On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, police identified the two men who were injured on Tuesday in a possible wrong-way motor vehicle accident on a stretch of State Road 84 in Davie. Dale Engle, the Davie Police Captain, identified the man reported to have been driving west in the eastbound lanes of State Road 84 before colliding with a black pickup truck. Prior to the accident, police had received several calls about a “reckless” driver headed in the wrong direction on State Road 84.
Police are still in the process of investigating the crash, but Captain Engle said that neither drugs nor alcohol appear to have contributed to the crash. He further noted that, although the roads were wet, weather conditions did not seem to have been a factor.
The driver of the vehicle headed in the wrong direction, who resides in Miami, may have, according to Engle, been unfamiliar with the roads in the area, which have been under construction for an extended period of time as Interstate 595 is widened. The driver of the black pickup truck, who was treated at Broward Health Medical Center for broken bones in his feet, is conscious and said he did not remember seeing the other vehicle before the collision.
The law associated with motor vehicle accidents in Florida is somewhat unique. Florida is one of a minority of no-fault automobile insurance states in the United States. Florida’s no-fault insurance scheme took effect on January 1, 1972, and it was only the second statewide plan in the nation at the time it was implemented. Pursuant to Florida’s no-fault insurance scheme, all motorists in the state are required to maintain two forms of motor vehicle insurance at all times: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage and Property Damage Liability (PD) insurance coverage. Motorists must carry a set minimum in coverage for both types of insurance and, in the event of an accident, each motorist is obligated to turn to his or her own insurance provider for recovery. In addition, the owner, registrant, operator, or occupant of a vehicle with sufficient PIP coverage is immune from tort liability for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience arising from the accident unless one of four conditions is present:
(1) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
(2) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement;
(3) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; OR
If one of the four conditions is present, then a person may bring a traditional tort suit for non-economic damages. However, a driver can always bring a tort suit predicated on fault for economic damages that are not covered by his or her mandatory insurance coverage.
As one would imagine, finding that a motorist was driving in the wrong direction would play a significant role in any potential legal proceeding. Typically, part of the showing that one seeking tort recovery for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident must make is that the other motorist breached his or her duty of reasonable care. However, certain acts in violation of the law, including driving in the incorrect direction on a road, are considered negligent per se. Accordingly, it would be more straightforward to show that the other driver was at fault under the circumstances.
The interplay between Florida’s no-fault automobile insurance scheme and standard tort law makes acquiring full recovery for a motor vehicle accident a complicated endeavor. If you have recently been in a South Florida motor vehicle accident and are uncertain about your rights, the attorneys at Frankl & Kominsky are ready to speak to you about your accident case. Our dedicated and knowledgeable attorneys fight for clients to ensure they receive the compensation to which the law entitles them, both in and out of the courtroom. Click here, or call 1-855-800-8000 today to schedule your free case consulatation with an experienced attorney today.