Top 10 Causes of Car Accidents in Florida

Distracted driver using mobile phone while driving.

In one recent year alone, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reported nearly 250,000 people were injured and 3,500 were killed in traffic crashes in Florida. While each of these collisions was a unique tragedy for those involved and the families they may have left behind, many shared the same handful of preventable causes.

If you were hurt in an accident someone else caused, the Fort Lauderdale attorneys at Phillips | Tadros, P.A. can help you understand your legal options. For a free consultation, contact our office today.

What Are the Top 10 Causes of Car Accidents in Florida?

The 10 factors on this list are among the top causes of Florida car accidents over the last several years. It’s also important to note that many accidents have more than one cause.

  1. Distracted driving – Texting while driving is against the law in Florida unless you’re using a hands-free device. However, cell phones aren’t the only thing that can take someone’s eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel. Eating, drinking, personal grooming, or even changing the radio while driving all increase the risk of an accident.
  2. Driving under the influence – Both alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s attention and quick-thinking abilities. They also reduce inhibitions, making drivers more likely to attempt “daredevil” maneuvers that put others’ safety at risk.
  3. Drowsy or fatigued driving – Tired driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. A recent study found that exhaustion can impair driving ability just as badly or worse than a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
  4. Speeding – When a driver exceeds posted speed limits or drives too fast for conditions, they take longer to stop and have less time to respond to sudden hazards like traffic slowdowns.
  5. Reckless or aggressive driving – Reckless driving is a crime in Florida. It occurs when someone drives dangerously and intentionally disregards others’ safety, increasing their chances of causing an accident.
  6. Failure to obey traffic signals – Drivers that run red lights, blow past stop signs, or ignore other traffic control devices considerably increase their risk of causing accidents.
  7. Bad road conditions – Florida’s hot, humid, and frequently stormy weather can make road conditions extremely dangerous. Fog, strong winds, and heavy rain can all lower drivers’ visibility and traction, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  8. Animals on the road – If a driver swerves to avoid hitting a deer, gator, or another animal, they risk losing control over their vehicle and causing an accident.
  9. Inexperienced driving – Teenage drivers often have more confidence than working knowledge behind the wheel – and that’s not to their benefit. A single mistake on the open road can have devastating consequences.
  10. Senior drivers – About 21 percent of Floridians are older than 65, giving us the largest elderly population in America. Most seniors aren’t short on driving experience. But age still impairs their reflexes and vision over time, putting them at a higher risk of car accidents.

What Steps Should You Take If You Are Involved in a Car Accident in Florida?

After a car crash, take these key steps to protect your health and legal rights. If you can’t do something on this list because of an injury, ask someone you trust to do it for you:

  • Trade information – Florida law requires everyone involved in any accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage to exchange contact, insurance, license, and vehicle information.
  • Contact police – Florida also requires motorists involved in crashes involving injury, death, or at least $500 in property damage to contact police.
  • Seek medical attention – If you didn’t receive emergency care immediately after the accident, see a doctor who can diagnose, treat, and document your injuries as soon as possible.
  • Gather evidence – You should gather photographs, video footage, and eyewitness accounts of what happened while relevant evidence and memories are still fresh.
  • Hire an attorney as soon as possible – The sooner you obtain legal counsel, the better your odds of securing fair compensation for your crash-related losses.

Is Florida a No-Fault State?

Florida is a “no-fault” state. This means each driver must carry insurance coverage that pays for their own injuries after an accident, regardless of who is responsible. A first-party insurance claim filed with your own no-fault provider can provide you with some of the compensation you need relatively quickly since you don’t have to prove fault.

If your injuries and property damage are more substantial, you may have grounds to file a third-party claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, Florida law only allows this if you meet certain criteria. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you identify all possible sources of coverage and demand fair compensation for your losses after a collision.

What Are Florida’s Insurance Requirements?

When registering a vehicle in Florida, you must prove you have these two types of insurance coverage:

  • Property damage liability (PDL) insurance – PDL coverage pays for any damage you or someone else driving your car causes to someone else’s property in an accident. You must have at least $10,000 in PDL coverage to register a vehicle in Florida.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance – This coverage pays a portion of your medical bills, lost wages, and incidental costs after an accident. You must carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage. You can file a PIP claim no matter who is at fault for the accident. If the insurer approves your claim, they will cover up to 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages – up to the limits of your PIP policy.

What Is the Florida 14-Day Rule?

Florida’s 14-day rule helps keep PIP claims timely and prevent fraud. Under this rule, you have 14 days after an accident to seek any necessary medical treatment. If you wait until after this deadline to seek medical attention, an insurer could deny your claim. This is why it’s so important to act quickly and visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible after an accident.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer

Attorneys Mac S. Phillips and Chris Tadros have four decades of combined legal experience serving Fort Lauderdale and greater Broward County. We are ready and able to handle every aspect of your injury claim and demand the compensation you deserve. Call our office today for a free, no-obligation case review with a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer and learn more about how we can help.