Collier County is known as Florida’s Paradise Coast, home to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades, with pristine beaches, endless outdoor activities and vibrant culture. Roadways throughout Collier are often bustling with its more than 370,000 residents plus tourists, commuters, retirees, delivery trucks, trolleys and increasingly more pedestrians and bicyclists. The sheer number of vehicles plus sharp rises in distracted driving has meant Collier County car accidents are commonplace.
Understanding the types and causes of collisions and injuries most likely to occur in this region of Southern Florida is important. Knowing your legal rights in the aftermath if you’re injured is imperative. Tourists injured in Collier auto accidents face unique challenges, as there are provisions of both Florida law and out-of-state law that could apply.
At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, our Collier County car accident lawyers have been fighting for justice on behalf of our clients for five decades. Our roots in Southwest Florida run as deep as our commitment to every Collier County car accident client.Collier County Crash Facts
Total crashes in Collier County (and other statistics) in a single recent year, as reported by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, were as follows:
- 5,135 total crashes
- 1,972 injury crashes
- 2,819 injuries
- 26 traffic deaths
- 700 commercial vehicles involved in crashes
- 3,138 property damage crashes
- 110 pedestrian crashes (5 deaths)
- 124 bicycle crashes (2 deaths)
In looking at primary factors, Florida Uniform Traffic Citation Statistics reports in a single recent year, there were more than 4,170 criminal traffic citations issued (for offenses like DUI, reckless driving, fleeing the scene of a crash and drag racing). Another 20,400 people were cited for non-criminal moving violations (speeding, red light running improper turn, failure to yield, improper backing, careless driving, etc.). When it came to non-moving traffic violations like texting and driving, having unsafe vehicle equipment or improper loading (that last is especially dangerous for bicyclists and potential “dooring” incidents), there were a total of about 8,000.
The UTC report included data from city police, the county sheriff’s departments and the Florida Highway Patrol. The good news is according to the Collier County Health Department, the rate of people dying in motor vehicle crashes fell more than 40 percent over a recent 10-year span, but auto accidents are still the No. 1 cause of unintentional injury and death here for all age groups.Collier County Car Accident Injury Compensation
Some forms of compensation our car accident attorneys can help you pursue in the aftermath of a Collier crash include:
- PIP (personal injury protection insurance). This is outlined in Florida’s no-fault auto insurance law, F.S. 627.736. Offering a maximum $10,000 for coverage primarily of medical bills (80 percent) and lost wages (60 percent), PIP is typically paid by your own auto insurer or the coverage provided by the driver of the vehicle in which you’re a passenger, unless you have your own. (It also often covers household members and minor children of the insured.) If you’re a bicyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist struck by a car in Collier and you don’t have your own PIP coverage (because you aren’t required to do so), you can collect PIP from the driver who struck you. Fault doesn’t matter. However, if your injuries are more serious and you want to step outside of the system to hold others accountable, you will need to prove negligence. If your injuries aren’t deemed emergent, the most you can collect from PIP is $2,000. Non-residents of Florida who do not have PIP coverage and are struck as pedestrians may have an easier time with claims for pain and suffering (not awarded via PIP) even without meeting the injury threshold, as noted by Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal in the 2001 case of Maldonado v. Allstate.
- Property Damage Liability. Florida motorists are required by law to maintain at least $10,000 in auto insurance coverage to pay for the cost of damages to other vehicles if they’re negligent in causing a crash. The claimant doesn’t need to pay a deductible. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you can ask your own insurer to pay if you have collision insurance, but you’ll likely be responsible for a deductible.
- Bodily Injury Liability. If your injuries are serious and the other driver was at-fault (wholly or partially), you can file a claim for compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurer for bodily injury liability coverage. Minimum bodily injury liability coverage in Florida is 10/20, or $10,000 per person and $20,000 per crash. This is rarely enough to fully cover damages in serious crashes, but the good news is many Florida drivers purchase higher limits. Note: Florida requires claimants meet a quantitative threshold, meaning your injuries are considered severe or disabling, to step outside the no-fault system and collect bodily injury liability coverage.
- Uninsured Motorist/ Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. F.S. 627.727 requires all auto insurers to offer drivers UM coverage standard with policies, though drivers can reject it in writing. Both UM and UIM coverage is smart because it covers you in the event the negligent driver in your Collier County car accident had no insurance, fled the scene and was never caught or didn’t have enough coverage to fully compensate your losses.
- Workers’ Compensation. This would apply in cases where you are involved in a crash while you are acting in the course and scope of employment. This could be driving from one job site to another or running an errand for your boss or meeting a client. It usually doesn’t include commuting to-and-from work but consult with an injury attorney to be sure; your case might meet an exception. Although no-fault workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy workers have against their employer, this doesn’t apply to independent contractors. Employees can additionally pursue a third-party liability claim if the other driver or someone else (not a co-worker) was responsible for the crash.
Often, we help clients negotiate a fair settlement before it’s necessary to file a lawsuit or well in advance of a civil injury trial. In addition to sharp disputes on issues of liability and damages, some additional complicating factors that could propel your case to litigation include severity of injuries, involvement of commercial vehicle/ driver, alleged government liability or multiple defendants named.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt, contact the Collier County car accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. You pay us no fees unless we win.