Car accidents in Immokalee, a small, rural community in unincorporated Collier County, Florida, may not occur as often as they do in more populated areas like Naples, but they can be no less catastrophic.
Once entirely swamplands inhabited by the Calusa Indians and later the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes, Immokalee became predominately agricultural once the swamps were drained. It’s sometimes referred to as, “America’s Tomato Capital” within the “Tomato Belt,” where workers (mostly Hispanic and Haitian) toil long, tedious hours.
Immokalee car accident attorneys at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, recognize that crashes here can be especially serious and victims face an uphill battle recovering damages for numerous reasons.Factors in Severity of Immokalee Car Accidents, Difficulty Recovering Damages
Some of the elements that play into both the severity of crashes as well as the difficulty in recovering damages following an Immokalee car accident include:
- Larger vehicles involved in collisions. For example, many crashes in Immokalee involve larger vehicles that service the farms and their workers, including commercial trucks, public transportation buses from the Collier Area Transit, company-owned vans and carpools, and farm equipment. There are also tour buses and vehicles that provide service to the Seminole-Immokalee casino and ecotourists visiting the nearby Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Crashes involving government or commercial vehicles can be more challenging from a civil lawsuit standpoint.
- Rural setting of crashes. Immokalee is mostly rural and agricultural, with the main road being State Road 29. Other important roads through the region are CR 846 and CR 29A. The National Highway Safety Administration reports drivers on rural roads die at a rate 2.5 times higher per mile traveled than on urban highways. Not only are rural roads narrower with more trees and ditches alongside, but people tend to drive faster and are less likely to wear seat belts. Farmworkers are sometimes seen riding in the beds of pickup trucks, which is also unsafe. Further, emergency medical care can be slower to arrive given the area’s remoteness.
- Uninsured or underinsured drivers. Auto insurance in Florida is expensive. The median annual income for households in Immokalee is $27,800, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, far below the national average, and roughly 45 percent of people in the area live in poverty. Florida overall has the No. 1 highest percent of uninsured drivers in the nation – 27 percent of the total, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office reportedly issued more than 830 citations in a year to drivers who lacked proof of insurance. Although Florida is a no-fault state for auto insurance, meaning drivers (excluding motorcyclists) are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay for medical bills and lost wages regardless of fault, those benefits still only extends a maximum of $10,000 in damages. That figure assumes your injuries are emergent, otherwise the most you can recover from PIP is $2,500, per F.S. 627.736. Florida drivers aren’t required to purchase UM/UIM coverage as outlined in F.S. 627.727, but in Immokalee, it’s a good idea.
Other problem areas on Immokalee roads are outlined by the primary law enforcement agency that provides road patrol here, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. Uniform Traffic Citation statistics from the sheriff’s office in a single recent year reveal:
- 3,600 citations issued for speeding, either in excess of the posted sign or too fast for conditions.
- 1,000+ citations issued for failing to stop at a stop sign or red light.
- 770 arrests for driving under the influence.
- 10 citations issued for racing on the highways.
Our Immokalee car accident attorneys understand these unique challenges, and we also have extensive experience in helping to secure full and fair compensation for our clients injured in these collisions.Recovering Damages After Immokalee Car Accident
Our approach in handling Immokalee car accident cases is not to settle as many as possible, but rather to obtain the best possible outcome for each client, even when that means an investment in longer, more difficult litigation. That said, it is often possible to secure a full and fair settlement payout without resorting to a lawsuit or trial, but it depends on the circumstances.
Compensation we’ll explore in your case includes:
- Personal injury protection (PIP). This is compensation from your own auto insurer, according to Florida’s no-fault insurance provisions.
- Property damage liability. Florida requires motorists to carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability coverage for damage they cause to other motorists’ vehicles. This is especially important if your vehicle is totaled and you owe more on it than its current value.
- Bodily injury liability coverage. If your injuries are severe, resulting in permanent disfigurement or disability, you can step outside the state’s no-fault system and file claims against at-fault drivers and other negligent third parties. Florida’s financial responsibility law requires motorists to cover at least $20,000 per crash for bodily injuries they cause (usually by way of insurance), but that often doesn’t go far and some drivers carry more (which is good news for you).
- UM/UIM coverage. This will be paid in cases where you are struck by a negligent driver with no insurance, who flees the scene or who lacks adequate insurance to fully cover your damages.
If you are injured in a car accident in Immokalee, contact our injury lawyers in Immokalee for information on how we may assist you.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt, contact the Immokalee car accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. You pay us no fees unless we win.