Thanksgiving is one of the most-anticipated holidays of the year, and is a time for families to come together and give thanks. It is also the biggest travel day of the year, which unfortunately makes auto accidents commonplace.
If you or a loved one were involved in a Thanksgiving auto accident, you may be facing costly medical bills, car repair bills, lost wages, and potentially even a permanently disabling injury or death. If the accident was caused by another’s negligence, seeking compensation should be seriously considered to help ensure your family’s financial security and to get closure on what may have been an emotionally traumatic event.
Thanksgiving Auto Accidents
Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday of the year, even surpassing occasions such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Labor Day for auto accident fatalities. There are over 400 auto fatalities annually on Thanksgiving, and about 50,000 nonfatal auto accidents.
Why is the holiday so prone to car crashes?
There are a number of common causative factors and reasons that are specific to Thanksgiving itself and the long holiday weekend. Together, they make for the perfect storm.
As mentioned above, more Americans travel on Thanksgiving than on any other day. It’s not just a big travel holiday, though – it’s a big driving holiday. About 90% of travelers get to their destinations by driving there. This means that there are significantly more drivers on the road, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
During heavy traffic times when roads are gridlocked, most collisions are minor and produce nonfatal injuries. However, late at night and in rural areas, cars are able to reach higher speeds, making fatal collisions more likely.
Holidays are a time to eat, drink, and be merry. Unfortunately, many drivers are negligent, and choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. In fact, about 40% of Thanksgiving auto accident fatalities involve drunk drivers.
There is no excuse for driving while intoxicated, though, and if you were injured by a drunk driver, you should receive compensation for your injuries and hold the guilty party accountable for his or her negligence.
Many motorists drive long distances to reach their Thanksgiving destinations, making fatigued driving quite common over the holiday weekend.
Don’t think a bit of drowsiness is a big deal? Studies have shown that fatigued drivers are just as impaired as drunk drivers, so crashes become much more likely in these conditions.
Distracted driving may also be more common on Thanksgiving. Motorists are likely to be traveling with young children, and may also be communicating with other family members via text messaging to coordinate festivities. Travel doesn’t help here, either, because when people drive around areas they are unfamiliar with, they are more likely to get lost and pay attention to their directions than the road and other drivers.
Hurrying to Events
The holidays are often a hectic time, and many Americans rush from one family event to another. This makes motorists more likely to drive carelessly and violate traffic laws, such as by speeding or running stoplights.
How Can You Hold a Negligent Driver Responsible in Florida
The first thing that you need to understand is that Florida is a no-fault state. This means that when two people get into an accident, both parties will be automatically covered for injuries up to $10,000 – regardless of who caused the crash.
In terms of receiving compensation, “fault” doesn’t enter into the equation unless your injuries are deemed severe, disabling, or otherwise irreversible. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent party to recover damages – but first you must prove that they are responsible.
Several factors determine who is held responsible in a serious auto accident. These include common law considerations for liability, such as negligence, recklessness, intentional misconduct and strict liability, and violations of traffic laws.
Fault for causing any accident is either created by law (such as motor vehicle violations described below) or defined by common law. Common law recognizes four different kinds of fault, including negligence, recklessness, intentional misconduct, and strict liability.
The most common types of fault in auto accidents are negligence and recklessness. A driver can be negligent by failing to do something, such as by failing to signal before changing lanes, or by actively doing something, such as running a stop sign. Recklessness refers to behaving with disregard for the safety of others. For example, a driver is reckless when he or she drives with wanton disregard for the rules of the road, such as by driving well over the speed limit.
Motor Vehicle Statutory Violations
All states have numerous laws dictating the manner that drivers must operate motor vehicles while on the road. Violate any of these statutes and a driver can be considered negligent under the law, placing them at fault if an accident is caused as a result.
Of course, it tends to be a bit more complicated than that in civil court. The accused party will do everything they can to poke holes in your allegations against them, which is why you need to have a knowledgeable and aggressive Florida personal injury attorney by your side who has a clear understanding of the law and what it takes to secure you the compensation you deserve. Start fighting for your future by reaching out to our office today.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.