According to a recent article published in U.S. News and World Report, car accidents are the number one cause of death among teens, and this problem gets worse during the summer. Luckily, if you are a parent of a teen, there are a variety of things you can do to help your teen drive safer and reduce the chances of your child being involved in a car accident, which could result in personal injury or even death.
First, model the behaviors you expect. This means turning off your cellphone, silencing it, or putting it out of reach while you are driving. If your teen sees you using a phone while driving, even if you have told your teen not to use his or her phone while driving, you have shown that driving while using a cellphone is acceptable behavior.
Another behavior you should model is seatbelt use. Teens are the least likely to use their seatbelt even though seatbelt are known to reduce the risk of crash-related injuries and deaths by roughly half. You may not be in the vehicle every time your teen drives, but you can demonstrate the importance of a seatbelt when you are in the vehicle.
Second, establish rules for your teen’s driving. Many parents establish rules about radio usage or the number of passengers the teen can have while driving. Not only is it important to establish these rules, but also it is important to tell your teen why these rules are important. Let your teen know that as he or she becomes a more experienced driver and as responsible driving skills have been demonstrated, the rules will become less strict.
Finally, consider signing The New Driver Deal with your teen. This contract or agreement puts forth expectations for your teen’s driving and helps the teen to see when greater driving responsibility will be awarded. It also makes parents responsible for helping their teen become better drivers. If teens and parents know the rules and respect the rules, the likelihood of a car accident can be reduced.
Florida personal injury law is a specialty, because Florida is one of the few states in the U.S. with a no-fault insurance provision. This means that Florida drivers must carry no less than $10,000 worth of Property Damage Liability, or PDL (covers victim’s car if policy owner at fault), no less than $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection, or PIP (covers policy owner no matter who is at fault), but do not have to purchase any Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) insurance, which would take care of the medical and funeral bills of policy owner and passengers who were injured/killed in a serious accident caused by the policy owner.
Florida allows drivers to forgo bodily injury liability to keep insurance rates low, in fact Florida has some of the lowest car insurance minimums in the United States. The idea behind Florida’s no-fault insurance is to reduce the number of costly lawsuits (or torts) since that there is less chance of being sued by another driver following a car accident, because there is no need to prove fault.
However, those who’ve received injuries in serious car/truck accidents definitely have recourse in Florida courts. The American Bar Association’s website describes the chain of events which occur whenever an accident-injured party (the plaintiff) files a lawsuit because he/she has secured an expert attorney and has decided not to accept the monetary settlement offered by an insurance company (defendant).
First of all, the lawyers for each side exchange information about the crash and about the nature and extent of the victim’s bodily/mental injuries. This exchange is called discovery, and often consists of the defendant’s/plaintiff’s responding to written questions known as interrogatories, and of both parties giving depositions, or sworn statements (under oath).
At any point in this lawsuit process–even right before the jury reaches a verdict–the plaintiff may decide, with the guidance of his/her attorneys, to settle the case, accept the damages monies the insurance company offers, and sign a release, which absolves the company from further liability.
In civil–not criminal–lawsuits such as those for personal injury, a court does not give defendants (i.e, insurance companies) jail time or fines. Plaintiffs who win their cases, however, will be granted restitution, or damages, for their injuries. These damages often cover plaintiffs’ medical bills, wages lost during time spent recovering, and/or future wages, if the injuries have been very disfiguring or disabling. Compensation can also be granted for physical pain and suffering.
Each state has a particular statute of limitations during which an injured person must file his/her lawsuit in order for a court to consider it. Quickly securing the services of an attorney following a severe accident is very important, especially since Florida’s no-fault provisions make handling such cases difficult to navigate on your own.
Rear-end collisions make up many of the nation’s traffic accidents. However, there are different causes of the common rear-end collision. Distracted, drowsy or impaired driving is often to blame. Driving too fast for conditions, speeding and following too closely are other common causes of such accidents.
Road Rage and Rear-end Collisions
Sometimes, however, road rage causes a rear-end wreck. A common example is when an enraged motorist pulls in front of another vehicle before slamming on their brakes. If a rear-end collision ensues, the following motorist may claim that the extreme conduct of the aggressive driver was at fault. However, as long as that aggressive driver is operating a vehicle with operative brake lights, it can be difficult to divert blame off the following driver for not being able to stop in time.
Intent and Witness Statements
However, the leading motorist’s ill intent can shift the blame if witness statements identify it. That is, an investigation may reveal evidence that the braking driver intended to cause problems for the following motorist. If you are in a rear-end collision attributable to road rage, it is ideal if another motorist or pedestrian stops to provide officers with a corroborating statement.
In some cases, such statements can lead to the aggressive driver being cited or charged with reckless driving. In an extreme case, the motorist who engages in such dangerous conduct might be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, although such a charge is rare and often difficult to prove.
However, if no witness offers such a statement, the law ultimately requires that the following motorist stop their vehicle in time. So, the following motorist is generally found to be at fault in the many such rear-end collisions.
Avoiding Aggressive Drivers
When another driver experiences and exhibits symptoms of road rage, it is important to get away from the aggravated motorist. Do not continue to follow a motorist exhibiting such erratic behavior. Change lanes, exit, pull onto the shoulder or turn on to another road. Report any motorist that repeats such dangerous and aggressive actions with a 911 call. Be sure to include pertinent information like the make/model of the vehicle, the tag number and the direction of travel.