How Does Speed Affect Fault In a Car Accident?

The CDC reports that each year, over 3 million people are injured in car accidents in the United States – and that does not include fatalities. Buried among those statistics are accidents caused by intoxicated drivers, failure to abide by traffic laws, faulty vehicles, and yes, speeding.

But how exactly does speeding factor into a car accident lawsuit? What if you were a car crash injury victim, but you were also speeding? Or what if the driver who injured you was exceeding the speed limit?

While this data should not be interpreted as formal legal advice, and you should immediately call someone like this car accident attorney Orlando if you find yourself on either end of a car accident case; the information below may be useful as an immediate resource after an accident.

Injured By a Speeding Driver? You Could Sue

A vehicle accident-related injury does not automatically entitle you to a settlement – the legal process is challenging, fault is hard to prove, and there are numerous factors at play depending on the state you live in. However, if the driver who injured you was speeding, your chances of winning in court are higher.

How To Prove The Driver Was Speeding

The first thing you should do after the accident is call the police and file a report. These reports can be important if your case goes to court, and the police will source witnesses on your behalf and submit an opinion. If an officer issues a citation to the driver at the scene of the crash, your chances of winning the injury case are even stronger. Crash scene experts can also help prove speeding by measuring the extent of the debris, looking for skid marks, and inspecting the damage on your car.

Witnesses also play an important role in a traffic case. Bystanders will often remain at the scene of the accident and share their contact information, and if you must take your case to court, these witness accounts could make or break your case.

Lastly, note that drivers may be held liable even if they were technically within the speed limit. A jury would view rain, for instance, as a reason why the driver should have been driving below the speed limit to remain innocent.

What If You, the Plaintiff, Were Also Speeding?

In an interesting twist, you could suffer a personal injury, win your lawsuit against the other driver, and still be penalized because you were speeding. In Florida, for instance, the Comparative Fault rule dictates that a jury can find you partially responsible because of your speed. If this happens, your award will be reduced by the percentage of fault you incur.

As an example, if you were to receive a $500,000 injury decision, but you were found 50% at fault because you were also speeding, you would only receive $250,000 of the total award.

How To Prove You Deserve Monetary Damages

Proving fault is one thing, and proving that you should be paid is another. If you are injured in a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Whiplash symptoms, for instance, can appear days after a car accident, but if you did not receive an exam immediately following the crash, the defendant will be able to argue that you may not have received the injury in the accident.

Even if your injury is obvious at the scene of the accident, you need to have a documented paper trail of your injuries, diagnoses, recovery, lost wages, medical bills, and more. An attorney would be able to assist you.

If You Were Speeding, You May Be Charged With a Crime

At times, the speeding driver may suffer more than monetary punishment. Severe speeding, texting while driving, tailgating, or other dangerous behavior could lead the police to charge you with a criminal offense.

If your driving behavior is classified as “ordinary negligence,” you are unlikely to be charged. Rear-ending someone because you took your eyes off the road would be considered ordinary negligence, and even if the other driver suffered from whiplash, you would probably not be charged with a crime.

However, if you kill or permanently injure someone, you may be charged with manslaughter. The difference between a felony or misdemeanor manslaughter charge depends on the nature of your negligence.

Gross negligence (reckless speeding, aggressive driving, running stop signs on purpose, and more) that leads to an injury will almost always lead to a criminal charge.

Remember What To Do After An Accident

Firstly (if you are able to do so), calling the police is a great place to start. They will protect the scene of the accident, file a report, and take witness statements. Secondly, attend to your health – have a medical professional look you over, even if you feel ok. And thirdly, call a legal professional if you have suffered an injury. Do not entertain any settlement offers from the other driver’s insurance company, and assume the other party is always acting in bad faith.


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