Whether you are exploring Jacksonville, Miami or the Florida Keys, you will always have plenty to explore on the roads of Florida. The highways of the Sunshine State are used by at least 14 million drivers who average approximately 10,000 miles each year. With all the drivers using the roads in this growing state, there are thousands of accidents annually. If you plan to live in Florida or visit, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations if you are ever in a car accident.
Statistics and Notable Lawsuits
The state of Florida has a growing population, and with that comes more car accidents. Texting and driving has become a serious problem on Florida roads, and the high number of retired drivers on Florida roads also leads to more car accidents. Below are car accident statistics for Florida from 2013:
- 768 drivers or passengers died in car accidents in Florida in 2013, which accounted for 33% of all the accidental deaths in the state that year.
- 427 people died in accidents involving an SUV or pickup truck.
- 22 big rig occupants were killed in Florida accidents in 2013, accounting for one percent of all traffic deaths that year.
- There were 501 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles in 2013.
- Pedestrian deaths were 21% of the total deaths caused by car crashes in 2013.
- A total of 2407 people died in auto accidents that year.
- 127 of the fatalities in Florida on highways in 2013 were in the 45 MPH range.
- Drivers from 15 to 19 were involved in the most car accidents in 2013 than any other age group. Drivers from 20 to 24 had the most DUI accidents.
- For 2017, there were 389,525 reported crashes in Florida with 161,800 injuries and 2913 deaths.
The National Safety Council has reported a 43% increase in traffic deaths in the Sunshine State between 2014 and 2016. Also, Miami-Dade County crash data shows that over a six-year period, one out of six crashes in the state were in the Miami metro area. NSC experts believe the increase in crashes fatalities is because of higher traffic levels on the roads. It is believed that the improved economy has led to a drop in unemployment and lower gas prices. These factors are causing more people to drive and get in more accidents.
A major wrongful death lawsuit that made the news in recent months was the suit filed against Venus Williams by the family of a 78-year-old man who was killed in a car accident in which the tennis star was said by police to have been at fault. The police report stated that Williams violated the right of way of another driver. Williams argued she had to stop in the middle of an intersection because of traffic and did not see the man’s car that she T-boned. The family is seeking damages of at least $15,000 and possibly much more.
Florida Negligence Laws
If you are in a car accident in Florida and another driver is negligent, you can sue for your personal and property damages. However, Florida has a comparative negligence standard. This means if you are partially at fault in the accident where you suffered personal or property damages, your potential damages recovery will be reduced according to your percentage of fault for the accident. For example, if you are 25% responsible for an accident with $10,000 in damages, you would only be able to collect $7500 in compensation.
Car Insurance Requirements in Florida
You are required in Florida to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. If you do not do so, you could be fined and even put in jail. Note that Florida is a fault state. This means your own insurance policy will pay for your personal injury and property damages up to a certain amount, no matter who caused the accident. Under a no-fault liability system, you lose some rights to sue for damages. The minimum auto insurance required in this state is:
- $10,000 bodily injury per person for each accident
- $20,000 bodily injury for every person for each accident
- $10,000 in property damage liability
- $10,000 for personal injury protection
However, a bill in the Florida legislature would end the requirement for personal injury protection. This is because Florida pays some of the highest auto insurance rates in the US, with PIP being a big reason for it.
Other Florida Driving Laws
Below are some of the recent additional driving laws in Florida:
- Red light cameras are allowed in Florida. But according to a 2013 law, you have up to 60 days to pay the traffic ticket. There is an easier process to challenge the ticket, as well, but if you lose, you will need to pay fines and court costs up to $250.
- No driver may text and drive with a cell phone. If you are pulled over for another violation and were seen texting, you can be fined as a secondary offense only. You also may be ticketed for texting and driving if you are in an accident.
- Left land drivers may not go more than 10 MP under the speed limit if they know they are slowing down a driver behind them.
- Drivers can flash their lights to alert oncoming drivers of a speed trap but use caution as some state lawyers believe you still could receive a ticket.
Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Florida
You have four years of the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit for your accident injuries. The same limit applies to file a lawsuit for personal property damage. But the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is only two years from the death of your loved one. For that reason, it is very important to file the lawsuit for wrongful death as soon as possible after the death of the loved one.
Florida Accident Resources
After a Florida car accident, you will probably be upset and under a lot of stress. We want to help you to deal with this unpleasant situation with the following Florida car accident resources:
- What is your car accident claim worth? Check our handy tools at Lawsuit Info Center today.
- According to Florida Statute 316.066, you need to file a police report if there is $500 in property damage, death or serious injury, a commercial vehicle involved, or a tow truck necessary to remove one or more of the vehicles from the crash scene.
- If you need to request a copy of a Florida traffic trash report, you can do so here.