Highway intersections are typical locations where car accidents occur in Florida. The multiple roads that converge at intersections, pedestrians, and opposing direction of traffic increase the risk of injuries. However, the leading cause of car accidents in intersections is driver negligence. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we have highlighted intersection accidents to help you seek compensation after sustaining injuries due to driver negligence.
Common Causes of Intersection Accident
Street intersections experience high numbers of car accidents. The major causes of these car accidents include failure to yield the right of way by drivers, distracted, or reckless driving. Apart from cars coming from different directions making turns at intersections, pedestrians also converge at these points to cross the road, which increases the possibility of injuries. Some of the common reasons for intersection accidents include:
Drivers should not make turns at an intersection if the oncoming traffic is hidden. Pedestrians often block intersections when crossing the road too. If a tree or pedestrian is in the way and a driver pulls out quickly without checking the oncoming traffic, a serious accident is likely to occur.
Inclement or bad weather reduces visibility significantly. When approaching an intersection during lousy weather, a driver might be unable to see oncoming vehicles or traffic signals and lights, which might eventually result in a collision. The large puddles during lousy weather might make the car into a hydroplane, thus being unable to slow down or stop at an intersection. Car accidents during inclement are preventable if motorists drive at low speed and cautiously to prevent car crashes.
Failure to Give Right of Way
Intersection accidents also occur when drivers pull out of traffic or make a left turn cutting off the oncoming vehicle. The accidents that occur because of this reason are catastrophic because cars are usually at high speed.
Cars approach street intersections from different directions. If a driver assumes that a particular vehicle will turn in a specific direction, a collision might occur if the judgment or assumption by the driver is false. Drivers should, therefore, pay close attention to the direction an oncoming motorist is going to turn to prevent these accidents.
As per Florida Statute 316.183, it is illegal to drive beyond the legal speed limit. When a driver speeds while approaching an intersection, the possibility of being unable to slow down or stop is high, which results in car accidents.
Drunk or Drugged Driving
Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .08% is prohibited under Florida Statute 316.193. The reason for this is drugs or alcohol cause impairment, making it impossible to make proper judgments, which in turn leads to car accidents.
More often than not, when drivers are texting or making a phone call while driving, their eyes are not on the road. If this happens at an intersection, the driver might fail to see the traffic signals or fail to give right of way, leading to a collision.
Driving for long hours without enough rest is just as risky as drunk driving. Your judgment and decision making on the road are unfortunate if you are sleepy or feeling tired. When this happens at an intersection, car accidents occur.
Poorly Designed and Maintained Intersections
Car drivers are not always the people to blame when accidents occur in street intersections. Where an intersection is poorly designed, or there is inadequate visibility, accidents will happen. Also, if the plan was adequately done, but the traffic lights and signals are not well maintained, the risk of an accident is high. In these cases, the government entity responsible for the intersection will be held liable for injuries and damages because of their negligence.
Ways of Preventing Intersection Accidents
There are a couple of things motorists can do to prevent intersection accidents. These are:
- You should avoid changing lanes at an intersection because doing so might lead to a T-bone collision. The reason changing lanes at an intersection is not encouraged is because the traffic light might change before you finish changing lanes.
- Do not assume the right of way. Pedestrians and bicyclists, at times, do not observe the traffic lights when crossing at an intersection. So, despite the light being green, you should scan the road and check again to ensure the roadway is clear to avoid pedestrian accidents. Also, drivers should not make a turn when the light is red to prevent side-impact collisions.
- When approaching an intersection, drivers should always put all distractions away and stay alert for oncoming traffic. Cell phones or other things that might take your focus away from the road, even for a second, should be avoided by all means.
- Because not every highway intersection has traffic lights and signals, you should approach such intersections carefully. Approach it the same way you would at a four-way stop and watch out for road users darting at the intersection.
- You should also look out for other people who use the intersection like the pedestrians and children. Defensive driving is advised when approaching intersections used by children because they might dart on the road or fail to read the traffic signal or light. Also, the small size of bicycles and pedestrians might be challenging to spot at intersections resulting in collisions. For this reason, always scan the road before making a turn.
If all drivers observe the above pointers, the number of intersection car accidents will reduce significantly. In case an accident occurs, and you are not the person at fault, you will not be the person to blame for the crash. Doing so allows you to sue the liable party for damages.
Basic Rules that Apply to Intersection Car Accidents
Speed, design of an intersection, and traffic signs determine the type of intersection accident. But some basic rules and guidelines apply to all drivers. Some of the laws that apply to intersection accidents are:
Left Turns must Yield
The driver making a left turn at an intersection must yield way to other drivers. It means they must allow all oncoming motorists to make a turn before they complete their left turn. The first car to get at the intersection should pull-out during a green light. But if it isn’t the first, the second motorist making a left turn should wait for the first motorist to clear the intersection first before they can take their turn.
Intersection car accidents occur a lot when drivers hurry to make left-turns. Underestimating the speed of oncoming traffic and failing to indicate are some of the problems that result in rushed left-turns. When a car accident occurs at an intersection after being hit by a driver making a left turn, then you should bring a personal injury claim against the driver.
Stopping Before Turning Right at a Red
Drivers are allowed to make a right when a light is red. However, the problem is that the majority of them make the right before entirely stopping. The law requires that you make a complete stop at a red light even if you are turning left. Doing so allows you to scan the road extensively for oncoming traffic before entering the intersection to ensure you turn safely. Therefore, stay safe by indicating or stopping when making a right on red.
Where there are no traffic lights at an intersection, drivers are encouraged to use the four-way stop signs. According to these rules, when several cars meet at an intersection, the vehicle that arrived first should be the first to make a turn. After that, you should always yield to the vehicle on your right.
Drivers at a stop sign are required to yield to all vehicles. The roadway must be clear before making the turn. Also, drivers at a stop sign should entirely stop. If an accident occurs at a stop sign because a driver was making a rolling stop or failed to give way to all cars on the road, then he or she is accountable for your injuries.
Yielding on On-Ramps
When entering a highway, you should yield to the driver who is already there. Also, entrance ramps might be available that have a yield sign. You should rely on the signs from the ramp or yield right of way to ensure you have ample space to make your move. Failure to yield is illegal, and in the event of an accident, you will be held liable for the accident you cause.
Types of Intersection Accidents
One of the most multifaceted traffic situations that all road users, including motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, have to deal with every day are the intersections. Types of intersection accidents include:
These accidents are also called T-bone or broadside collisions. They occur where a vehicle is making a turn on a red light deliberately or when attempting to make a turn at a yellow light impacts the side of one or multiple cars during an accident. These types of crashes are common at intersections and often occur due to driver negligence.
These accidents are common at intersections when one or more vehicles are merging. When turning, there is a possibility of sideswiping. The driver merging is often the person to blame for the accident if he or she fails to check the blind spot.
When two vehicles following each other approach an intersection, if the subsequent driver is abstracted and fails to see the driver ahead has stopped, rear-end collisions occur. These forms of accidents often don’t cause severe injuries because the vehicles are usually at low speed.
Other accidents that are common at intersections include pedestrian and bicycle accidents. Intersection accidents are preventable if people exercise defensive driving when approaching and leaving an intersection.
Intersection Accident Injuries
As mentioned above, where two cars approach an intersection at the same time, the injuries that result from the impact in the event of a collision are devastating. Some of the different injuries you are likely to sustain include:
Chances of suffering traumatic brain or concussion after an intersection accident are frequent. Whether it’s a head-on or side-impact collision, the impact of the crash might force your head to hit the sides of the vehicle, causing head injuries. Although the severity of head injuries depends on the speed of the cars during the crash, you can sustain these injuries at any speed.
The side impact of intersection collisions results in spine injuries or damage. If the injuries are severe, the victims of these injuries end up paralyzed or will require an extended period of physical therapy to regain standard body functionality.
Cuts and Contusions
You will sustain cuts and bruising if you are involved in an accident like T-bone at an intersection. Typically, the injuries arise from broken glass, and you can sustain cuts and bruises even when the accident is minor.
If your car is struck on high impact at an intersection, you are likely to sustain fractured bones, ribs, arms, or legs.
Pelvic and Hip Injuries
An accident that is common at intersections and which results in injuries to the lower section of the body is the side-impact collision. When a T-bone happens at a high impact, you might end up with injuries on your lower extremities hip or pelvic.
All these injuries can result in various damages, which is why, after an intersection accident that leaves you with injuries, you should turn to your insurer for compensation. But if the payment is not enough to cover all your losses, you can turn to the insurer of the negligent party for benefits.
What to do After an Intersection Accident
Taking your eyes off the traffic lights at an intersection only for a few seconds is all it takes to be involved in a car accident. Being involved in an accident can be traumatizing, but what’s even worse is where an accident is your fault. The action you take immediately after the collision will determine the outcome of the personal injury claim.
When a car collision happens at an intersection, first drive through the intersection to a safer location if the accident is minor. You should do so to avoid blocking traffic. Once you are safe, call the police. The next thing is to check on the other parties that have been involved in the crash. If any of them has significant injuries, you should call an ambulance or an emergency response team. Keep in mind that intersection accidents are often severe, and most of the victims are trapped in the car, especially if it is a side-impact collision accident. For this reason, you should call an emergency response team to try and rescue those trapped in the car. Doing it yourself without the necessary tools or skills might make the injuries of those trapped in the vehicle worse.
After checking on everyone at the scene, the next thing is to exchange information with other drivers involved in the accident. Some of the crucial information that you will need includes insurance policy information, phone numbers, email address, and license plate numbers. You should also speak to witnesses and get their side of the story about the accident. Make sure to jot down their contact information, too, because you might need to find them later.
The other step involves gathering evidence. You can begin by taking pictures or recording a video of the scene of the accident. In the video or photographs, be sure to capture the damage done on the vehicles, injuries sustained, weather conditions, and the nature of the intersection. Do not forget to take notes of the collision, including the vehicles involved and the opinion of drivers and witnesses involved in the crash.
Note that police do not go to every accident scene. You need to file a police report when police don’t show up at the accident scene. But if the law enforcement shows up, they will gather all the information they need and prepare a police report. If you or the police file a report, make sure you get a copy of it.
After filing the report, you can proceed to inform your insurer about the collision, but don’t give too many details to them unless you have spoken to your attorney.
Intersection accidents have dos and don’ts. Some of the things you shouldn’t do include:
- Don’t yell or accuse the other driver of anything
- Don’t admit fault
- Do not discuss the accident unless with your attorney. Your insurer and police might, however, need facts about the accident.
- Do not leave the scene until other drivers involved have left.
Doing the right thing after an intersection accident will boost your chances of receiving compensation.
Proving Fault in Intersection Accidents
As said earlier, most intersection accidents occur because of failure by drivers to obey traffic rules. Therefore, anyone who causes an accident due to violation of traffic laws is most likely liable for the injuries sustained. In Florida, red-light cameras are commonly installed in intersections. The cameras flash and take snap pictures of cars that enter and make turns in intersections above the designated speed. In the case of hit and run accidents, the cameras make it easy to track the responsible drivers. Drivers have also been forced to drive more defensively at intersections by the cameras.
Florida uses pure comparative negligence, which means the fault is assigned based on your portion of negligence. Where multiple cars are involved in a collision, proving liability becomes an uphill task, thus the need to work closely with a personal injury attorney.
Note that you might be the driver who has been struck, whereas you are at fault. Determining the party accountable for the collision will require a thorough investigation, which is what makes these cases very complicated. If you are the motorist who failed to yield and ended up broadsiding another driver, then you will be blamed for the crash. Again, when a motorist follows you closely at an intersection and fails to stop rear-ending you, he or she will be the party at fault. The person who misses a red or stoplight at an intersection causing a car accident is also fully liable for the injuries. In some cases, however, both drivers might be equally responsible for the accident.
Intersection accidents also involve multiple cars. When this happens, the driver who is at fault will be facing numerous claims from the victims of the car collision. Where an insurer is facing multiple claims, they will do anything to reduce the amount of money they have to reimburse the claimants. For this reason, you should gather enough evidence to build a persuasive argument.
The pictures, videos, and notes you took at the scene will come in handy when proving the amount of compensation you should receive. Keeping proper medical records will also help a lot in showing the amount of money you have spent in the hospital because of the injuries. You need your personal injury attorney to present the evidence and even negotiate with the insurer of the at-fault party to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
Some of the compensations you will receive after winning the claim include:
- Medical bills
- Damages for vehicle repair
- Damages for lost wages due to the time you have missed work because of the injuries.
- Pain and suffering
Note that it’s not every time that you will be the person receiving compensation. Sometimes you might be the person defending yourself against a claim if you are at fault and the victims of the accident have suffered severe injuries. In such cases, you will need an attorney to defend you against the claim. He or she will try to prove that the intersection accident didn’t occur because of your negligence but rather because of something beyond your control. That way, you get to lower the number of damages payable to the claimants.
Find an Intersection Accident Attorney Near Me
If you or a close family member has been injured in an intersection accident, contact Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney at 904-800-7557 to schedule a meeting with one of our experienced car accident attorneys.