When Speeding Is the Central Aspect of a Car Accident Lawsuit
Being involved in an automobile accident can be full of contradictions. While accidents involving automobiles usually involve a high rate of speed, when facing the impending crash, many individuals insist that time seems to proceed in slow motion. When an accident does happen that results in injury, retaining the services of an experienced Miami car accident attorney is essential to ensuring that the injured individual obtains reimbursement for all the costs associated with recovery. Although, as mentioned above, automobile accidents frequently occur while the vehicles are operating at a high rate of speed, speeding may not always be the primary factor causing the accident, such as when the accident occurs on an expressway. However, in some cases, speeding can, in fact, be the primary reason for the accident, as in this example, in which a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy was going twice the speed limit, ran a stop sign, and put a Central Florida student in a coma.
The legal theory that governs imposing liability for car accident injuries is negligence. Generally, liability for negligence occurs when an individual – in this case, a motorist – does not act in accordance with a reasonable standard and causes an injury to another individual. In other words, in order to succeed in an action based on negligence, an injured plaintiff must prove each of the following elements:
- The defendant had a duty to act in a certain way, and according to a certain standard, generally, operate his/her vehicle in a way that does not cause harm to other individuals;
- The defendant failed to so act, by either his/her actions or inactions;
- The failure of the defendant to so act was a direct cause of the injury to the plaintiff; and
- The injuries can be quantified as damages.
When speeding is a factor in an automobile accident, it is important to note that not everyone who speeds is automatically negligent. By way of example, a person who drives five miles over the speed limit on a Florida expressway when no other driver is within eyesight, while technically illegal, would most likely not be considered negligent. Nevertheless, while the negligence of an individual in an automobile accident is determined on a case-by-case basis, speeding is an indication of recklessness. Thus, when an accident is caused or made worse by a speeding vehicle, it is likely that that driver will be held legally responsible.
The Effect of Speed
The reason for holding a speeder responsible lies in the assertion that the faster a motor vehicle is moving, the less control the driver has over it. Accordingly, a driver may lose control while negotiating a curve. Additionally, the faster a vehicle is travelling, the longer it takes – in time and distance – to stop. Thus, the impact of a crash in which speed is a factor is greater, and, unfortunately, the passengers of the vehicles involved in the accident can suffer more severe injuries.
Further, speeding can turn a normal situation into a cause of an accident. As an example, a driver may be able to successfully drive over a few pebbles that have made their way onto the road if he/she was driving at a normal speed. However, if the driver was operating his/her vehicle above the speed limit, hitting a pebble may cause the driver to lose control, causing an accident.
Additionally, speeding can increase the effect of other reckless driving maneuvers. For example, distracted drivers may not be able to regain full control of their vehicles in time to avoid another vehicle or another obstacle.
Seek Legal Advice
If you were injured in an automobile accident in which excessive speed was a primary cause of the accident, whether you were a passenger, another motorist, or a pedestrian, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado as soon as possible. We have years of experience in car accident claims, and will use this to your advantage. If we believe that the speeding motorist is directly responsible for your injuries, we will develop a strategy to obtain for you the most compensation possible. Contact our Miami office today for an initial consultation.