All civil lawsuits have filing deadlines and procedural requirements that must be met in order for a case to successfully make its way through the court system. Failing to comply with these important rules can result in a plaintiff’s suit being dismissed, regardless of its merits. Thus, you should not delay if you or a person close to you has been hurt in a car accident caused by a speeding driver in the Stuart area.
Car Accident Lawyers Guiding Stuart Residents and Others
Along with driving while impaired and distracted driving, speeding is among the top causes of car accidents in Florida and the United States in general. There are many different reasons why drivers operate their vehicles in excess of the speed limit: being in a rush to get to their destination, a false belief that they can handle the vehicle at high speeds, a lack of awareness of the posted speed limit, or simply a misguided desire to show off. Regardless of the reason for a speeding crash, serious injuries and even death can result. The car accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston help Stuart residents and other individuals in their efforts to hold a careless driver accountable for a collision.
Holding a Speeding Driver Liable for Damages
Motor vehicle accidents caused by speeding fall under the general principles of negligence law. This typically means that a plaintiff must show that a defendant had a legal duty of care, the defendant breached that duty, there was a link of causation from the breach to the crash, and quantifiable damages were incurred. One way to demonstrate the existence of a legal duty owed by a defendant is to refer to traffic rules or other laws to which the defendant may have been subject. A breach of duty may be proven by showing that the defendant either clearly exceeded the posted speed limit or was driving too fast for the conditions, taking into consideration the traffic and the weather.
A plaintiff’s recoverable damages may include both pecuniary losses, such as missed wages, property damages, or medical expenses, and non-pecuniary losses like pain and suffering. In some cases in which the defendant’s conduct was beyond careless, to the point of being reckless, willful, or wanton, punitive damages may also be a possibility. If a speeding accident resulted in a tragic loss of life, the victim’s family may seek reimbursement for funeral and burial expenses, final medical expenses, and loss of consortium. The victim’s estate may also be able to file suit for other damages.
Often, causation becomes an issue in speeding accident lawsuits. A defendant may admit that he or she was speeding but allege that some other factor, perhaps even the plaintiff’s own negligence, contributed to the accident or totally caused it. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault rule, a jury can distribute fault among the plaintiff, the defendant, and sometimes even third parties that are not named in the case. Even if he or she was partly at fault, however, the plaintiff is entitled to recover a proportion of damages equal to the defendant’s percentage of fault. For instance, if the jury decides that the defendant’s speeding was 75% responsible for causing an accident, while the plaintiff’s own negligence was 25% to blame, the plaintiff can potentially recover 75% of his or her total damages.