Some car accidents are dramatic in nature. They may involve multiple vehicles, speeding or running a red light. However, others occur in much more mundane ways. For example, some accidents happen because a driver doesn’t maintain their lane or they change lanes when it’s not safe to do so. If you were injured in such a crash, you may be wondering about your options.
Rest assured that Florida’s traffic laws require motorists to maintain their lanes and only change if they can do so safely. A driver who is driving on a road with marked lanes simply must stay in one lane for the safety of other road users. When they want to change lanes, they must check to make sure that no other vehicles are approaching or passing either in their lane or the one they want to switch to.
Then, they must make the switch without impeding any other vehicle coming in the same direction. When a driver doesn’t switch lanes safely or they drift in and out of their lane because of impairment or distraction, accidents are likely to occur. When they do, the driver can be liable for the injuries and other damages they cause. To improve your chances of getting fair compensation following a crash, you’ll need to hire a Lakeland car accident lawyer.
Holding a Motorist Liable for a Car Crash in Lakeland, FL
If a driver breaks Florida’s traffic laws, this may indicate negligence, thereby giving you grounds for a personal injury case. Negligence refers to a motorist’s failure to demonstrate the level of care that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. If you can prove that the driver was negligent and that their negligence caused your injuries, you may be able to recover damages. The burden of proof lies with you. You must present evidence that:
- The driver had a duty to demonstrate reasonable care
- They breached this duty
- The breach led to your injuries and damages
If the driver was impaired because of drugs or alcohol, they may be guilty of negligence per se. This refers to when an action is deemed negligent because it violates a regulation or statute. Since driving while under the influence is a crime, a drunk or drugged driver is considered negligent. Of course, you will need to be able to prove the individual was impaired. If they were arrested or cited, you’ll have the proof you need.
Damages You Can Claim Following Your Car Accident
If you can prove the driver was liable for your injuries, you can seek compensation for your losses. However, you must file your lawsuit within four years of the accident. Florida has one of the longest statutes of limitations in the country but you should still contact a lawyer at the earliest opportunity. In most states, victims only have two or three years within which to take legal action. Common types of damages resulting from car accidents include medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and lost earning capacity.
Relatives of victims who pass away as a result of their injuries can also seek compensation via a wrongful death claim. They may be able to recover damages for medical expenses leading up to death, loss of support and services, and loss of compensation. Wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the victim’s passing.
Getting Compensation When You’re Partially at Fault
The other driver or their insurer may try to blame you for the accident. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, they may have a point. Very often, two or more parties share responsibility for a collision. You may be worried that you won’t be able to get compensation if you were partly responsible.
Some states bar individuals from recovering damages if they contributed to an accident in any way. Fortunately, this isn’t the case in Florida which is a comparative fault state. You can claim damages even if you were partially responsible. However, the amount you get will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Let Burnetti P.A. Represent You
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, there’s no need to try to navigate the claims process alone. Contact a Lakeland auto accident attorney and set up a free consultation. We have handled several types of car accident cases and we have the knowledge and skills to help you. If you hire us, we will do everything we can to help you get fair compensation. Call us today!