Lakeland Car Accident Attorney
A car accident can change your life. You may be seriously injured, facing temporary or permanent disability, loss of function, property damage, and an inability to work as well as mountains of medical bills, car payments, and other related expenses. Even a minor crash can have long-lasting effects such as whiplash, which can cause long-term pain. A severe car accident may even lead to the death of a loved one. And yet, car accidents are all-too-common. Florida officials estimate that car crashes happen once every 92 seconds. If you have been injured in a car accident in Central Florida, or you have a loved one who was killed, what should you do?
The dedicated and aggressive Lakeland car accident attorneys at The Turnbull Firm can help. Our personal injury team will work with you from day one after a crash, gathering evidence, providing advice, and building your case. We will work to ensure that you get the medical care you need, as well as the compensation you deserve from the insurance company or the negligent parties that caused your crash. Our goal is to get you the damages you are owed so that you and your family are protected and provided for, and we will fight to make that happen.
Florida Car Crash Statistics
Traffic accidents remain one of the leading causes of injury and trauma-based death in Florida and across the country. Even though cars are getting safer, there are more and more cars on the road every year as well as new hazards with which to contend, including congested roads, drunk and drugged driving, distracted driving (e.g., texting while driving), and constant construction.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), in 2019, there were 402,592 traffic crashes statewide, including 166,881 injury crashes. In all, 3,174 people were killed in auto accidents. Alarmingly, 102,756 of those crashes were hit and runs, leading to 215 hit and run fatalities.
Lakeland is no exception to the continued danger of car crashes. In Polk County, there were 11,635 total crashes in 2019, 5,157 of which involved injuries and which led to 127 fatalities.
What Causes a Car Accident?
Car crashes are caused by a variety of factors, and often a combination of those factors. Not every accident is caused by a driver’s negligence, and some may even be unavoidable (often called “acts of God”). However, most car accidents result from human error, whether the fault of one or more drivers, the auto manufacturer, or even the government agency responsible for keeping up the roadways. If someone’s negligence caused your car crash, you have the right to recover.
Some of the more common causes of traffic crashes include the following:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Thousands of people are killed across the country each year as a result of drunk driving, and hundreds of thousands more are injured. Alcohol and drugs impair drivers’ depth perception, reaction time, ability to read traffic signs and signals, capacity to stay focused and alert on the road, and any number of other functions necessary to keep safe while driving. Alcohol remains one of the biggest contributors to car crashes in Florida and across the country.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving has rapidly become one of the leading causes of traffic accidents and traffic fatalities in recent years. Many studies show that drivers recognize the dangers of texting while driving, and yet they continue to do so. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road and/or takes their hands off the wheel strongly increases the chance of an accident.
- Aggressive driving maneuvers. Aggressive driving can take many forms beyond just speeding (which is, of course, a common factor in car accidents). Drivers who try to split lanes, pass into oncoming traffic, dart between lanes and around other cars, pass on the shoulder or with limited space remaining in a passing lane, turn from the far lane or with insufficient time, or who engage in any other number of tactics to shave a few seconds off their trip are putting everyone on the road in danger.
- Drowsy driving. Driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Commercial motorists such as truckers, cab drivers, ride-share drivers, or delivery drivers may work long, boring, unforgiving shifts without sufficient time to rest. Even the average driver may get on the road without sufficient sleep. Drowsy driving can lead to slowed reactions, falling asleep at the wheel, blurry vision, swerving, or other dangerous driving events.
Florida Car Accident FAQs
Getting hit by another car is a terrifying experience in itself, but as the shock and pain of the experience wear off, these feelings are often replaced with anxiety, confusion and dread about the future. Who is going to pay for the damages? What if they say the wreck was my fault? The more you know about the law, your rights and what to expect, the better equipped you’ll be to handle the situation appropriately and focus on your recovery. See below for answers to frequently asked questions about car accidents in Central Florida, and call The Turnbull Firm for immediate assistance after a Lakeland crash.
Q. I’ve been in a car accident. I’m in pain but don’t have insurance. What can I do?
It’s important to see a doctor after any serious crash, especially if you feel pain. Unfortunately, if you weren’t covered by car insurance at the time of the accident, you might have to pay your own medical bills, and your driver’s license might get suspended as well. However, if your injuries are severe or permanent and the other driver was at fault, then you might be able to pursue a civil claim against the negligent driver. If successful on your claim, the other driver and their insurance would pay for your medical bills, as well as your lost income, pain and suffering, and other legal damages. Don’t let your lack of insurance keep you from seeking medical care or talking to an attorney about your options.
Q. What if I was partially at fault in causing the wreck?
Florida follows a comparative negligence rule that apportions fault between or among all the parties involved in the car accident. If you are found to be partially at fault, you can still recover compensation for your damages, but your award will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of negligence assigned to you. However, don’t let the insurance company tell you that you were to blame when you weren’t. An aggressive, skilled and knowledgeable attorney at The Turnbull Firm will analyze the accident and argue forcefully against any assignment of comparative fault that is not warranted by the facts.
Q. What if I wasn’t wearing my seat belt at the time of the crash?
The other driver may try to get out of paying for all of your damages by claiming your injuries would not have happened or would have been less severe had you been wearing your seat belt. There are many pieces of the “seat belt defense” that the other driver would have to prove, and there are many ways your attorney can fight back against this defense being used to unfairly deny you compensation for your damages. If you weren’t wearing your seat belt when another driver ran into you, don’t let this fact keep you from contacting a lawyer, but be sure and let your attorney know so they can represent you appropriately.
Q. What happens if the driver who hit me doesn’t have insurance?
With the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country, the odds that a driver who crashes into you won’t have insurance are greater than one in four. You can still get compensation for medical expenses and lost wages from your Personal Injury Protection (no-fault) insurance. If your injuries are severe, you might also look to your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, if you have it. Call The Turnbull Firm for help negotiating a full and fair settlement from your insurance company or to pursue a claim against the negligent driver personally.
Q. The driver who hit me stopped briefly but then sped away before I could get any information. Is there anything I can do?
Yes. Call the police. Hit and run is a crime, and the police may have ways of finding the driver who hit you. Your attorney may also be able to locate the driver and bring a lawsuit against them. If the driver can’t be found, you can file a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage. Lakeland car accident attorney Sanga Turnbull can help you get the full benefit of UM coverage for your injuries.
Q. Can I get punitive damages after a car accident?
If the other driver engaged in intentional or gross misconduct, then punitive damages may be appropriate. Examples of gross misconduct might include excessive speed or reckless driving, drunk driving or hit and run. Even when available, it is harder to prove and get punitive damages than other damages in a car accident case, but The Turnbull Firm will work hard to get the full measure of damages available in any Lakeland car accident.
Get the Help of a Seasoned Lakeland Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident in Central Florida, call a dedicated Lakeland car accident attorney as soon as possible. The aggressive car accident attorney at The Turnbull Firm is ready to take on insurance companies, car manufacturers, negligent drivers, and anyone else who was responsible for your harm. We are prepared to fight for your rights and the maximum recovery available. Call the Lakeland offices of The Turnbull Firm at 863-324-3500 to schedule a free consultation.