Port St. Lucie Car Accidents
The city of Port St. Lucie, Florida, has a lot to offer both residents and visitors. The area has experienced considerable population growth recently, going from farmland and a small fishing camp to a metropolitan area with over 165,000 residents in just a few decades. The subtropical climate of Port St. Lucie – as well as the convenience of highways such as Florida’s Turnpike, Interstate 95, and U.S. 1 – make it a popular destination for visitors as well. Unfortunately, a notable effect of Port St. Lucie’s rapid growth has been a drastic increase in the amount of traffic on its roads, which has led to many car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. If you have questions about your legal rights following a motor vehicle collision, the experienced Port St. Lucie car accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help.
According to information collected by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the number of crashes in St. Lucie County doubled between 2011 and 2015. In 2015 alone, nearly 3,000 injuries were reported. Perhaps unsurprisingly, drivers under the age of 30 accounted for about one-third of all traffic accidents. Many such drivers are relatively inexperienced, and they may have a tendency toward risky behavior such as texting while driving or driving under the influence of alcohol. However, it is worth noting that almost as many drivers age 60 and up were involved in crashes, perhaps resulting from their decreased vision and slower reflexes.Representation in a Car Accident Claim
Although Florida is a “no-fault” state, this does not mean that people whose careless driving causes harm to others cannot be held financially accountable for their actions. Instead, Florida’s no-fault law simply requires that anyone who owns a vehicle that is registered in Florida must purchase certain levels of insurance, namely at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and at least $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. However, such coverage would barely be sufficient even in a minor collision in which there are minimal injuries and property damage.
In most cases, it is necessary to pursue a negligence claim against the responsible driver in order to collect the appropriate amount of compensation. In negligence cases, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed him or her a legal duty of care, that this duty was breached, that the plaintiff sustained damages, and that the defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages. If the defendant does not have insurance, the plaintiff may pursue compensation from his or her uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance carrier.
Regardless of whether litigation proceeds directly against the defendant or whether a UM/UIM carrier is involved, a common defense in car accident cases is that the plaintiff was also negligent and should have his or her damages reduced in proportion to his or her level of fault. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault law, a plaintiff who was partially at fault in an automobile accident still may receive damages in proportion to the defendant’s responsibility for the crash. If a jury determines that the plaintiff sustained $100,000 in damages but was 25% at fault for the accident, for example, the court may enter a judgment of $75,000 in favor of the plaintiff.Explore Your Options with a Car Accident Lawyer in Port St. Lucie
When it comes to car accident lawsuits, time is of the essence. Claims that are not timely filed are subject to dismissal by a court, regardless of how egregious the defendant’s conduct was or how worthy the plaintiff’s claim may otherwise be. To talk to an experienced Port St. Lucie car accident attorney, call Donaldson & Weston at (772) 266-5555 or contact us online for a free appointment. We serve victims throughout St. Lucie County who need a motor vehicle collision lawyer to advocate for their rights.