other drivers that can may see the accident occur, and can act as a witness. It is critical to identify any persons near an intersection crash that may have seen the accident, and speak to them about what they saw. Your Fort Lauderdale intersection accident attorney will typically contact any witnesses to an intersection crash to obtain a recorded statement. People disappear and memories fade over time, so it is important to preserve witness testimony as quickly as possible.
- Surveillance Cameras – busy intersections are typically surrounded by businesses. Video surveillance cameras have become very popular for protecting businesses from theft and other types of property crime. Many of these video surveillance cameras will be pointed at the road in order to capture the entrance and exit of vehicles going to the business. These cameras often will capture most of the roadway near the business, and be able to record exactly how your accident happened. Once again, it is critical to locate any surveillance cameras as soon after your accident as you can as most cameras will tape over the recording after a certain period of time.
- Black Box/GPS Data – Many newer vehicles contain event data recorders (“EDR”), otherwise known as the “black box”, that can provide critical information as to how an intersection crash occurred. EDR’s are triggered by electronically sensed problems occurring in the engine, or sudden changes in wheel speed. Global Positioning Systems (“GPS”) can also provide data to determine a vehicle’s path and speed before, during and after a Florida intersection accident occurs. It will usually require an expert data retrieval person to obtain this type of information, but it can provide critical facts in establishing who is at fault in a Florida intersection crash accident.
- Light Sequencing – Most busy intersections have light sequencing based upon traffic flow. This means that certain lights will turn green, yellow, red, or a turn signal for a certain period of time. At the same time, other lights in the intersection are changing color too. The pattern of when lights change color in an intersection is known as light sequencing. The light sequence for busy intersections in South Florida can be obtained from Florida Department of Transportation or the County. These light sequences can prove or disprove whether a driver had the right of way after causing an intersection crash.
Dangerous Intersections Where the Government Can Be Held Responsible
Can an accident victim sue the government if a government entity is responsible for a dangerous condition in an intersection that causes a car accident? The answer depends on a number of factors.
The Extent of Government Immunity
Although state, federal, and local governments are generally immune from liability in civil lawsuits, when negligence by a government entity causes injuries, the laws often provide an exception. Florida Statute §768.28 specifically waives the doctrine of sovereign immunity in tort actions. This allows individuals to seek tort damages for property loss, personal injury, or death, but only in certain circumstances:
- The loss must have been caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of a state employee
- The act or omission must have occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of employment
- The situation must be one that would cause liability for a private individual
The law covers state agencies and subdivisions, which are defined to include county and municipal governments. While Florida’s tort claims legislation allows individuals to sue the government for negligence or wrongdoing, the amount they can recover in damages is limited in many cases, and victims may not seek punitive damages.
A Fort Lauderdale Intersection Accident Lawyer Can Help You Prove Negligence in Your Claim Against the Government
It is rare for someone to be able to prove that the government acted in a deliberately wrongful way, so to win a case against the government, the key is to demonstrate that the government was negligent. For purposes of civil liability, someone is considered negligent under Florida law when they fail to operate with reasonable care under the circumstances, and that failure causes harm.
That said, it is crucial to present persuasive evidence to show:
- What the standard should have been for responsible behavior
- How the government failed to meet that standard
- How the failure caused injuries to the victim
In many cases, courts hold that the government must have known about a dangerous condition under its control or must have directly caused the dangerous condition in order for someone injured by that condition to recover from them. For instance, in a case where a driver sued the government for damage she sustained when her vehicle hit a construction barrier that had been improperly set on the road, the court declined to hold the government liable because the driver could not prove that the barrier had been placed by a government employee or that it had been there long enough for the government to have reasonable notice of it.
If the driver had presented better evidence, the outcome may have been quite different. That is why it is critical to work with a Fort Lauderdale intersection accident lawyer as soon as possible so that he or she has a chance to collect evidence while it is fresh.
Poor Intersection Design vs. Improper Maintenance
There is no doubt that many intersections in South Florida are poorly designed. Some might even be negligently designed. This can be challenging to prove, however. To be sure, it is challenging to convince a court that the government should be held liable because flaws in the design of an intersection caused a collision — but not impossible.
When an intersection is made dangerous by improper maintenance, on the other hand, it can be considerably easier to demonstrate that government negligence caused the accident. The key is to gather persuasive evidence. For instance, if a highway worker dropped a bunch of hardware in the road that caused drivers’ tires to blow out, it would be much easier to make the case for government liability if a driver could produce a witness who saw the employee drop the hardware or saw that the hardware was in the road for a considerable amount of time before the accident, so the government entity had time to observe and remedy the danger.
How Do You Make A Claim For Injuries From An Intersection Crash?
It can be difficult to prove who is at fault in an intersection crash. To make a claim for injuries you suffered in an intersection crash, our South Florida intersection accident attorneys caution you to follow these steps:
- Take photographs of the accident scene
- Call the Police to make sure a crash report is written
- Get the names and addresses of any witnesses at the scene that may have seen the accident occur
- Seek medical attention as soon as you can and report all injuries no matter how minor you think they may be.
For a free, no-obligation consultation about your rights after an intersection crash, contact the Maus Law Firm.