Local car accident lawyers specializing
in vision obstruction injury cases
In South Florida cities like Plantation, we have all had the experience of trying to make a left turn from a main street onto a smaller street. We are all trying to do this safely. We look at our intended path and see a median full of overgrown hedges, trees, and bushes. This blocks our vision of oncoming traffic headed in the opposite direction. Sometimes we are trying to make a turn from a smaller street onto a main street. Very often our vision of the traffic headed our way is obstructed by a sign, a fence, or even tall and wide power boxes. All of these hazards make it very tough for us to see the road clearly. If a collision occurs between vehicles on a road that has a vision obstruction, determining liability is not as straightforward as it often is in most other traffic accident cases. Plantation, Florida personal injury lawyers represent injured accident victims in obstructed vision cases.
Determining liability in an obstructed vision case
Obstructed vision accident cases differ from other traffic accident cases in that at least one additional party, other than the drivers directly involved, may be liable. The injured party may file a civil court claim and establish that an obstructed view contributed to the accident. Accident reconstructionists recreate the accident scene to better determine fault. If the court finds that the visual obstruction contributed to the accident, the party responsible for creating the vision obstruction may be legally responsible for compensating injured victims.
Examples of vision obstructions on the road
An obstruction to a driver's visibility on the road can come in many forms. Anything that blocks a driver's view of the road is considered an obstruction. Overgrown vegetation can make it difficult for drivers to see road signs, a parked vehicle or traffic approaching from the opposite direction. Even traffic signs can block a driver's line of sight. Other examples of obstructions include:
- highway construction signs
- construction crew materials
- rearview window hangings
- window tint
- cargo attached to the back of a vehicle
- cracked windshield
- excess passengers blocking the driver's view of the road
Obstructions inside the vehicle
Under Florida law, drivers are responsible for avoiding visibility obstructions that originate inside their vehicle. Drivers are not permitted to operate a vehicle that has signs or other materials attached to the windshield. Additionally, drivers may not affix material that blocks the driver's view from the rearview, rear or side mirrors, or from the window. It is important to note that Florida law does not prohibit drivers from hanging air fresheners and decorative items from the rearview mirror itself, as long as the driver maintains an obstructed view from the mirror itself.
Overloading a vehicle's interior with cargo or passengers can also obstruct a driver's visibility of the road. Sometimes drivers may seat passengers on each other's laps or otherwise use a vehicle's interior contrary to vehicle manufacturer recommendations. In other situations, a driver may overload the interior of the vehicle with grocery items, heavy furniture or pets. Drivers who position passengers or cargo in a way that obstructs visibility may be liable for damages in the event of a car accident.
Visibility obstructions outside the vehicle
Property owners generally have no duty to people who are not physically present on their property. However, there is an exception for cases in which a hazard originates on someone's property and extends to passersby. When objects on the road limit visibility, the party that installed or created the obstruction may be held liable. Property owners are responsible for maintaining trees and shrubs to prevent them from interfering with drivers' ability to see the road. Businesses and residents must avoid piling leaves and debris for curbside pickup in such a way that prevents drivers from seeing pedestrians and oncoming traffic. People who are injured in limited-visibility collisions may file a claim against a property owner if the property owner created a line-of-sight obstruction that caused a traffic accident.
Compensation in Plantation line-of-sight accidents
Victims who are injured in collisions caused by sight line obstruction may be entitled to compensation via insurance or through filing a civil court claim. Florida drivers are required to carry a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy to cover their own injuries in the event of an accident. PIPs are no-fault policies. Therefore, the process of receiving a payout does not prompt an investigation into who caused the accident. The injured party is usually required to file a claim immediately following an accident to receive compensation. PIPs are limited in their coverage; therefore, accident victims who suffer from extensive injuries typically file a claim under the other party's Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage. Florida does not require BIL coverage; therefore, an accident victim doesn't always have the option of filing a BIL claim. In the event that the other driver does not have BIL coverage, the accident victim may file a claim under his or her own Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist coverage, which is also optional in Florida. In many cases, car accident lawyers recommend obstructed visibility accident victims file a claim in civil court. Personal injury claims filed in civil court have the added advantage of giving victims the possibility of receiving compensation for:
- medical expenses
- present lost wages
- future lost wages
- emotional damages
Reach a Plantation vision obstruction attorney
In South Florida cities like Plantation, roadway obstructions are everywhere. Many times drivers in Plantation and other towns can’t see bikes, motorcycles, and pedestrians because of how high the landscapers and cities allowed the trees, bushes, plants, and hedges to grow. In South Florida it is hot and it rains often throughout the year. This is particularly true in Plantation. Florida law and regulations require that the hedges, trees, bushes, and plants in the roadway medians and along the sidewalks that travel with the roadways generally can be no higher than 2 feet above the pavement as measured from the pavement.
Please call The Ellsley Law Firm in Plantation if you have been injured on the roadway. Many times the reason for the car crash in Plantation is because the City of Plantation and its landscaping company have failed to timely and properly cut the trees, hedges, bushes, and plants along the roadway and in the medians.