We go about our daily lives in a manner with little thought of a car accidents happening to us. To many, a car accident is an inconvenience or traffic keeping us from our destination…until it happens to us. When it becomes a reality—all of a sudden it is a life-altering event causing monetary damage, injury, disability, or worse—the death of a loved one.

According to the 2012 Crash Facts Annual Report, there were 10,230 reported car accidents in Charlotte, Collier and Lee counties (combined). Of those accidents, there were 8,057 injuries reported—and 115 fatalities. Do you imagine the individuals represented in these statistics could predict they were going to be in an accident? Accidents cannot be predicted; however, being aware of the possible dangers may help you be a more aware and cautious driver.

While controlling your own behavior and actions will help prevent an automobile accident in many instances; unfortunately, the action of others may be the reason you could be injured or killed in an automobile accident. The following unsafe behaviors are all behaviors reported as factors leading up to automobile accidents in crash reports: careless driving, DUI, red light & stop sign running and moving violations. According to the Annual Uniform Traffic Citation Report for Charlotte, Collier and Lee counties (combined) the following number of citations was issued in 2013:

Careless Driving: 4719
DUI: 4169
Red Light & Stop Sign Running: 8137
Moving Violations: 90,790

According to this report, there were over 100,000 plus unsafe behaviors caught by our law enforcement officers last year that could or may have caused an accident. There is no way of knowing how many of these individuals received more than one citation at any given time. Given this information, it’s easy to wonder how responsible motorist can protect themselves.

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself before and after an accident from unsafe motorists. First, be aware of your own driving habits and practice safe driving behaviors to help prevent YOU from causing an accident. For instance, obey posted speed limits and posted signage, do not talk or text while driving, look in all directions before proceeding through a green light, come to a complete stop at stop signs and do not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Second, ensure you have adequate insurance coverage including personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and Uninsured Motorist (UM) to protect yourself in the event you are in an accident. PIP can cover expenses related to injuries sustained in an automobile accident. These expenses can include medical and hospital bills as well as expenses not covered by health insurances. UM coverage is designed to compensate you, your family or passengers in your car for all bodily injury damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

And third, contact a personal injury attorney with experience in automobile accidents as soon as possible. Many individuals feel they can handle it on their own or rely on the insurance companies to take care of their needs. Insurance companies are profit-driven and are not necessarily looking to give individuals the fairest settlement possible. Most personal injury attorneys do not charge consultation fees and if the case is accepted the attorney’s fee is a percentage of the client’s total recovery.

Call us if you or a loved one has been in an automobile accident. We will be more than happy to discuss the matter with you and work to get you the justice you deserve.