New Study: Deadliest Highway In The Country Goes Through Central Florida
Teletrac Navman, a large GPS company, recently named Interstate 4 in the Sunshine State as the highway with the highest number of serious injury car crashes in the country.
Overall, there are 1.25 fatalities per mile on Interstate 4. Ironically, one of the most dangerous sections of the highway runs through the happiest place on Earth. Since 2016, 775 fatal crashes have occurred on Interstate 4 between Orlando and Lakeland. The number of fatal accidents normally spikes on weekends. The second-worst stretch of Interstate 4, where more crashes occur per capita, is the 15-mile stretch between Sea World and Champions Gate. The Plant City area was the third-worst place for car accidents on Interstate 4.
Nationwide, traffic fatalities have increased 10 percent since 2015 after several years of decline.
What Causes Car Crashes in the Tampa Bay Area?
Driver error causes over 90 percent of car accidents, so the incidents along Interstate 4 and elsewhere are not “accidental” in the sense that they are neither inevitable nor unpreventable. Instead, most car crashes occur due to one of the three types of negligence:
- Behavioral Negligence: Pre-driving behavior causes many car crashes. It is almost always negligent to drive while under the influence of alcohol, because impairment begins with the first drink. Many other drugs, both the legal and illegal variety, have much the same effect. In addition, truck drivers frequently drive without enough sleep, causing a tremendous safety concern.
- Operational Negligence: Speeding and distracted driving are the two most prominent examples of operational negligence in the Tampa Bay area, and such carelessness usually results in liability for damages. For example, just an extra 10mph of speed can double stopping distance, so speeding drivers create considerable risk for all motorists on the highways.
- Environmental Negligence: Under the duty of care, drivers must adjust to adverse environmental conditions, such as darkness or rain, by slowing down or making other changes. Environmental negligence is sometimes a little harder to prove, because it is more subjective.
Car Crash Damages and the Serious Injury Threshold
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, so if the tortfeasor causes a “fender-bender” non-injury collision which only causes property damage, victims may file claims against their own insurance companies and obtain compensation for the vehicle’s property damage. But if the victim sustains a serious injury, additional compensation is available. Florida law defines a serious injury as:
- Significant scarring or disfigurement,
- Loss of an important bodily function, or
- “Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability;” permanent, in this context, is not synonymous with total injury.
The additional compensation includes money for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and emotional distress. Punitive damages may be available in serious injury cases as well, if there is clear and convincing evidence that the tortfeasor intentionally disregarded a known risk.
Reach Out to Experienced Lawyers
Car crashes often cause serious injuries and raise complex legal issues. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. We are eager to help you secure the justice and compensation that you deserve.