More than 23,200 crashes happened in Orange County, Florida, in 2020, including Orlando. The incidents resulted in 174 deaths and 18,318 people sustaining injuries. The high number of crashes in the area for that year reflects a pattern.
In 2016, an auto accident happened near Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in Orlando. Unfortunately, this collision between a bus and an SUV sent 11 people to hospitals.
In 2022, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reported that a Honda Insight hit a pickup truck, resulting in the death of an 18-year-old high school quarterback.
The FHP closed a road in Orlando due to a deadly automobile accident in 2022. At around 5:30 in the morning, a BMW traveled the wrong way, causing it to collide with a motorcycle. The 60-year-old motorcyclist died in the accident, and the BMW’s driver fled the scene. The Florida car accident case remains under investigation.
Contact an Orlando car accident lawyer if you have been involved in a negligent vehicle crash. A personal injury lawyer can provide legal advice and representation so that you can receive fair compensation for your losses.
Featured on Medical News Today
“According to the Medical Malpractice Center, in the United States, there are between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice suits against doctors every year.“
Read more here.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Orlando, Florida
Car accidents happen every day, but the real tragedy is that many are preventable. Common causes of car crashes in Orlando include reckless driving, driver inattention, driving under the influence (DUI), and poor vehicle maintenance. In some cases, accidents occur because of road and weather conditions.
Examples of reckless driving include speeding, failure to stop at a traffic light, tailgating, and excessive lane changing. Speeding contributes to 26% of traffic fatalities in Florida. Research indicates that driving at 80 mph quadruples the risk of a car accident compared to driving 60 mph. These include side-impact and head-on collisions.
On the other hand, failure to stop at a traffic light and tailgating can increase the chances of rear-end crashes. Most drivers also believe that lane changing can help them reach their destination faster. However, researchers discovered that changing lanes does not guarantee a faster travel time. It can even lead to road accidents.
Reckless driving endangers the driver, passengers, pedestrians, law enforcement officers, and bystanders. Accident victims may experience broken bones, lacerations, brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can also cause property damage, especially when vehicles crash into a building.
Three main types of distraction exist. Visual distraction involves taking your eyes off the road, while in manual distraction, drivers take their hands off the wheel. A motorist who thinks of other things while driving exhibits cognitive distraction.
The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reported more than 3,100 deaths due to distracted driving in 2019. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC responded by putting out guidelines to prevent distracted driving accidents. It suggests that drivers should do other tasks before or after driving but never while operating a vehicle.
Even selecting a song or adjusting the mirrors takes a driver’s attention off the road. Passengers can assist with other tasks or speak up when a driver is engaged in distracting activities.
Driving under the influence
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, or FLHSMV, reported 228 alcohol-confirmed crashes and 24 drug-confirmed accidents in Orange County in 2020. Drunk driving led to 25 deaths and 145 injuries, and drug impairment led to 14 deaths and 16 injuries.
A driver under the influence of drugs and alcohol may experience slower reaction time, decreased hand-eye coordination, and weaker concentration. In 2022, WESH 2 News reported a truck accident that injured four people. The truck slammed into the Hideaway Sports Bar, and law enforcement alleges the driver was DUI.
Aside from alcohol, certain medications can also affect a person’s attention and driving skills. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the following medications can lead to impaired driving:
- Opioid pain relievers
- Antipsychotic drugs
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Sleeping pills
- Muscle relaxants
- Diet pills
- Allergy medicines
Consult your doctor regarding your medicines’ side effects before operating a vehicle and request those that do not affect driving. Your physician can also adjust the dose or time you take your prescription drugs. These measures can help prevent car accident injuries and wrongful death.
Poor vehicle maintenance
Vehicles need regular maintenance to work properly. Failure to check your car frequently can lead to accidents. For example, damaged tires can contribute to loss of control. Bald tires can also cause a vehicle to skid on wet and icy roads.
You should also replace your windshield wiper about every 12 months. It allows you to ensure maximum visibility, especially during heavy rains and snow storms. Aside from tires and wipers, you should also inspect the following:
- Daytime running lights (DRLs)
- Brake lights
- Fog lights
They provide visibility and inform other drivers of your intentions. For example, the brake lights warn the rear vehicles that you are slowing down. Hence, it helps prevent rear-end accidents and chain reaction collisions.
Road and weather conditions
The rainy season in central Florida runs from May to October. During these months, drivers should take extra caution. Bad weather can impair visibility and make it difficult for a driver to operate a vehicle.
For instance, several vehicles were involved in an accident in Orlando, Florida, last April 2022. NBC News reported that 43 cars slipped and slid into a pile-up.
Police spokesperson Andrea Otero said the bad weather was the leading cause of the incident. The unexpected downpour created slippery roads, which increased the chances of road accidents. As a result, one person sustained minor injuries, and traffic was delayed for at least one hour.
Likewise, poor road conditions can cause a driver to lose control of their car. Examples of road hazards include potholes, inadequate and confusing road signs, uncleared snow, and protruding steel bars. In response to these problems, the city of Orlando encourages people to report road issues through its main office, website, and phone number.
Driving Laws in Orlando, Florida
Orlando drivers should know different driving laws that help keep the roads safe for everyone. Below are some of the issues addressed by these laws.
Wireless Communications While Driving Law
Section 316.305 of the Florida Statutes (Statutes) prohibits drivers from texting while driving, which is an example of driver inattention. Law enforcement officers may stop drivers who use their mobile devices while operating a car.
Before the law passed, texting while driving constituted a secondary offense. Law enforcement had no authority to stop a driver unless there was a primary law violation like speeding. Under the revised Florida law, texting while driving has become a primary offense.
The law also bans drivers from using smartphones, tablets, and other wireless devices in designated school or road work zones. It seeks to prevent motor vehicle accidents in danger zones. For instance, children are not as alert as adults, so they need more protection from negligent drivers.
You should refrain from violating this law because the state imposes the following penalties:
- First texting offense – $30 fine and court fees
- Second texting offense – $60 fine, court fees, other costs, and three points on your driver’s license
- Texting in school or construction zones – additional license points
First-time offenders must complete a “Driver Safety Education” course and show proof of purchase of hands-free Bluetooth devices. This way, they can avoid penalties and license points.
Florida’s reckless, aggressive, and careless driving laws
Reckless driving increases the risk of an automobile accident. Section 316.192 of the Statutes sanctions any person who drives in willful disregard for other people’s safety and properties. The state imposes the following penalties:
- First conviction – imprisonment of not more than 90 days, or a fine ranging from $25 to $500, or both
- Second or a succeeding conviction – jail time of not more than six months, or a fine ranging from $50 to $1,000, or both
Moreover, Section 316.1925 of the Statutes forbids careless driving. Under the law, drivers must consider road conditions, such as traffic, curves, and corners. It seeks to prevent accidents resulting in serious injuries, fatalities, and property destruction.
Section 316.1923 of the Statutes also forbids aggressive careless driving, which involves two or more traffic rule violations:
- Improper lane changes
- Failure to maintain a safe following distance
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Improper passing and overtaking
- Violation of traffic control devices
Florida DUI law
All states strictly forbid drunk driving. Section 316.193 of the Statutes prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle while impaired. A person is guilty of this violation if:
- They are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical substances
- Tests showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08 or a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 grams per 210 liters or more
For example, law enforcement arrested the truck driver in the Hideaway Sports Bar under his law. Blood and breathalyzer tests revealed a BAC of 0.31 and 0.32 BAC, respectively, four times the legal limit.
The state imposes the following penalties for DUI:
- First conviction – imprisonment of not more than six months and a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000
- Second conviction – imprisonment of not more than nine months and a fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,000
Convicted DUI offenders may have to place an ignition interlock device in leased and owned vehicles to prevent more accidents. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can also revoke or suspend licenses because of a DUI conviction.
Florida auto insurance laws
Aside from driving laws, Orlando drivers should also know Florida’s relevant auto insurance laws. Insurance companies pay for the injuries and property damage in most car accidents.
Florida insurance requirements
Florida is a no-fault state. In a no-fault state, the insurance company compensates the policyholder without determining who is the at-fault party. It seeks to reduce the cost of auto insurance and streamline the process of pursuing a car accident claim.
To that end, Florida requires drivers to carry specific types of insurance. One is personal injury protection (PIP), which pays for the medical expenses of you and your passengers. Insurance claims cover 80 percent of necessary medical bills up to the policy coverage.
However, most PIP does not cover other damages, such as bodily injuries to drivers and passengers, or pain and suffering. Hence, you must file a lawsuit to recover these damages with the help of an accident attorney.
It also requires property damage liability (PDL) insurance coverage to pay for property damage caused by you or someone driving your car.
Here are the minimum requirements to register your vehicle in Orlando, Florida:
- Proof of PIP and PDL insurance
- Minimum of $10,000 for both PIP and PDL
- Maintenance of insurance coverage
The FLHSMV urges vehicle owners to surrender their license plates before canceling their insurance to avoid penalties. The penalty for uninsured motorists includes a reinstatement fee of up to $500. The state can also suspend the license plate for up to three years.
Release of insurance information
Section 324.242(2) of the Statutes only allows the release of information to the following individuals:
- The person or persons involved in a car crash and their lawyers
- Representative of the insurer of a person involved in the accident
You must submit the following if you need the other party’s insurance details:
After completing and requesting the two documents, mail them to the FLHSMV’s mailing address. According to the department, they will process your request within 10 working days.
What to Do After a Rear-End Collision
You should know the necessary steps after a car crash to protect your rights and prevent legal issues. First, check yourself for injuries without leaving the scene. Section 316.027 of the Statutes requires drivers to stay at the place of the incident. Leaving the scene means fines and penalties.
Next, you should call 911 to seek medical help and request police presence. Car accidents can cause hidden injuries, such as whiplash, spinal cord injuries, soft tissue injuries, and internal organ problems. Only healthcare professionals can diagnose these health issues, so you need medical attention immediately.
Aside from getting medical care, calling 911 enables you to report the car crash to Orlando police. The call-taker will share the details with law enforcement officers who secure the area and gather information to prepare a police report. They also ensure the safety of other people at the accident scene.
You should also exchange the following information with other drivers:
- Name and contact details
- Insurance coverage information
- Driver’s license and plate number
- Make and model of vehicle
Refrain from discussing liability with other drivers because they can use your statements against you. For example, if you say, “I’m sorry because I did not see you,” the other party can conclude that you are distracted while driving.
Next, document the extent of injuries and property damage. Take pictures and videos to strengthen your personal injury claim. You can also ask for CCTV footage from nearby buildings to show why the incident occurred.
You can also take note of witnesses’ names and contact information. Some witnesses need time before deciding to testify, which helps save their numbers.
How an Orlando Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
The most crucial thing you should do in a negligent car accident is to hire an Orlando personal injury lawyer. Auto accident attorneys can protect and represent your legal interests.
Investigate the car crash
An accident attorney can help collect evidence, gather police and medical records, and reach out to witnesses to build a strong case. They can also talk to the other parties and investigating officers without mentioning incriminating statements.
Negotiate with insurance companies
An insurance company can underestimate your claim amount. As a business, its goal is to reduce payouts, which can be a problem if you need long-term medical treatment. Fortunately, a skilled Orlando car accident attorney can help you receive a fair settlement offer.
Provide legal representation and advice
Legal advice includes explaining laws and their relation to the incident and developing techniques to win your car accident case. On the other hand, legal representation entails handling all aspects of your case in court. A personal injury lawyer can file court documents, schedule court dates, examine witnesses, and deliver arguments.
The drivers, auto manufacturers, cities, and states may be liable in an auto accident. Liability may lie with the driver if they violate traffic regulations. Car manufacturers sometimes produce defective auto parts, which can lead to crashes. In the case of poorly maintained roadways, victims may seek compensation from government agencies.
In proving liability, an Orlando personal injury lawyer must show the presence of negligence. Its elements are:
- Defendant’s legal duty
- Breach of duty
- Plaintiff’s injury
- Connection of injury and breach
An example involves texting while driving. Suppose the driver of a sedan was using their phone while driving. This act constitutes a breach of their legal duty to focus on the road. As a result of their violation, the sedan hit an SUV. As a result of the crash, one of the passengers sustained brain injuries. Suppose the car accident attorney can prove the connection between the breach and injury. In that case, the victim can seek payment for medical expenses.
Another example involves product defects. Suppose an auto manufacturer produced vehicles with faulty brakes. This act is a violation of manufacturers’ duty to offer products that are safe for their users. Unfortunately, driver A purchased the defective car from the said company. They stepped on the brakes, but the vehicle did not stop. They collided with a minivan, resulting in driver B’s wrongful death.
Secure recoverable damages
Auto accident attorneys can help you receive damages after a road accident. Part II of Chapter 768 of the Statutes describes the damages you can recover in a negligent accident. If you suffer from car accident injuries, you may need compensation for physical therapy, surgery, hospitalization costs, and prescription drugs.
You can also seek payment for lost wages if you cannot work because of the accident. It pertains to the money you could have earned if the car crash did not happen. It may include tips, commissions, and bonuses. In contrast, loss of earning capacity refers to future income. Victims with life-changing injuries may request compensation for it.
Auto accident attorneys can also help you seek reimbursement for repair costs. The FLHSMV reported that in 2020, there were 11,681 property damage crashes in Orange County. If you have been involved in the same kind of accident, you can request for the liable party to shoulder repair expenses.
Suppose a loved one dies because of a vehicle crash. In that case, the immediate family can file a wrongful death claim to receive payment for funeral costs. These can include cremation, embalming, and memorial services.
Since car accident victims experience emotional distress due to the incident, you can ask for compensation for pain and suffering. It can also involve anguish, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional trauma.
Get Help for a Car Accident In Orlando From The Personal Injury Center
Orlando car accidents can happen due to reckless and distracted driving, DUI, poor vehicle maintenance, bad weather, and road hazards. Florida driving laws include a prohibition on DUI, texting while driving, and reckless driving.
Moreover, drivers should also know about auto insurance laws in Orlando, Florida. Since Florida is a no-fault state, drivers must carry PIP and PDL insurance to cover medical bills and repair costs. In case of lawsuits, your personal injury attorney should prove liability and the elements of negligence.
An experienced Orlando car accident lawyer can help you receive the rightful compensation for your losses. They can formulate strategies to win your personal injury claim.
At The Personal Injury Center, we understand the difficulties of looking for car accident attorneys with years of experience. Fortunately, we have the proper resources so you can understand your legal rights. We can also connect you with skilled attorneys in Orlando. Book your free case evaluation today!
FAQs on Orlando Car Accident Lawyer
Car accident victims in Orlando, Florida, must file a civil suit within four years after the date of the accident. Missing the deadline may mean the courts will bar them from initiating a lawsuit.
Lawyer fees vary, but most attorneys typically charge clients from 25% to 33% in a contingency fee arrangement. Under this fee structure, the attorney agrees that legal fees will depend on the case's outcome.
Many car accidents in the Orlando area happen at night, especially when roads are poorly lit. Tourist seasons can also increase car crashes since visitors are unfamiliar with specific traffic rules in Orlando.