A woman was injured seriously recently when a vehicle crashed into her home as she sat at her kitchen table. The Orlando Sentinel reports the 61-year-old motorist reportedly failed to maneuver her vehicle properly at a curve in the road, causing her to continue straight into the residential structure. The 67-year-old resident was pinned and immobile until firefighters arrived to remove her.
Although such incidents tend to be reported as “freak accidents,” the reality is they occur with startling regularity. Home and auto insurer Ameriprise research reveals there are an average of 60 incidents daily wherein drivers crash their vehicles into retail outlets, homes, office buildings and restaurants. These incidents result in an average of 500 deaths annually, not to mention thousands of injuries. In fact, these types of car accidents claim more lives than lightning, tornadoes and earthquakes – combined. Economic losses for these collisions is estimated to be about $200 million every year, which includes both the cost for personal injury and wrongful death claims, as well as those for property damage.
Causes of these incidents are varied, but there are several trends the insurer has noted in the claims it reviewed. The three most common causes were:
- Pedal Error – 28 percent. (Of these, 57 percent were caused by foot slip and 43 percent by accidentally stepping on the wrong pedal.)
- Operator Error – 28 percent. (This would include incidents like those recently reported by the Sentinel.)
- DUI – 18 percent.
Other causes included traffic accidents, medical incidents and burglaries.
What’s especially disconcerting is it appears crashes are expected to increase, given the fact that many of those drivers involved in these cases are over the age of 65 and the number of drivers in this age classification are expected to more than double between 2017 and 2025.
When it comes to liability, obviously the first place our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys will look will be the injured person’s own auto insurance. Florida, being a no-fault state when it comes to crashes, requires those injured to first access personal injury protection (PIP) benefits from their own insurer. Even though those injured may not have been in a vehicle at the time of the crash, they could still potentially access their own PIP benefits, as injuries occurred as a result of a motor vehicle collision. If injured parties did not have access to this coverage, they could potentially collect PIP from the driver’s insurer. This would provide up to $10,000 in coverage.
Individuals can step outside of this no-fault system if they meet the serious injury threshold, as outlined in F.S. 627.737(2). That is if the injury consisted in whole or in part of:
- Significant/ permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability;
- Significant/ permanent scarring or disfigurement;
If the coverage allowable under defendant driver’s insurance is inadequate, we may explore uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage from the victim’s auto insurer. If the incident occurred on commercial property, we might also see whether a premises liability claim against the property owner is in order. In some cases, property owners may have had a duty to install greater protection against such crashes (i.e., barriers near exposed pedestrian areas or parking spaces, better design of parking lots so vehicles can’t approach store entrances head-on, and discouragement of nose-in parking).
Our attorneys can help victims of these incidents recover rightful damages.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Driver crashes into house, injures woman sitting at kitchen table, Dec. 19, 2017, By Gal Tziperman Lotan, Orlando Sentinel
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Be Wary of Drunk Drivers in South Florida This New Year’s Holiday, Dec. 26, 2017, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Blog