The first nine months of 2021 saw an unprecedented jump in the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities in the US – a nearly 13% increase. The number of U.S. traffic deaths during this period was 31,720, the highest figure since 2006. The number of traffic deaths actually started to rise in 2019 and has continued to grow. This is a complete reversal from the previous 3 years which saw a steady decline in the number of deaths.
The data released from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also showed that 38 states showed an increase, with Florida leading the pack. Oddly, even with this significant increase, 10 states showed a decline in the number of deaths. This “crisis” as it is being called by the Transportation Department, has triggered an outcry for safer roads and tougher laws. The NHTSA plans to embrace safer road designs. Changes you can hope to see include creating dedicated bus lanes and bicycle lanes, improved lighting, lowered speed limits, and the use of speed cameras.
Additionally, the NHTSA plans to push forward to establish laws that require automatic emergency braking in all new passenger vehicles and set new car safety performance standards such as lane-keeping assistance.
The COVID-19 pandemic is being cited as a significant contributing factor to the increase in auto accidents and fatalities. The increase in reckless driving behavior has been blamed for the increase in traffic accidents and fatalities during the pandemic. That behavior includes speeding, driving without a seat belt, driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs, and distracted driving. The pandemic caused a major decrease in traffic nationwide for much of 2020. But as drivers returned to the roads in 2021, the data from the NHTSA shows that the average speeds increased during the last three quarters of 2021, and extreme speeds, which is anything 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, became more common. These findings were supported by analyses of data from fatal crashes that show an estimated 11% increase in speeding-related fatalities.
What to Do if You Are Involved in an Auto Accident
If you are a victim of an auto accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. After an accident, there are certain things you should do to ensure your safety, the safety of others, and to protect your rights.
Call the Police or Local Law Enforcement
If you are involved in a ‘significant’ pedestrian / vehicular accident in Florida, you are legally required to report the accident to the police. An accident resulting in financial losses of $500 or more is considered ‘significant’. The police officer will complete an official police report, which identifies the parties involved, the location of the accident, relevant details about the scene, and the vehicle involved. The report will also include any witnesses to the accident as well. Police will collect evidence and look for any impairment from those involved in the accident, such as alcohol or drug consumption, which may prove pivotal in your claim. Police officers will listen to statements and include in the record their conclusion as to how the accident occurred. The official police report can be crucial in any personal injury claim.
Get Medical Attention
Get medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible. Most accidents between a pedestrian and a car result in injuries, usually severe injuries. Even if you are not experiencing pain or there are no obvious injuries, it is always wise to be examined by a doctor as soon as possible. Nothing is more important than your health.
Another important reason to get medical care right away is that the insurance company will look at how quickly you sought medical care after the car accident, as they may believe it is an indication of the seriousness of your injuries.
Collect Evidence from the Scene
You should attempt to collect as much evidence as you can after a car accident. Photographs are relied on heavily by insurance adjusters, judges, and juries to determine liability. Be sure to take clear pictures of the accident scene, including the vehicles involved, the surrounding area, crosswalks, and traffic signals and signs. Take pictures from several locations so that you capture different angles of the collision.
Take pictures of your injuries, and when possible, the injuries of any other party involved.
It is important to understand that you must provide evidence that supports your claim for damages in order to recover compensation. Evidence is usually demonstrated with photographs and documentation. The following documents are some of the key items you should gather:
All medical-related records, including doctor’s appointments, treatments, therapy, medications, surgeries, and hospital visits. Be sure to include the associated bills and insurance statements.
Keep records of how the incident impacts you and your family’s daily life, such as missed workdays, and routine activities that you can no longer undertake.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been involved in an accident and sustained injuries in Florida, please do not wait to get the straightforward legal advice you need. Contact McQuaid & Douglas, trusted, respectable personal injury attorneys, who will fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve.
We are here to answer all the questions you may have and explain the options available to you. We will provide you with the best advice for your specific situation, and can even help you find doctors, therapists, rehabilitation services, and counseling for you and your family if needed.
For over 60 years our firm has been successfully helping people who have been injured due to someone else’s carelessness. We have been nationally ranked for decades by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 law firm, which is the highest rank that can be received. Sean McQuaid and Jonathon Douglas have dedicated their careers to continuing the firm’s legacy of superior legal representation.
Remember that we never charge a fee unless we win. Call us today so that we may answer your questions, help you navigate the complexities of insurance claims, and recover the compensation that you deserve.
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