Intersection accidents, also known as crossroad accidents, are a common occurrence, often resulting in severe injuries and significant property damage. Understanding the causes of these accidents and how fault is determined is crucial for anyone involved in such an incident.
Our Hollywood, Florida car accident attorneys are here to help guide you through this process, so that you get the compensation you deserve.
Causes of Intersection Accidents
Primary causes of crossroad accidents have to do with negligence or environmental factors.
Negligence is a leading cause of intersection accidents. This can take many forms, including:
Distracted driving includes activities such as texting, eating, or using a GPS while driving. In fact, Florida law prohibits texting while driving. According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA), 26% of fatal accidents involved drivers who were distracted, many of these accidents occurring at intersections.
Failure to Yield
Failure to yield the right of way at an intersection is another common cause of accidents. This often occurs when a driver misjudges the speed of an oncoming vehicle or ignores traffic signals. Florida law requires drivers to yield the right of way to other vehicles in certain situations. The NHSTA reports that left-turning vehicles’ failure to yield accounts for 22% of accidents.
Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway. Speed limits in Hollywood are set by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Speeding is a contributing factor in many intersection accidents with the NHTSA reporting that almost one-third of fatal accidents are speed related.
Environmental factors such as the weather, visibility and intersection design also play a role in these types of accidents.
Adverse weather conditions such as rain, fog, or snow can reduce visibility and make roads slippery, increasing the likelihood of accidents at intersections. For instance, during heavy rain, the roads become slick, and drivers may find it difficult to stop their vehicles in time at an intersection. Similarly, fog can reduce visibility to such an extent that drivers may not see other vehicles, pedestrians, or traffic signals.
Visibility issues can arise due to inadequate street lighting, high glare from oncoming vehicles, or obstructions that block a driver’s view of traffic signals or other vehicles. Overgrown trees or bushes can obscure traffic signs or signals, leading to confusion or misinterpretation. Similarly, poorly lit intersections can make it difficult for drivers to see traffic signals or other vehicles, particularly during dawn or dusk.
Intersections that are poorly designed or have inadequate signage can confuse drivers and contribute to accidents. An intersection with complex lane markings or multiple points of entry and exit can be confusing for drivers, particularly those unfamiliar with the intersection. Similarly, intersections without clear signage indicating right-of-way or those with traffic signals that are not easily visible can lead to misunderstandings and accidents.
Determining Fault in Intersection Accidents
Florida’s modified comparative negligence law, also known as the “50 Percent Bar Rule”, went into effect in 2023. Under this law, a plaintiff can only recover damages if they are found to be 50% or less responsible for their injuries. If the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault, they cannot recover any damages.
Traffic violations play a significant role in establishing fault. In most intersection accidents, the driver who disobeyed traffic laws will be held primarily responsible. This includes:
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failure to yield right-of-way
- Improper turns
- Driving under the influence
Several pieces of evidence play a crucial role in determining fault:
- Police Reports: Law enforcement officers at the scene investigate the accident and prepare a report documenting observations, witness statements, and preliminary conclusions. This report serves as an initial foundation for establishing fault.
- Witness Statements: Eyewitness accounts can corroborate or contradict driver accounts and offer unbiased perspectives.
- Traffic Cameras/Dashcam Footage: If available, video footage from traffic cameras or dashcams can provide irrefutable evidence of the events leading to the accident. Visual confirmation of traffic signal changes, vehicle movements, and driver actions can significantly influence fault determination.
- Accident Reconstruction Experts: In complex cases where the cause of the accident is unclear, accident reconstruction experts can be employed to analyze the scene, vehicle damage, and other physical evidence. Their professional analysis can help reconstruct the sequence of events and assign responsibility.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof in Florida lies with the party seeking damages from another party. This means that you must present sufficient evidence to convince a judge or jury that the other driver was more at fault than you for the accident.
Contact a Hollywood Car Accident Attorney
Intersection accidents are complex events with multiple contributing factors. Determining fault often requires a thorough investigation and a deep understanding of Hollywood, Florida’s traffic laws.
If you find yourself involved in an intersection accident, it is advisable to seek guidance from a Hollywood car wreck lawyer from Klotzman Law Firm to navigate the complexities of the law and ensure your rights are protected. Contact us at 954-915-7405 for a free case review.