Margate Car Accident Lawyer
Margate was initially established in the early 1950's and is located about twelve miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale in South Florida. Margate currently has a population of approximately 50,000 and continues to expand rapidly. With its steady growth into a busy district, car accidents are occurring with greater frequency in Margate. Margate enjoys very low injury and fatality rates caused by car crashes, being ranked 91 out of 94 Florida cities with populations ranging between 15,000 to 74,999 according to the Florida Department of Transportation's 2016 Safety Plan. If you sustained losses and injuries due to a car collision in Margate or anywhere in South Florida, Englander Peebles is here to assist you with obtaining the compensation that you rightfully deserve.Vehicle Accidents in Margate and Broward County in General
Florida's transportation department reports that Broward County incurred 34,833 vehicle collision in 2014, and 482 of which took place in Margate. Alcohol use was a factor in 22 of those accidents in Margate. Broward County observed an increase in the total number of vehicle collisions between 2013, with 32,595 crashes, and 2014, with 34,833 accidents. Additionally, the number of injuries from vehicle collisions increased from 21,580 crashes in 2013 to 22,154 accidents in 2014. In spite of this growth, the number of deaths has decreased. Specifically, the state transportation department indicates that there were 180 fatalities from traffic accidents in 2013, but there were only 173 deaths in 2014.
Vehicle collisions have been observed with frequency in Florida, and there are several possible causes. The first possible cause is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This risky behavior includes the use of prescription drugs that have the potential to impact one's ability to operate a vehicle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that Florida had reported 8,476 fatalities in drunk driving collisions between 2003 and 2012. The rate of fatalities in 2012 for individuals between 21 and 34 years old who were driving drunk was 8 out of 100,000. This rate in Florida is higher than the nationally reported rate of 6.7 fatalities for every 100,000 individuals.
Another common reason observed by Florida officials, including Margate, is speeding. Speeding takes place when a driver operates a vehicle above the posted speed limit, and may also take into account when a driver fails to consider current road conditions when setting the speed of a vehicle. Distracted driving is also becoming a very common cause of vehicle collisions in Florida, and the most often-cited distraction is the individual use of smartphones and other mobile devices. Recently, the Florida legislature enacted a statute that prohibits persons from operating motor vehicles while operating a smartphone, cell phone, or another device in which the driver is entering numbers, symbols, letters, or other characters. The state prohibits activities during drive times such as emailing, instant messaging, or texting while driving.Typical Kinds of Vehicle Crashes
The U.S. Department of Transportation indicates that 29,989 fatal vehicle accidents occurred in the country in 2014, which then brought about 32,675 deaths. These accidents are the equivalent of around 10.2 fatalities for every 100,000 people and close to 1.08 deaths for every 100 million miles that cars traveled. Out of the total number of deaths, 12,507 fatalities were drivers, which is around 38 percent of the total amount of fatalities in 2014. In Florida specifically, there were 791 automobile fatalities in the same year, which is 32 percent of the total number of motor vehicle collision deaths in the state.
- Head-on Car Crashes
A head-on car crash is probably the most dangerous of all the various kinds of collisions. Although these accidents merely make up 2 percent of all collisions annually, they account for over 10 percent of car accident fatalities. These crashes may be catastrophic for vehicle occupants even if they occur at slow speeds. Survivors of head-on crashes often bear extremely high costs for treatment, prescription medicine, necessary therapy, extended hospitalization, days or months of lost wages, and depending on the severity of the injuries, permanent disabilities.
There are various ways that driver failure may result in deadly head-on crashes. For example, driver fatigue and drowsiness may impair sleep-deprived workers such as long-haul big rig truckers and other night shift employees. Driver fatigue also increases the likelihood that a driver will end up asleep behind the wheel or operate a car with very diminished reflexes. Distracted driving may also cause the driver to veer his or her vehicle into oncoming traffic. Finally, certain elderly drivers may start experiencing slower reflexes or ultimately become unable to drive in general. Accidents involving older drivers may include driving the wrong direction on busy roadways, leaving highways on the entrance ramps instead of the exit ramps, or otherwise becoming confused while operating a vehicle and thus colliding with another car.
- Vehicle Rollover Accidents
A vehicle rollover accident is a very dangerous occurrence. Rollovers account for approximately 3 percent of all severe vehicle accidents but account for over 30 percent of accident fatalities. Rollovers need not be extremely deadly occurrences with the right measures. Certain cars have installed rollover-avoidance functionalities or use greatly improved vehicle design with enhanced safety features. Finally, the simple use of seat belts may limit the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by rollover accidents.
The right set of circumstances at the right time can cause any vehicle can rollover. There are certain taller, narrower, vehicles such as minivans, sports utility vehicles or SUVs, and pick-up trucks that are more prone to rollover accidents because they have a higher center of gravity and are more top-heavy than other vehicles. In the instance that such at-risk vehicles go around a curve, lateral forces can cause the car to shift its center of gravity out to the side, which then greatly impacts that car's balance.
A vehicle may also trip on an object on the road such as a pothole, a soft road shoulder, or a curb. A disproportionate number of rollover accidents result from a vehicle tripping the objects above. When a car leans to the side in a way that deforms the walls of its tires, and the rim of the wheel subsequently strikes the pavement, the whole vehicle can tip to the side which can then cause a rollover.
Another possible cause for rollover accidents are defects in the vehicle. When tires blowout or other similar defects surface, it can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle, thereby causing a rollover accident. Furthermore, as discussed above, there are particular kinds of vehicles that have a higher likelihood of a rolling over because of their center of gravity. These kinds of tall, narrow vehicles must have adequate roll bars or roll cages that keep the roof from collapsing if a rollover accident occurs. Without these safety features and others, pick-up trucks, SUVs, and mini-vans, rollover incidents may cause even more severe (or fatal) injuries for passengers. Finally, if a malfunction causes side airbags not to deploy during a rollover accident, passengers would become more prone to injuries than they normally would be.
- Rear-end Vehicle Collisions
Each year, there are approximately 6 million vehicle crashes in the United States. Of those collisions, 2.5 million are rear-ended accidents. Every driver has a legal obligation to others with whom they share roads with to drive in a reasonably safe and prudent manner. This duty means that drivers must follow local traffic laws, drive carefully, maintain a proper eye out for oncoming vehicle traffic and pedestrians, and to maintain their cars properly. When a driver fails to fulfill the duty of care, that driver is considered negligent.
There are several possible causes of rear-end collisions. Tailgating is a frequent cause of rear-end collisions. When a driver decides to be unreasonable and tailgates the vehicle in front of it, the tailgating driver will likely be unable to respond in time if the vehicle in front has to stop suddenly.
Aside from the often-cited smartphone, other driving distractions may include the appearance of orange-vested construction workers or commercial vehicles that suddenly veer into traffic, which causes unexpected stops for other vehicles. Additionally, police cars can cause major distractions for other drivers, as well as when an officer stops a car on the side of the road.
- Side-impact or T-Bone Collisions
The National Safety Council reported that side-impact collisions rank second next to head-on crashes in the frequency of fatalities and serious injuries that result from such crashes each year. During a side-impact accident, one vehicle collides into another in a perpendicular fashion. The human body then has no time to accommodate the sudden force of the side-impact crash, which causes it to snap suddenly like a whip. The force of the collision jars the driver abruptly from one side to the other and then back and forth. The human body was built to withstand a limited amount of force, and if such a collision takes place with enough force, it can result in minor to severe injuries and even fatal injuries.
T-bone crashes may also cause a vehicle to collide with other cars and large stationary objects nearby. The car, because of a side-impact collision, may end up hitting concrete lane dividers, trees, bridge abutments, etc. because of a side-impact crash. Such a crash, if it is strong enough, may also cause a rollover accident. There are other potential causes for side-impact crashes as described below.
Those drivers present in turning lanes must ensure that it is safe to turn before initiating any maneuvers. Drivers must exercise reasonable care and watch for any oncoming traffic when executing a right-hand turn at an intersection. Drivers often find it difficult to see cars coming from the side. Additionally, a driver places himself or herself at a higher risk of a side-impact collision by engaging in a rolling stop before a stop sign or refuse to come to a complete stop at all. Sometimes, a rolling stop takes place during inclement weather because the driver is unable to see any stop signs coming up ahead. When a driver fails to obey a red light and runs through it, or accelerates his or her vehicle to try to beat the red light, the force of the side impact crash can be so high so as to be fatal.
Finally, any failure in a vehicle's functions or mechanisms can cause an accident, especially if such breakdown occurs mid-traffic. This risk also applies to side-impact collisions. For example, if a vehicle's braking or steering wheel fails, the driver of that vehicle will be unable to stop and may collide with the side of another car when entering another intersection in light of oncoming traffic.
- Multi-vehicle crashes
According to the federal government, a vehicle crash occurs once every minute, which amounts to almost six million accidents per year. A third of these accidents involves multi-vehicle crashes or pile-ups. Multi-vehicle crashes are notoriously more deadly than crashes involving two vehicles for obvious reasons, and can also result in more severe injuries for passengers. In such collisions, multiple vehicles may hit one car several times from various directions. With each car involved, a greater amount of broken glass and bent steel becomes part of the accident scene. Even if a passenger can leave the vehicle, which is usually not the case because they are stuck between the vehicles that collided with them, they are usually in shock because of the sheer force of multiple collisions and may not be fully aware of oncoming traffic, making them prone to further accidents. Multi-vehicle accidents may also cause extended roadway blockages, which makes it more difficult for emergency rescue vehicles to arrive at the scene of the accident.
Determining liability in a multi-vehicle accident may be a very complex exercise with many nuanced legal issues. All the drivers involved were required to exercise reasonable care. Failing to exercise this required level of care is the definition of negligence depending on the circumstances. If such negligent actions become the direct cause of another person's injuries, then the injured individual can hold the other driver liable and get the compensation that he or she deserves. However, in multi-vehicle accidents, the task of identifying the liable party or parties is exponentially more difficult. Investigators must closely examine the evidence to determine if one or more parties broke any traffic laws, was tailgating, or was distracted by using a smartphone. With the possibility of multiple liable parties, these kinds of accidents may need to go to trial because of the sheer complexity of the claims.
- Semi-trucks or big rig accidents
The U.S. Department of Transportation indicates that most deaths in semi-truck crashes involve those in passenger vehicles. The main issue regarding this is that people traveling in passenger vehicles are often more vulnerable in semi-truck accidents. In fact, semi-trucks are often dozens of times heavier than passenger cars and have more ground clearance, which can cause fatal underride when passenger vehicles collide with semi-trucks.
The health of a semi-truck's brakes may also be an issue. Overloaded semi-trucks will likely need a lot of time to come to a complete stop, which is even more so on slippery roads or if the truck's braking mechanisms have been poorly maintained. Another well-known risk factor for truck crashes is driver fatigue. Large semi-truck drivers are allowed by federal regulations to drive only a certain amount of hours each day and week. Nevertheless, some semi-truck drivers violate these hours-of-service regulations, thereby putting their lives and the lives of others at risk.
In 2014 alone, 3,660 people were killed in semi-truck accidents. Approximately 68 percent of these deaths were the occupants of passenger vehicles, 16 percent were large truck drivers, and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. The total number of deaths in large truck accidents was 16 percent higher in 2014 as compared to 2009, and truck occupant fatalities in 2014 were 31 percent higher as compared with previous data from 2009.
Pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle collisions have dramatically decreased over many years but still account for 15 percent of all accident fatalities. There were 4,884 pedestrian deaths in 2014, which is 35 percent less when compared with 1975 and 2 percent less since 2013.
- Motorcyclists and Bicyclists
In 2014, 4,295 motorcyclists were killed in vehicle collisions across the country. Motorcycle accident fatalities accounted for 13 percent of all car crash deaths in 2014. Although motorcycles have the capacity to be high-performing vehicles, they tend to be far less visible than other cars and provide far less stability to their occupants. Motorcycles cannot provide their riders with the protection of that an enclosed vehicle gives, so motorcyclists are statistically more likely die in a vehicle crash or suffer injuries. According to the federal government, the number of deaths on motorcycles per mile traveled was 26 times greater as compared with regular vehicles.
Because head injuries are common among motorcyclists, helmet use is even more important. Data from the transportation department shows that helmets may have 37 percent effectiveness in preventing deaths and 67 percent effectiveness in protecting motorcyclists from debilitating brain injuries.
In 2014, 720 bicyclists died in car accidents, which represents a 4 percent downturn from 2013. Also, 86 percent of the bicycle deaths in 2014 involved individuals who were at least 20 years of age.
Nearly 2 percent of car accident fatalities each year consist of bicyclists. Use of a helmet has the possibility of reducing the chances of a debilitating head injury by half and reducing the possibility of face or neck injuries by approximately. During the last several years, only 17 percent of deaths involved bicyclists who were wearing helmets during an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident in Margate or anywhere in Broward County, the attorneys at Englander Peebles can provide you with aggressive representation to assist you in obtaining the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. We have years of experience in pursuing personal injury claims on behalf of clients. Contact Englander Peebles today for a free initial consultation by calling our office at (954) 500-4878 or by completing our online form.