Fort Lauderdale Car & Auto Accidents Attorney
Accidents happen. When auto accidents happen the results can be disastrous – for your property, for your health and possibly to your life. While there are often many contributing factors, the proximate (or legal) cause of most auto accidents is driver negligence.
Careless Driving = Negligent Driving
Drivers who fail to use reasonable care are considered negligent. Florida law characterizes “careless driving” as driving without regard for “the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic and all other attendant circumstances” and thus endangering “the life, limb, or property of any person.” Examples of careless driving include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Driving distracted, such as texting or talking on your cell phone;
- Falling asleep at the wheel;
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals, such as driving faster than the posted speed limit, running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign;
- Turning or changing lanes without signaling your intentions;
- Failing to maintain a safe distance;
- Changing lanes without checking your blind spot; and
- Not taking hazardous weather or traffic conditions into account.
Keep in mind that every auto accident is unique. A negligent driver might also act carelessly in more than one way that may not be included on the above list.
If you are injured in an auto accident, you might have a cause of action against the other driver (or drivers). Generally you need to prove that the other person’s careless driving caused the accident and that you suffered injuries (whether property damage or personal injury) as a result. However, both drivers might have contributed to the accident. If that is the case, damages will be awarded proportionately.
When both drivers acted negligently, the court will apportion liability based on each party’s percentage of fault and will award damages accordingly. Note that Florida does not adhere to the doctrine of joint and several liability. In Florida, if one driver is injured by three other drivers, the court will apportion liability among the three careless drivers; the injured driver cannot recover the full amount of damages from just one person.
Accidents Caused by Defective Parts
While auto accidents are often due to driver negligence, accidents can also be caused by defective parts (e.g., brakes and tires). When an automobile part is defective and causes an accident, you may sue the manufacturer or supplier in a products liability action. However, even if a defective product enhanced your injuries, if you or another driver were partially at fault, the court will apportion liability proportionately. The damages awarded will be based on each party’s percentage of fault.
We Can Help
Scott Newmark is dedicated to acquiring compensation for those injured in car accidents. Contact him today if you have been injured in an auto accident. He is here to help you. Call 954-850-4977 for a free consultation.