Rush Hour Accidents
The average commute time in the United States is about 25 minutes, but many people are on the road for an hour or more as they travel to or from work. The stress of heavy traffic, combined with the worry of being late for work or missing an after-hours social commitment, take their toll, making rush hour a prime time for an accident. Congested highways, distracted drivers, and even road rage also increase the odds of a crash on the way to or from one’s place of employment. The Pembroke Pines car accident lawyers at Cohn & Smith have decades of combined experience representing South Florida residents who have been hurt or have lost a loved one because of a rush hour accident.Holding a Careless Driver Accountable for a Rush Hour Accident
In order to obtain a settlement or judgment following a rush hour accident, a plaintiff generally must prove that the defendant was negligent, or that he or she failed to use a reasonable amount of care under the circumstances. There are many ways that drivers may behave negligently, especially at rush hour, including:
- Running a red light;
- Improper merging;
- Weaving in and out of traffic without signaling;
- Not keeping a proper following distance;
- Being distracted by a cellphone or another electronic device; or
- Failing to yield the right of way when appropriate.
To prove a case of negligence, the plaintiff must show four elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. The plaintiff has the burden of proving each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence, which essentially means that they are more likely than not to be true. The defendant may also provide evidence of his or her version of the facts and, in some cases, may successfully argue that the plaintiff was partially at fault. Under the pure comparative negligence doctrine followed by Florida courts, a plaintiff’s damages award may be reduced in proportion to his or her own level of negligence, but the plaintiff may still recover at least some compensation unless he or she was 100% at fault.
Some of the damages that may be available in a personal injury lawsuit arising from a rush hour accident include medical expenses for the past and the future, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. In cases in which the defendant’s conduct went beyond mere negligence, such as when it was egregious, malicious, or reckless, there may also be the possibility of punitive damages. In wrongful death cases following a fatal accident, a deceased person’s family or estate may be able to pursue damages for their loss of the support and services of their loved one and the lost net earnings to the victim’s estate.Consult an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Pembroke Pines or Beyond
If you or a loved one has been involved in a rush hour accident, it is important that you talk to an attorney as soon as possible. To get started on your case, call the knowledgeable Pembroke Pines attorneys at Cohn & Smith at (954) 431-8100 or contact us online. We can represent people who need a motor vehicle collision lawyer throughout South Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Davie, Weston, Sunrise, Tamarac, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Aventura, and communities across North Dade County.