Blindspots are a Severe Car Accident Risk
Blind spots exist in every vehicle, and the larger the vehicle, the more pronounced the blind spot. Realistically, a blind spot is a zone that exists when you are checking your rearview or side mirrors and cannot see another vehicle approaching you from the side or from behind. A report which was issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in March of 2019 indicated that leading up to 2015, more than 500,000 accidents resulted from a blind spot issue. These crashes resulted in more than 188,000 injuries and more than 500 fatalities.
Types of Crashes Attributed to Blind Spots
According to this same report, most of these crashes occur when a driver is attempting to merge into another lane. However, it is worth noting that many crashes result in rear-end or front-end collisions resulting in significant damage to the vehicles involved. Blind spots are also problematic for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle operators. When a driver cannot see another vehicle approaching as a result of a blind spot, they are unlikely to see a person walking, riding a bike or operating a motorcycle.
Commercial Vehicles Have Larger Blind Zones
Drivers are aware of buses and commercial trucks who are sharing the road with them. What they may be unaware of is that there is a much longer period of time when they may be in the operator’s blind zone. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) refers to this area as a “no zone” — the area where a passenger vehicle disappears from the view of the driver of a truck or bus.
The FMCSA estimates that as many as 14 percent of all accidents involving large vehicles are as a result of an operating being unaware there is another vehicle in the area of their blind spot. Blind spots can cause problems when a truck driver is changing lanes, making a turn, or merging in traffic. This is dangerous not only for the operator but for other drivers and anyone who may be impacted by a crash.
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Technology Today and Blind Spot Accident Prevention
Thankfully more automobile manufacturers are turning to technology to help reduce the number of roadway accidents caused by blind spots in motor vehicles. Unfortunately, Consumer Reports found that the technology known as blind-spot detection (BSD) is still optional on most vehicles which means this feature costs those purchasing a vehicle extra money. Technology will not always solve accidents resulting from a driver being unaware of another vehicle in their blind spot because in some cases, the driver must have their turn signal activated to trigger a warning. What technology may be able to do is help everyone be more aware of their surroundings.
Reducing the Risks of Blind Spot Accidents
Blind spots are always a risk since every vehicle has them. Drivers on Florida roadways should always be aware of the vehicles around them to ensure other drivers are paying attention to the blind spots on the rear of their vehicles. Fortunately, many drivers have taken the steps of adding special blind spot mirrors to reduce the risk of not seeing traffic that might otherwise be invisible in their rear-view or side mirrors. There is still a risk of being a victim of an inattentive driver who does not pay attention to other cars on the road or who may be distracted and not see a car because of their blind spots. When all drivers pay attention to the roadways, other drivers are safer.
Causes of Blind Spot Accidents
Blindspot accidents are preventable provided drivers are paying attention to the traffic around them. However, as many studies show, drivers are on the roadways intoxicated, they are traveling too fast for road conditions, and they may also be distracted on the roadways. Drivers who text, are focused on their GPS or are driving drowsy can all be responsible for an accident because they are not paying enough attention to vehicles which may be traveling on the roadways.
Blind Spot Accident Injuries
Victims of blind spot accidents may suffer a serious injury, particularly if the accident involves a large truck. Trucks have larger blind spots than cars. Operators of large trucks also are slower to respond to vehicles in the roadway since they need more time to stop or slow down. Whether your injuries are the result of a collision with a car or a truck, your injuries may be life-altering. Common injuries after a truck accident include:
- Internal bleeding – Frequently not immediately identifiable, internal bleeding can result in a broad range of long-range problems. Internal bleeding often results from blunt force trauma which occurs in all truck accidents. Over the long-term victims may learn they have internal organ damage or a brain injury after a truck accident.
- Crushing injuries – When your car is involved in an accident with a large truck, the potential for crushing injuries is greater than when the accident is with another car. The weight of a truck combined with the speed on a major highway can cause so much damage to your car that your legs or arms are crushed. As a result, you are likely to suffer broken bones that could require extensive surgical procedures depending on the severity of the injury.
- Spinal cord injuries – Back, neck and spinal cord injuries are common after an accident. Victims of blind spot accidents involving a truck often suffer trauma to their back and neck which can result in paralysis, long-term issues with mobility, and other issues including psychological issues.
Regardless of whether you are injured by a driver who is operating a car or truck, the level of injury you suffer can be serious and life-altering. Many victims of blind spot accidents are out of work for extended periods of time, require hospitalization, and are often in pain for weeks or months after an accident.
Costs Associated with Blind Spot Accidents
The emotional and physical toll an accident can take on a victim often pales in comparison to the actual out-of-pocket costs associated with any car accident. Victims are not only faced with making unexpected repairs to their vehicles, but they are also facing mounting medical bills, costs associated with the treatment of their injuries, and chances are, they are also unable to return to work immediately following an accident. As these costs mount up, families are facing financial uncertainty which often leads them to settle claims with their insurance company faster than they should. This is a bad idea because, after any accident in which a victim is injured, they should contact an experienced car accident attorney to determine what rights they have and what financial compensation they might recover if they file a car accident lawsuit.
Florida Car Accidents and No-Fault Insurance
Most drivers in Florida believe because of the no-fault insurance rules the only option available to them is filing a claim for financial recovery after a car accident with their own insurance company. This is not always the case since there are limits on most no-fault policies. No-fault policies are paid as a personal injury protection (PIP) claim. However, there are specific instances where victims are entitled to file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit.
Florida statutes state if your injuries are classified as a serious injury after a car accident, you can seek compensation outside of your own PIP coverage. Serious injury is further defined as an injury which results in significant disfigurement, limitations on your normal bodily functions, or a disability which lasts longer than 90 days. Therefore, anyone in a car or truck accident should quickly contact an experienced car injury lawyer for guidance. Your insurance company will not volunteer any information they feel will result in litigation or will result in your being owed a larger amount of money.
Florida Roadway Accident Statistics
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), more than 400,000 accidents occurred on Florida roadways during the year ending December 31, 2018. These accidents resulted in 3,150 deaths and nearly 255,000 injuries during the year. If you are a victim of a car accident, or you lost a loved one in a roadway accident, you may not know your rights, and you may also not be aware whether the accident could have been prevented had the driver causing the accident had paid more attention to the blind spot in their vehicle. Anyone impacted by a Florida car accident should seek immediate counsel from an experienced car accident lawyer so they understand their rights under Florida law.
Negligence as an Element of Blind Spot Accidents
Establishing negligence in a blind spot accident involves determining the location of the vehicles involved at the time of the accident. Drivers on Florida roadways owe a duty of care to others on the roadway and that means paying attention to other cars and taking a moment to look over their shoulder to see if a vehicle is in their blind spot. This may seem like common sense, but this does not always happen, as stated previously. Remember, negligence is a part of all personal injury lawsuits and blind spot accidents are no exception. Your Florida car accident attorney can review all the reports from the accident including police reports, witness reports, and your statement and help hold the responsible parties financially accountable.
Aggressive driving, impaired driving and deliberately ignoring rules of the road are all forms of negligence and drivers who cause car accidents resulting in serious injury must be held accountable for their actions. Some of the most serious injuries after a car accident can result in life-long disabilities and too often result in victims being out of work for months while they recover from their injuries. There are also those victims who are never able to return to their prior jobs, and families who are dealing with the loss of a loved one after an accident.
When you work with an experienced Florida car injury lawyer, you will be offered a free consultation where the attorney will take the time to review the facts of your case. The more information you can provide to a car accident lawyer about the accident, your injuries, and the financial losses you are facing as a result of the accident, the better. This will allow the attorney to establish whether a car accident lawsuit is viable under Florida statutes.
Once you and your car accident attorney determine there is enough cause to move forward, your attorney will have you sign documents which allow them to negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Should they be unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company then it is likely your car accident attorney will attempt mediation, arbitration, and if there is still not an ideal outcome, the final step will be litigation.
Victims of car accidents, including those who suffer an injury in a blind spot accident should carefully document as much information as possible and then contact an attorney who has experience handling Florida car accident cases. You should avoid answering questions about the accident posed by insurance adjusters until you have spoken with a lawyer so you do not inadvertently provide them with information that could be used against you in the future.
If you have questions following a Florida car accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer.