Recent statistics show how many car accidents occur in Jacksonville, revealing that the city is one of Florida’s most dangerous when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. Many accidents result from reckless and negligent driving, with drivers engaging in behaviors such as speeding and drunk driving. As statistics show, many accidents in Jacksonville are also fatal.
Here you’ll learn more about the crash data and some of the reasons why Jacksonville experiences many such accidents.
Car Accidents in Jacksonville
Recent data from the Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles Department (FLHSMV) concluded the Jacksonville area saw 24,351 crashes in one recent year.
The FLHSMV data also broke down each accident type into these categories:
- 10,571 injury crashes
- 288 bicycle crashes
- 484 motorcycle crashes
- 527 pedestrian crashes
- 7,639 hit-and-run crashes
Many of the accidents in Jacksonville are also fatal, with the FLHSMV crash report finding 157 crash fatalities last year.
Over five years, there have been an average of about 23,537 accidents each year and an annual average of around 167 accident fatalities. Figures like these illustrate how dangerous the Jacksonville area is for motorists and pedestrians.
Why Do Car Accidents Occur in Jacksonville?
There are many potential causes of car accidents in Jacksonville. One is the danger of certain intersections and roadways across the city.
According to News4JAX and an I-TEAM analysis, Beach Boulevard and St. Johns Bluff is Jacksonville’s most dangerous intersection. Often, accidents at this intersection result from negligent drivers who speed through the lights and fail to pay attention while driving.
Some of the other dangerous intersections in and around Jacksonville include:
- Beach Boulevard and Southside Boulevard
- Beach Boulevard and University Boulevard
- Beach Boulevard and Hodges Boulevard
- Baymeadows Road and Phillips Highway
- Atlantic Boulevard and Hodges Boulevard
- Atlantic Boulevard and Southside Boulevard
- Philips Highway and University Boulevard
- Philips Highway and Emerson Street
In addition, there are many specific causes of accidents that can cause serious injuries and fatalities in Jacksonville, such as:
One of the leading causes of car accidents is distracted driving. Drivers can experience many types of distractions while driving, including talking or texting on phones, eating or drinking, looking away from the road at visual distractions outside the vehicle, speaking with passengers, or engaging with dials and buttons on the dashboard. Even distractions lasting no more than a couple of seconds can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and get into an accident.
The risks of distracted driving make it essential for drivers to remain focused on the road at all times while behind the wheel.
Another common cause of car accidents in Jacksonville and other cities is speeding. In fact, every year, over half of the roughly five million car accidents in the U.S. result from aggressive driving, with speeding the most common form of aggressive driving.
While many people speed at times while driving to get to their destination faster, doing so puts them and others in danger. The faster people speed, the less time they have to react, increasing the risk of a serious accident. Speeding accidents are also frequently among the most severe because of the force of impact of speeding vehicles.
Accidents may also result from various forms of reckless driving. In many cases, drivers behave recklessly out of anger and frustration, leading to dangerous decisions that increase the risk of accidents. Some examples of reckless driving include excessive speeding, swerving in and out of lanes, cutting off other drivers, and tailgating. If you observe reckless driving behavior on the road, it’s best to give the offending vehicle ample space and, if possible, report it to authorities.
Drivers may also get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk or impaired by other substances. Impaired driving has many risks, as drivers experience slower reaction times and poor judgment. They cannot act fast enough or make the right decisions to keep themselves and others safe, and they may also engage in reckless and aggressive driving. Impaired individuals should never operate a vehicle. They should seek a ride or wait until they’re sober to drive.
Running Through Stop Signs and Red Lights
Some drivers may cause accidents by running through red traffic lights and stop signs at intersections, often while in a hurry. This behavior puts many motorists and pedestrians at risk, as others have the right of way and won’t expect a vehicle to enter their path of travel. Drivers must always stop at stop signs and red lights to minimize the risk of accidents.
Sometimes inclement weather can cause or contribute to accidents. In Florida, heavy rains and windy conditions could increase the risk of accidents, requiring drivers to either slow down or pull off the road until the weather improves. Heavy rains could make the roads slippery and decrease visibility for drivers, while high winds could make it harder to maneuver certain vehicles. Slow down and drive cautiously in bad weather or wait until it passes.
Poor Road Conditions
Various government agencies must maintain safe roadways for all drivers. Failure to do so could increase the risk of developing potholes, cracks, and other issues that can easily cause accidents. Drivers may not see these defects on the road and avoid them in time, leading to tire blowouts, rollovers, and other types of accidents.
In addition to government agencies, maintenance crews, and other road workers may contribute to dangerous roadways by leaving equipment in place after completing work or failing to put up signage warning motorists.
Vehicle Design or Manufacturing Defects
Vehicle or parts manufacturers may also be liable for car accidents if defective products cause an accident. For instance, a vehicle manufacturer may be responsible for installing low-quality, unreliable brakes that fail to stop a vehicle in time to avoid an accident. In this case, accident victims may file a claim or lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Recovering Compensation for a Car Accident in Jacksonville
If a car accident in Jacksonville causes you injuries and other damages, you may recover compensation through the at-fault party’s insurance company. While you may want to file an insurance claim with your own insurer, you may not get the total compensation you deserve. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may file a third-party insurance claim against the liable party to cover losses beyond your own policy coverage.
You may also have the option of filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver or other liable parties if you cannot recover full compensation through a claim. An experienced car accident lawyer may file a lawsuit and build a case if necessary.
There are many types of damages that you may recover following a car accident in Jacksonville. These can include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages, depending on the severity of your injuries and the nature of the case.
Also known as special damages, economic damages are the financial losses resulting from a car accident. These can include medical bills, lost income resulting from time taken off from work to recover, property damage, and other expenses. They’re often easy to calculate with the help of an attorney and the proper documentation.
In addition to economic damages, you may recover certain types of non-economic or general damages. While economic damages come with price tags, non-economic damages are less tangible and relate to the victim’s personal experience after an accident. These damages may include pain and suffering, psychological distress, trauma, disfigurement, and loss of consortium because of the victim’s injuries.
Some accident victims recover punitive damages. While economic and non-economic damages help victims recover financially from an accident, the courts award punitive damages to punish defendants. If defendants acted with gross negligence or malicious intent, a jury or judge might award punitive damages to make an example of the defendant and deter similarly egregious behavior. However, cases rarely qualify for these damages, and only the courts can award them.
What to Do Following a Jacksonville Car Accident
In the event of a car accident in Jacksonville or another city, there are some steps you can take to protect your rights and start building a case. The first step to take is to seek medical treatment from a professional, after which you should do the following:
Gather Evidence to Support a Claim or Lawsuit
Whether you decide to file a claim or lawsuit against the liable party after an accident, you must gather sufficient evidence to support your case. Many types of evidence can come into play in a Jacksonville car accident case.
Here are some of the documents and evidence you or your lawyer can obtain to sue in your case:
- Medical records, bills, and receipts
- Police reports
- Repair bills
- Photos or video footage of the accident scene and injuries
- Witness statements
- Personal notes detailing the recovery process and the accident
- Communications with insurance companies
If you are unable to access any of this evidence, you may get help from an attorney. A lawyer with experience handling accident cases can reach out to medical professionals, police, and others to get all the evidence needed to build a successful claim or lawsuit.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
Another crucial step is continuing treatment according to your doctor’s plan. Doing so will help ensure you continue to recover and generate medical records proving the extent of your injuries. However, you might find that your treatment plan isn’t working or is, in fact, making things more difficult for you.
If you’re unhappy or dissatisfied with your current treatment plan, speak with your doctor to discuss an alternative before making any changes. They may work with you to develop a more effective care plan that works for you.
Don’t Wait Too Long to File a Claim
If you have a viable car accident case, you should file a claim or lawsuit as soon as possible to avoid the statute of limitations expiring. If you don’t file in time, passing the statute of limitations can make it impossible to recover compensation. In Florida, the statute of limitations for car accidents gives you two years from the accident to file a lawsuit.
Consult a Car Accident Attorney
Before you file a claim or suit, you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. In a free case evaluation, an attorney can speak with you and review the facts of your case. They can then inform you of the options available to you for pursuing compensation. If the attorney decides to represent you, they can help file a claim, negotiate with insurers, or file a lawsuit against the liable parties. You may also work with this lawyer to gather as much evidence as possible to support your case.
How You Can Benefit From Working With a Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one get into an accident and decide to file a claim or lawsuit, you may struggle to build a case on your own, especially while recovering medically. You may also make detrimental statements to insurers or be unable to collect the evidence you need to build your case.
To give you the chance to get the total compensation you deserve, contact an experienced car accident attorney. The right Jacksonville car accident attorney will let you know what steps you can take to make a full financial recovery while giving you time to focus on your physical well being and spending time with your loved ones.