Side Impact Car Accidents
A side impact car accident in Tampa can be very serious. The side of a car doesn’t offer the same protection that a vehicle has in the front and the back. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, side-impact crashes cause approximately 25 percent of all traffic accident deaths. When you’re hurt in a side-impact car accident, it’s important to understand the implications of the crash.
If you or a loved one has suffered in a side-impact car accident, due to the negligence of another, please call our car accident attorneys at 800-538-4878 for a free case evaluation, with no obligation.
How do side-impact car accidents occur?
Side impact car accidents can occur when a driver fails to yield the right of way. When a driver tries to make a right or left turn when they’re at a red light, an oncoming driver can hit the vehicle that’s improperly traveling through the intersection. In addition, when a driver has a yellow light but fails to yield to oncoming traffic, a side-impact crash can occur.
On the other hand, when a driver with a green light begins to turn and an oncoming driver runs a red light, that can also cause a side-impact crash. In addition, when a driver tries to change lanes where there isn’t room to safely execute the lane change, this can also cause a side-impact crash. Furthermore, reckless and careless driving may result in a crash with side damage.
How do you prove fault for a side impact accident?
A side-impact crash doesn’t necessarily tell the story of who’s at fault for the crash. For example, consider when a crash occurs at an intersection. The crash may be the fault of the person who tries to execute a turn when they don’t have the right of way. On the other hand, the crash may result because the driver traveling straight fails to stop at a red light.
Because the damage to the vehicles doesn’t necessarily answer the question of how the accident occurred and who violated a traffic law, it may be important to carefully build your case. Witness testimony may be very important. It may help to gather names of witnesses at the scene. If you’re physically incapacitated at the scene, you can ask for a copy of the crash report from the Florida Highway Patrol. The report may have a list of witnesses.
When you build the evidence in your case, it’s important to keep the Florida Evidence Code in mind. According to the Florida Evidence Code, you can admit all evidence that’s relevant unless a rule prohibits it. However, there are special rules for what witnesses can talk about and how to admit pieces of evidence. When you build your case, it’s important that you consider the rules for formally admitting the evidence in court.
Can I recover from the responsible party?
When you have permanent injuries, you can recover from the other driver if they’re at fault for the crash. Recover includes both economic damages, like medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish. Florida law 627.737 outlines the rules for bringing a claim against the responsible driver. You can bring a claim against the other driver if any of the following apply to you:
- Permanent scarring
- Losing the use of an important bodily function for the rest of your life
- Permanent injuries.
- Significant disfigurement
Even in the case of non-permanent injuries, you may be permitted to assert a claim against the at-fault party for any and all unpaid economic damages.
If your side-impact car accident results in any of these injuries, you can bring a traditional personal injury claim. The case proceeds much like any other personal injury case in the State of Florida.
What is comparative negligence and how does that apply to the case?
The crash may be partially your fault. If this is the case, you may still have a claim under Florida law. Under Florida law 768.81, Florida uses a system to apportion fault between everyone whose actions contribute to the crash. This system is called comparative negligence.
Florida is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found to be no more than 50% at fault for the accident, your recovery is reduced by the same proportion as your percentage of fault. As an example, if you are found to be 20% at fault in an accident, you may still recover 80% of your damages in a lawsuit. If, however, your percentage of fault is found to be more than 50%, you are barred from any recovery under the law.
There may also be criminal penalties
In addition to a personal injury claim or recovery from no-fault insurance, criminal charges against the at-fault driver may also be a possibility. Criminal charges might be reckless driving, drunk driving, or even assault with a dangerous weapon. The state’s prosecutor decides whether to file criminal charges in the case. If the state pursues criminal charges in the case, Florida’s Victim’s Rights Laws give you the opportunity to participate in the case and pursue restitution through the criminal court. Even though restitution may help you with your out-of-pocket losses, there are additional damages available to you through a civil proceeding.
What should I do if I’m hurt because of a side impact car accident?
If you’re hurt because of a side-impact car accident, summon the police and medical attention. Medical attention is the first step for creating a record that you got hurt and for developing a prognosis for your injuries. It’s important to preserve the evidence that’s available and evaluate it to determine how to best build your case. Florida law provides for quick recovery from your own insurance for most cases. You can seek a thorough recovery of your many losses through traditional litigation if you’re permanently injured as a result of a side-impact crash.
Contact the Florida accident lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk if you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another. Our attorneys provide a free no-obligation case evaluation – call +1-800-538-4878