The Dangers of Florida Bridge Accidents

April 24, 2022
The Dangers of Florida Bridge Accidents

 Car Accidents on Bridges Put Drivers at Risk

Bridges are a critical part of Florida's infrastructure, allowing drivers to travel over our state's many waterways. However, car accidents that occur on bridges can carry the risk of serious injury or death to Florida drivers and their passengers.  Bridges confine drivers, limiting the space they have to dodge reckless motorists, wrecks, or road hazards. When a driver is injured because they were unable to safely navigate a dangerous situation brought on by a careless driver, they may be eligible to recover damages in a Florida personal injury lawsuit.

Securing Compensation for a Florida Bridge Accident

The government is obligated to keep bridges in good repair for motorists' safety, just as drivers have a duty to one another to operate their vehicles with caution and respect for the rules of the road. When they fail to fulfill their end of the bargain, it can end in injuries ranging from whiplash to broken bones or a spinal cord injury entailing an extensive recovery. If lacking maintenance practices or another driver's negligence caused your bridge accident, you should seek out a skilled car accident attorney to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.  In a personal injury lawsuit, you may be eligible to recover damages for medical bills, car repairs, lost earnings, and other associated costs.

Negligent Driving Behavior Threatens Bridge Safety

Florida is home to about 12,355 bridges that span numerous rivers, allowing residents to reduce lengthy commutes, transport goods across land, and connect communities. However, the negligent actions of distracted, aggressive, or impaired drivers can make bridges the site of a disaster.  When a driver is distracted by a text, a conversation, or a wreck, they can drift to one side of a lane and hit another vehicle or even a pedestrian, or force a vehicle into the guardrail. Drunk drivers can also be a menace on bridges, as their compromised visual and cognitive skills may inhibit them from safely navigating narrow lanes and cramped traffic patterns.

Recent Florida Bridge Accident Raises Concerns

Several Fort Myers motorists sustained injuries after a high-speed chase on the Edison Bridge. One car rolled over into the river while the other veered into oncoming traffic, colliding with a pole and bursting into flames. One driver remains in critical condition while other passengers suffered serious injuries. Recently, Florida's bridges have seen collisions that show the inherent dangers of bridge accidents when combined with reckless driving. Bridge accidents can often result in multi-car pile-ups like this one, which can make determining liability complicated. A qualified car accident lawyer will be able to advise you on how to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek damages from the negligent party.

Bridge Design Can Negatively Affect Driver Behavior

The crux of the issue is that many bridge shoulders offer minimal space for drivers to prevent collisions. When a collision does occur, there may be a limited area for other drivers to maneuver around the wreckage or for emergency personnel to work safely, leading to an even larger accident scene.  The negligence of another driver may have resulted in significant financial burdens, but in many cases, you don't have to suffer the costs in silence. If you've been injured in a car accident on a bridge due to negligent conditions, you should consult a personal injury lawyer to explore your compensation options if your damages extend beyond your Personal Injury Protection coverage

Overly Cautious Drivers May Cause Serious Bridge Accidents

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) notes that driver behavior is impacted by the presence of bridges, especially narrow ones. Out of caution, drivers may dramatically slow down to anticipate bridges, causing rear-end car accidents Drivers may also side-swipe cars passing in the other direction if they favor the center of the lane, or collide with the bridge barriers because they were hugging the shoulder. This type of collision may also occur when a well-intentioned driver attempts to give pedestrians or bicyclists a buffer to compensate for a small shoulder.  Unfortunately, a driver's attempt to be cautious may ultimately lead to a bridge accident. Their insurance company may try to reduce the value of your settlement, which is why it is best to hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to demand the damages you deserve.

Poor Weather Can Increase the Risk of Bridge Accidents

Like any road, Florida bridges are susceptible to flooding and wind gusts that can sway or overturn vehicles. Not only can this block traffic, but the slippery pavement conditions and lowered visibility may also contribute to a serious bridge accident, especially if a large truck is involved.

Strong Winds Are a Hazard on Florida Bridges

Although cars are much lighter than semi-trucks, the real danger is that semi-trucks with a larger frame and higher center of gravity are toppled or blown into the next lane on a bridge, hitting other vehicles.  Bridges crossing open water offer no obstacles to break the wind, and large trucks are the perfect target. According to experienced truckers, it only takes 60mph winds to overturn a semi-truck, especially if it's empty. That's not even at the level of a Catagory 1 hurricane, which is characterized by 74 to 95mph winds. A truck accident caused by wind can leave a trail of injuries or even deaths in its wake due to the crushing weight of the truck itself. To recover damages that encompass the full scope of your injuries and losses, contact a truck accident lawyer who is well-versed in the intricacies of settlements involving weather-related semi-truck accidents.

Poor Road Maintenance Can Lead to Dangerous Bridge Accidents

According to ARTBA's most recent report, over 1,000 Florida bridges need to be repaired or replaced, including 459 that have been labeled as structurally deficient. While a pothole or damaged guardrail can be harmful on a normal road, it can be deadly in a bridge accident. A bad pothole can blow out a vehicle's tire, leading it to swerve into oncoming bridge traffic or into the bridge's concrete walls or guardrails. Other drivers have nowhere to go, and impatient ones may resort to driving into oncoming traffic to circumvent the accident, increasing the risk of a head-on collision. With Florida's frequent rainstorms, an ineffective bridge drainage system and missing guardrail are also valid concerns. Standing or moving water can stall or wash away cars, leaving the government and its contractors liable in a road maintenance lawsuit for failing to design or install proper drains and protective railing. 

Careless Drivers May Be Liable in a Car Accident Lawsuit

Following a serious bridge accident, you may be unsure as to where to place blame, especially if multiple factors caused a crash. A distracted driver, a poorly maintained road, or defective car part may all be culprits. However, in a personal injury case, an attorney will pursue the party or parties whose negligence can be shown to be a breach of duty that clearly led to your injuries.  Special damages will compensate you for things like car repairs, hospital bills, physical therapy, and lost earning potential if your injuries stunt your career, but insurance companies may be hesitant to pay your settlement claim. A personal injury lawyer will review the facts and determine which party's negligence contributed to your injuries and confront the insurance company to pursue damages.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me in a Car Accident Claim?

Bridge accidents can prove destructive both financially and physically. Car repairs can be expensive, especially for water damage or crush damage. Injuries sustained in the crash may require a long hospital stay and months of rehab yet still create permanent deficits. A personal injury lawyer is most suitable to link another party's negligence to your bridge accident costs. At Dolman Law Group, we will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of your accident and work tirelessly to recover damages from the negligent party, or more likely their insurance company

Dolman Law Group Can Help You Deal With the Insurance Company

What many prospective clients don't realize is that they should have a professional on their side when dealing with insurance companies- even their own. Insurance companies can sometimes be difficult when it comes to getting the compensation you are owed. It is their intention to pay you as little as they can get away with.  As personal injury lawyers, we are experienced when it comes to reviewing insurance policies and negotiating settlements to ensure you get the maximum amount of damages you are entitled to. With Dolman Law Group, you can feel confident in our comprehensive services.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Car Accident Lawsuit

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident on a bridge, there is no need to try and handle a lawsuit by yourself. At Dolman Law Group, we believe that each client is deserving of our dedicated attention and tenacious advocacy as we pursue damages on their behalf, and we have a record of legal victories to back it up. We understand how frustrating it can be when an insurance company is unwilling to pay for legitimate expenses or when a large settlement mill disregards your needs in favor of a quick payout. At Dolman Law, we have a list of references who will speak to our commitment to recovering damages that account for your current and future needs.  At Dolman Law, you can depend on us to support you from the first free consultation throughout the personal injury claims process. Contact us at (833) 55-CRASH for auto accidents. You can also send us an email on our contact us page.

Matthew Dolman

Clearwater Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess or $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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