If you were injured due to the negligence of another driver, you probably already know that you should receive compensation for your hospital bills, medical treatment, lost wages, property damage, and more. But what happens when adverse road conditions cause your accident? There may not even be another driver involved. Some personal injury law firms in South Florida and Central Florida are reluctant to take on this kind of case, but the lawyers at Weinstein Legal can represent individuals injured in accidents caused by dangerous roads. Call today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Common Road Hazards in Florida That Contribute to Accidents
South Florida roadways can be treacherous for many reasons. Whether you're driving on a highway, a state road, or a side street that's maintained by the county or a municipality, flawed roadways seem to be the norm. Here are a few road hazards that typically cause accidents around South Florida:
Broken Traffic Lights
With the inclement weather South Florida receives on a nearly daily basis, traffic lights go out frequently. Under Florida law, drivers are supposed to treat inoperative traffic lights as a four-way stop, meaning that they're supposed to take turns going through the intersection. There is, however, a much higher likelihood of accidents when the lights are inoperative.
Missing or Obscured Traffic Sign
Stop signs in this country are large, octagonally shaped, red signs made from reflective materials. They're difficult to miss unless they've fallen down, were stolen, or are obscured by foliage. If you inadvertently crossed into an intersection because you couldn't see a stop or yield sign, you should not be held liable for the entire accident.
According to FDOT, the following Broward roads are under construction: I-95 express lanes, SR 7 in Hollywood, I-75 Express Lanes, A1A, and many smaller, less-traveled streets. In Palm Beach County, parts of I-95 express lanes, Okeechobee Boulevard, SR 7, SR 25, and SR 80 are also under construction.
In Orange County, Avalon Road, Boggy Creek Road South, and the John Young Parkway/Sand Lake Road Interchange are all under construction. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and there are smaller projects going on everywhere. Road construction can be confusing and dangerous for drivers. Poorly trained construction workers frequently set up barriers that direct drivers into hazardous conditions. Construction zones are often filled with dangerous materials that can cause blowouts or force drivers to take evasive action.
Have you ever driven on a ramp where you were forced to drastically brake your vehicle to maintain control? There are several ramps in Broward, Palm Beach, and Orange counties that account for disproportionately high numbers of accidents. If you lost control of your vehicle on a highway ramp, our attorneys want to talk to you.
Damaged or Poorly Maintained Roadways
Unfortunately, many roadways around Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and the surrounding areas are long overdue for resurfacing. Not only does this mean that there are many potholes and degrading shoulders, but the road surfaces may not channel water as well as they were initially designed to. This means that it's easier to lose control of your vehicle when the roads are wet.
Who Is Liable When the Road Causes an Accident
When the roadway or surrounding hazards cause your accident, it may be more difficult to receive compensation. Your car insurance should cover you to the limits of your PIP policy, which is $10,000 if you carry only the minimum coverage. However, even if you have moderate injuries, your medical bills can far exceed that amount. That's why it's essential to contact a South Florida injury attorney right from the beginning. A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer who knows the Orange, Palm Beach, and Broward roadways will be familiar with local hazardous road conditions. A professional personal injury law office, like Weinstein Legal, will have the resources necessary to hire legal experts and research accident patterns to bolster your case. They can then determine which parties are responsible for the crash and hold them accountable.
Determining Compensation After an Accident Caused by Dangerous Road Conditions
When it comes to accidents caused by dangerous roads, the damages calculations can be more involved than a straight-forward car vs. car accident. The first step is to determine the amount of damages. Economic damages include all expenses, including medical costs, lost wages, vehicle damage, and anything else that has a monetary cost associated with it. Non-economic damages are also referred to as “pain and suffering.” These include the intangible costs of an accident: physical pain, lost capacity, emotional trauma, etc.
Florida follows the pure comparative negligence theory, which allows individuals who are partially at fault for an accident to still recover damages. This significantly impacts dangerous road accidents since it is sometimes difficult to place the entire blame on faulty conditions.
What Steps Should I Take if I'm in an Accident Caused by a Dangerous Roadway?
Your legal case may hinge on the steps you take in the immediate aftermath of an accident, particularly if no other cars were involved.
- Get to a position of safety. If the road conditions caused your accident, it could cause another car to collide with you.
- Call the police, and if necessary, the EMTs to treat your injuries. Many drivers involved in single-car accidents make the mistake of leaving before the police arrive.
- Take pictures of the accident scene if you can do so safely. Make sure to include any hazards that you believe contributed to your accidents (i.e., obstruction in the road, potholes, construction barricades)
- Ask for the contact information of any witnesses who stopped to render aid.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer who focuses on car accidents as soon as possible. The topography of Florida roads changes every day. Call a lawyer before the evidence becomes unavailable.
Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyers
Hiring a personal injury lawyer in South Florida may seem like a daunting task, but at Weinstein Legal, all consultations are free. We will review your case, walk you through the claims process, and provide legal advice. We will be the insurance company's point of contact for all matters concerning your case. Our seasoned attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that you don't have to pay out-of-pocket for professional legal advice. Call today for top-tier legal representation.