One of the most deadly types of car accidents is the intersection crash. Also known as a T-bone accident, there are multiple factors that contribute to the severity of such crashes, including the speed and impact angle at which intersection accidents typically take place. Determining the cause of an intersection accident is often an essential part of proving liability after a Florida car accident. Factors such as whether there was a traffic camera at the intersection and whether the vehicles involved were equipped with special “black boxes” can help your car accident attorney determine the cause of an intersection crash so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Most Common Causes of Intersection Crashes
Think about any time you’ve been stopped at an intersection and witnessed the impatient motorist trying to “make” the light. Typically, this is considered aggressive driving, and it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. The following are reported to be the most common aggressive driving maneuvers witnessed by United States drivers, and they often play a role in intersection and T-bone accidents:
- Following too closely;
- Improper or erratic lane changing;
- Prohibited and dangerous passing and merging;
- Sudden and erratic speed changes;
- Failure to yield right of way;
- Failure to obey traffic control devices and signs;
- Driving too fast and/or racing; and
- Making improper turns.
Speeding is the leading cause of fatalities as related to aggressive driving crashes. This is because the higher the speed of the aggressive vehicle in relation to your vehicle, the greater the transfer of force from the speeding vehicle to your vehicle, and the greater the transfer of force, the greater the chance you will sustain severe full-body impact injuries as your muscles and tendons absorb the impact of the crash. This is one of the main reasons why intersection accidents are so dangerous, because often a driver will be accelerating in order to avoid a red light, and he will either enter the intersection at an accelerated rate of speed or attempt to slam on the brakes, causing an accident behind him. In Florida, “aggressive careless driving” is legally defined as committing two or more of the following acts simultaneously:
- Exceeding the speed limit;
- Improper or unsafe lane changes;
- Following too closely;
- Failure to yield;
- Improper passing; and
- Violating traffic control devices and signs.
When it comes to intersection accidents, aggressive careless driving is often the cause. For example, violating a stop light by running through the yellow while exceeding the speed limit is considered aggressive, careless driving in Florida and an experienced Florida personal injury attorney may be able to argue that the other driver was negligent per se, that is for violating the law.
Using Evidence to Determine Causation
One of the best ways to determine the cause of an intersection accident is with clear evidence that does not require forensic evaluation. After a Florida car crash, experienced Florida personal injury attorneys will immediately look for and obtain the following evidence, if available:
- Police report;
- CC-TV footage from local businesses;
- Cell phone videos and photos of the scene;
- Witness statements;
- Vehicle maintenance records;
- Cell phone and social media records;
- Vehicle black-box records, and
- Blood alcohol and drug tests.
Although not all of this evidence is always available, a video of the accident from a local convenience store or dash camera may immediately reveal the cause of the accident. Because eyewitness accounts of the accident are often unreliable, it is best to match an eyewitness account with documentary evidence of the scene in order to determine the cause. For these reasons, it is also important to take photographs and videos of the scene of the accident and the damage to the vehicles before there is any disruption. Provided you are in a safe location, be sure to take a picture of the exact position of the vehicles after the accident, any debris left on the road as a result of the accident, tread marks left by either car, traffic signals or traffic control devices nearby, and any markings left on your vehicle as the result of the accident, i.e., paint from the other car.
Florida Comparative Fault Law
Because intersection accidents generally involve multiple vehicles, it is sometimes the case that both drivers can be considered negligent. For example, if you are stopped at a four-way stop and each driver involved in the accident has a reason for believing they had the right-of-way, this may result in both parties being considered partially “at fault” for the accident, but if you were the only one injured, what are your options for recovery? Each state adheres to its own laws for determining fault in multi-car collisions. While some states prohibit recovery if you were more than 50% liable for the accident, a small number of states will prohibit recovery if you were even 1% at fault for the accident.
Florida, however, follows what is known as a “pure comparative fault” system. Florida law states that “contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and noneconomic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.” In layman’s terms, if your personal injury attorney successfully litigates your claims, then whatever amount you are awarded for injuries, say $10,000, is reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if the jury found that you were 10% at fault for the accident, then you would only be able to recover $9,000, a 10% reduction in your original award.
Contact a St. Petersburg Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney Today
It is not always easy to determine the cause of an accident, especially an intersection accident when there are two supposed sides to the story. However, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries even if the cause of the accident is not clear. The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has your premier personal injury lawyers in St. Petersburg, and they have experience fighting for your right to compensation after a Florida car accident. Contact them today online or at (727) 472-3909 for a free, no-risk consultation about your car accident.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 1663 1st Ave S. St. Petersburg, FL 33712 (727) 472-3909 https://www.dolmanlaw.com/st-petersburg-car-accident-attorneys/