The 2021 Florida Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report cites 41,381 road accidents in Broward County, a 21.53 percent increase from 2020. Moreover, data from the U.S. Department of Transportation revealed 3,098 fatal collisions on the streets of Florida in 2020, resulting in 3,331 deaths.
Fort Lauderdale also has its share of road accidents. In February 2023, a chain reaction and rollover crash injured two people and closed Interstate 95. One vehicle flipped over due to the impact. As a result, motorists could not pass through several southbound lanes.
Road accidents should not be taken lightly. If you have been involved in one, seek the help of a personal injury attorney. They can help you recover compensation for physical injuries and mental trauma resulting from the crash.
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Common Negligence Cases in Fort Lauderdale
Negligence accidents happen in Fort Lauderdale, such as motor vehicle and pedestrian crashes, slip and fall accidents, and injuries or deaths related to occupational hazards. In some cases, these accidents result in wrongful death cases.
In proving a negligence case, the following elements should be present:
- defendant’s legal duty to the plaintiff
- defendant’s violation of that duty
- plaintiff suffers injury
- proof that the defendant’s violation of that duty caused the injury
Driving while intoxicated, distracted driving, reckless driving, and speeding are the leading causes of car collisions in Fort Lauderdale. Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes prohibits motorists from driving if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. The law also forbids driving while under the influence of controlled substances.
Drunk driving can lead to car accidents, resulting in injuries and death. For example, local news reports a 58-year-old man driving a McLaren while intoxicated, resulting in one fatality. According to the police department’s report, his BAC was .238 percent, almost three times over the limit.
Section 316.305 of the Florida Statutes also prohibits a person from driving while using a wireless communications device. The law seeks to avoid vehicle accidents from texting or calling while driving. It also aims to reduce injuries and deaths among road users.
In 2018, a distracted driver crashed into 15 people, causing the death of two cyclists. The judge imposed a $1,000 penalty and suspended the defendant’s license for six months.
Another cause of vehicle crashes in Fort Lauderdale is reckless driving, punishable under Section 316.192 of the Florida Statutes. It refers to driving with willful or wanton disregard for others. Moreover, fleeing a Fort Lauderdale police officer or police authority also constitutes reckless driving.
Speeding can also lead to car accidents. For example, local news reported an accident at an intersection in Northwest 15th Court and 24th Avenue. Five people sustained injuries after a black SUV ran through a stop sign and crashed into another SUV. Security footage reveals one of the SUVs speeding.
The 2021 Florida Traffic Crash Facts Report cites 28 fatalities, with 124 victims of incapacitating injuries due to accidents caused by heavy trucks. These vehicles include tractor-trailers and concrete transport trucks.
One of the common causes of truck accidents in Fort Lauderdale involves speeding. Section 316.183 of the Florida Statutes mandates motorists to drive at least 50 mph, but not faster than 70 mph. Truck drivers who violate the speed limit are likely to injure others and damage properties.
Fatigued driving can also lead to truck accidents. Hence Florida imposes Hours of Service Regulations. Under the law, a person who operates commercial motor vehicles may only drive for 12 hours after ten uninterrupted hours off duty.
The law seeks to discourage driving while fatigued, which can lead to slower reaction time and poor decision-making skills. Some drivers also experience microsleeps, lasting up to 30 seconds which is enough time to cause an accident.
Fatigued truck drivers may cause an accident by going to the wrong lane or hitting another car or a pedestrian. In this case, they will likely be at fault for the road crash and may be liable for damages.
Title 49, Section 396.3 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires motor carriers to inspect, repair, and maintain their vehicles. They must ensure that all parts and accessories are in good condition. Some maintenance tips include regularly checking the truck’s tires, brakes, headlights, windshield wipers, battery, and fluid levels. The law aims to prevent accidents resulting from vehicle malfunction.
An example of a hit-and-run involving trucks in Florida is the incident involving an 18-wheeler truck that hit a 60-year-old man in Miami-Dade. The driver did not stop at the scene, and the man died despite undergoing surgery.
According to the 2021 Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities, Florida is the second most dangerous city for pedestrians. Death tolls continue to rise in 2022 and 2023.
In 2022, a box truck fatally hit a pedestrian near Miramar Parkway. In another incident, a car struck a 74-year-old man in February 2023. The Pembroke Pines police reported that the driver was heading to work when it fatally hit the elderly pedestrian.
The common types of pedestrian accidents in Fort Lauderdale are the following:
- dart-out incidents;
- intersection accidents;
- passing accidents; and
- turning accidents.
Dart-out incidents usually happen when a pedestrian rushes into the road. Section 316.130 of the Florida Statutes provides pedestrians’ duties. If there are sidewalks, a pedestrian should not walk along the road intended for motor vehicles. Moreover, no pedestrian should stand along the roadway to solicit a ride or employment.
The driver may also be at fault in dart-out accidents. Section 316.130 also states that a driver should exercise due care to prevent hitting a pedestrian. Motorists must exercise proper precaution in case of a child or incapacitated pedestrians.
Pedestrians may also sustain life-threatening injuries due to intersection accidents. Section 316.130 mandates drivers to stop, allowing pedestrians to cross the roadway when they are already halfway down the road.
Passing accidents may also happen when drivers fail to stop in case a school bus displays a stop signal. Section 316.172 of the Florida Statutes requires motorists to stop while nearing a bus loading or unloading students.
A distracted driver may even cause turning accidents when they fail to look for pedestrians before merging or turning. These road accidents allow an injured pedestrian to demand compensation from the at-fault driver.
Slip and fall accidents
Florida provides a four-year time limit to file a personal injury claim for negligence cases, including from slips and falls. A slip-and-fall accident happens when someone slips and falls on another’s property. The common causes of this incident include slippery or uneven surfaces and poorly-lit areas.
For example, loose mats and torn carpets can create an unsafe environment for all road users. People who walk on freshly mopped floors without a warning sign may lose their balance. Moreover, they may not identify hazards due to the reduced visibility in poorly-lit areas.
Section 768.0755 of the Florida Statutes provides the elements of premises liability. You must prove that the owner had knowledge of the premises’ dangerous condition and should have taken action to solve it. Constructive knowledge may suffice provided that:
- the dangerous condition existed for a long time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the owner should have known the situation; and
- the condition was foreseeable.
A sample scenario involves a person eating at a restaurant. The employees had just mopped the floor but failed to put a warning sign. One of the customers slipped on their way to the bathroom. As a result, they sustained bone fractures. In this case, the injured party can seek compensation for damages from the establishment.
Although Florida law requires specific elements for slip and fall cases, they are still considered negligence accidents. One of the elements of premises liability is that the owner should have known the dangerous condition had they exercised ordinary care. Likewise, failure to behave with ordinary care constitutes negligence.
Employers can be liable for negligence in workplace accidents. For example, failure to provide protective equipment like gloves and eye protection to employees while exposing them to hazardous conditions.
The employers are also responsible for maintaining heavy equipment like excavators and bulldozers. Employees who suffer injuries due to the equipment’s poor repair may request compensation from their negligent employer.
Section 440.10 of the Florida Statutes provides an employer’s liability in case of an occupational accident. It states that the employer shall be responsible for the injured employee’s medical expenses and disability. Section 440.15 lists the cases of permanent and total disability, which includes the following:
- spinal cord injury resulting in severe paralysis;
- severe brain injury;
- severe neurological disorders; and
- total blindness.
Workplace accidents usually happen on construction sites. For instance, one worker sustained critical injuries after a crane collapsed in Fort Lauderdale. The incident happened around 11 am, resulting in a traffic jam.
Another workplace accident involved a 55-year-old man struck by lightning while working at a car dealership. The Pompano Beach Fire Rescue performed CPR on the victim, but he later died after being transported to a hospital.
The family members or dependents could file a wrongful death case if their loved ones died due to another’s negligence. Section 768.21 of the Florida Statutes provides the damages in case of wrongful death.
Under the law, dependents can recover lost support and services, loss of companionship, and mental pain and suffering. They may also demand reimbursement for medical bills and funeral expenses.
The common causes of wrongful death in South Florida are road collisions and occupational accidents. For instance, the Florida Highway Patrol reported a crash on Interstate 595 that resulted in the death of a 53-year-old man.
Another news reports a crash in Fort Lauderdale that killed a pedestrian. The driver first collided with an AT&T fleet car before striking the victim. The driver sustained minor injuries and was transferred to Broward Health Medical Center.
A man also died while working at a construction site in Fort Lauderdale. Local news reports that he fell from the 12th floor of the building. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration joined the investigation since it involved a possible workplace accident.
Comparative Negligence in Fort Lauderdale Accidents
Under Section 768.81 of the Florida Statutes, the state follows the pure comparative negligence system. Under this principle, Florida courts allow the plaintiff in an injury case to recover damages even if they are partly at fault.
It’s best to consult a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer to help you understand your rights and accountabilities in a negligence case. They can help determine the extent of compensation.
For example, if the court awarded total damages of $80,000, the plaintiff can receive $800 for the one percent they are not at fault. It differs from the contributory negligence system, where the courts bar recovery of plaintiffs found to have contributed to the accident.
Did you know?
According to Florida Traffic Crash Facts Report, around 25,414 property damage crashes happened in Broward County in 2021, a 22.04 percent increase from 2020.
Find a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer
Negligence accidents allow you to file a claim against insurance companies and the at-fault party. Visit The Personal Injury Center to learn more about recovering compensation from negligence accidents in Florida, including Miami, Tampa Bay, and Palm Beach County. We can match you with an experienced car accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale and other parts of Florida.
Know your legal rights and options after a Fort Lauderdale accident. Schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with The Personal Injury Center. Tell us about your case today.
FAQs on Negligent Accidents in Fort Lauderdale
The courts award punitive damages if the defendant exhibits dangerous behavior. These damages intend to punish defendants and discourage them from repeating their harmful actions. For example, courts may award punitive damages if the plaintiff proves the defendant acted intentionally or maliciously.
It depends on the complexity of your case and the parties’ participation in negotiations. Typically, you can get your settlement check within six weeks.
You can still recover compensation even if your injuries have healed. If your lawyer proves the defendant’s negligence, the court may award damages in your favor.