Florida Turnpike Accident Attorney
Anytime you drive on a Florida turnpike, you run the risk of accidents and serious injuries. High speed limits, exit and entrance ramps, and other possible hazards on turnpikes and highways can cause a driver to lose control and collide with other vehicles or to run off the road. Because these accidents often occur at high speeds, the resulting injuries can be catastrophic and victims can face substantial financial losses in addition to a lengthy recovery. If your Florida turnpike accident occurred due to the negligence of another party, you have the right to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and other losses and you should consult with a Florida turnpike accident attorney as soon as possible.
Common Causes of Florida Turnpike Accidents
Turnpike accidents can happen for a wide variety of reasons, many of which involve negligence on the part of others. Some examples of negligence that can lead to a highway or turnpike collision include:
- Potholes, large cracks, or other road defects;
- Confusing or unmarked entrance and exit ramps;
- Negligent road design;
- Shoulders that drop off;
- Missing or defective guardrails;
- Inadequate signage;
- Overgrown foliage;
- Negligent drivers;
- Poor drainage;
- Inadequately graded curves; and
- Poorly marked lanes.
Poorly Designed On and Off Ramps
Everyone knows exactly how it feels when the on ramp only provides a little over a hundred feet to go from 30 to 60: traumatizing, especially when the right lane is occupied by large semi trucks that refuse to budge from their lane of traffic. On ramps that are too short, or off ramps that are too short or too sharply curved, can cause catastrophic accidents, even when proper driving protocol is taken.
Lack of Proper Signage
Signs need to be visible, in good condition, and in places necessary to warn traffic of approaching hazards, the rules of the road, speed limit, and other necessary information that all drivers need. A lack of signage can result in rollovers at highway curves and side-swiping collisions when a lane suddenly ends with no warning.
Poor Median Barrier Design, or Lack of Median Barrier
Median barriers are necessary for dividing lanes of traffic where needed, for blocking the blinding headlights of oncoming traffic at night on a busy highway, and for preventing deadly head-on collisions. Whether the median barrier design is flawed or no median barrier exists at all, both scenarios pose a serious threat to everyone on the road.
Deteriorating Shoulder or Poor Shoulder Design
The shoulder of the road is necessary for vehicles suffering mechanical issues; it also serves as a place for emergency vehicles to help injured occupants and for police officers to pull over law breaking drivers. A proper shoulder is wide enough for a car to reside in, and is flat to reduce the chance of rollover or drifting off the road. Additionally, if the lip of the road is harsh (ends abruptly) the potential for fatalities and injuries is increased. In a study that analyzed crashes from 2005 to 2007 that was performed by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration, it was found that 22 percent of crashes resulted in drivers going off the road. A harsh lip can make matters worse by causing a rollover.
After a turnpike accident, it is crucial for people who have been injured to document information about the way in which the accident occurred. If possible, victims should take photographs of the scene of the accident as well as any roadway hazards that may have contributed to their accident. In addition, those involved should obtain contact information from other drivers and from anyone who may have witnessed the accident take place.
Individuals who have been involved in an accident that was the result of defective road design should be aware of the fact that a special set of legal rules will likely apply to their case. This is because under a legal doctrine known as sovereign immunity, the government may not be sued unless it has consented to a lawsuit. Fortunately for West Palm Beach residents, the
Florida legislature has done precisely this, albeit with significant limitations placed on the amount of money a successful plaintiff may recover. There are also certain procedural rules involved that are significantly different that those that apply to lawsuits against private parties, so it is important for anyone hurt in a turnpike accident that was caused by roadway conditions to talk to an attorney familiar with handling these kinds of cases.
Wide Roads Cause Complacency: The Peltzman Effect
Not only are turnpike accidents caused by deteriorating roads, poorly designed on ramps, and other infrastructure, even the “safe” aspects of many highways and freeways lull drivers into a false sense of security. By creating ultra “safe” and easily driveable roads, drivers zone out and pay less attention: instead of providing safety, these large, well-designed freeways create complacent, bored, and easily distracted drivers that turn to their phones and other devices to occupy their minds. This phenomenon is termed the Peltzman Effect, according to Popular Mechanics. Economist Sam Peltzman first wrote about this idea in 1976 during America’s long term efforts to construct straighter, wider, highly marked, and “safer” highway systems. However, in this scenario, the negligent party is the complacent, distracted driver, not the make of the turnpike. All drivers have an obligation to drive in a way that does not cause harm to others. This is termed the “duty of care,” and breaching this duty by causing an accident due to speeding, changing lanes improperly or lane drifting, failing to yield, or falling asleep at the wheel are all considered negligent acts and will mean that that driver is liable to pay the victims of the collision damages.
Contact a Skilled Florida Turnpike Accident Attorney in West Palm Beach For A Free Consultation
At the West Palm Beach law firm of Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida turnpike accident attorneys have extensive experience handling cases arising from turnpike accidents and highway accidents. These cases can be complex and may involve many legal issues, so it is imperative to have an attorney on your side who understands how to properly represent your rights. Whether the negligent party was another driver, an auto manufacturer, a government entity, our turnpike accident lawyers can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Please feel free to call our office for a free consultation at 561-291-8298 to find out how our Florida turnpike attorneys can assist you.