Cutting someone off in traffic can happen regularly in the State of Florida and, in some cases, can be completely accidental. However, they can still cause serious injuries and property damage to the drivers involved. If you’ve caused a car accident by cutting someone off, you’ll likely be wondering what you need to do at the scene of the crime, as well as after the accident occurs, in order to protect your legal rights.
Here at The Law Place, we’re a Florida law firm committed to offering excellent service to our clients statewide. We specialize in car accidents, both from a personal injury and a criminal defense standpoint. We can defend you against any criminal charges and can even help you to claim compensation for any injuries or damages you have suffered.
Book your free consultation today with an experienced traffic accident lawyer near you at (941) 444-4444.
Why Do These Types of Accidents Occur?
Rear-end collisions are particularly common in the State of Florida. They can be especially dangerous because they can cause a chain reaction of rear-end crashes as traffic begins to pile up in front of you or behind you. There are many situations that can lead to this type of accident, including:
- The driver in front of you not paying attention.
- A driver or pedestrian sitting in your blind spot.
- Pulling away too quickly at a red light or stop sign.
- Running a red light or stop sign and driving into oncoming traffic.
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What to Do if You Cut Someone Off and They Crash
If you’ve caused a car accident by cutting someone off, there is a process you’ll need to follow in order to protect your health and your legal rights. Being aware of your rights and obligations in this scenario can help limit any liability you may face.
If you cut someone off and you are responsible for causing an accident, you will need to:
Remain at the Scene of the Accident
Even if you’ve caused an accident, you’ll need to remain at the scene until you have fulfilled your legal obligations. According to Florida Statute 316.062, you are required to remain with your vehicle until you have provided information to law enforcement officers, including your name, address, driver’s license, and vehicle registration. However, you do not have to give any self-incriminating evidence that could violate your Fifth Amendment right.
If no police officers have arrived, it is your duty to report that an accident happened to the nearest branch of law enforcement.
In addition, you are obligated to render aid to the other driver involved in the accident. This can include escorting them away from harm, calling an ambulance, or ensuring that they receive medical help. However, you should also be careful not to cause any more harm, as you could be liable for more damages if your aid contributes to their injuries.
It can be intimidating to stay and face the consequences after an accident. However, if you fail to stop after causing a car crash, you could face more serious legal consequences. This will be considered a hit and run, and if you flee the scene of the crime, you could be charged with:
- A second-degree misdemeanor according to Florida Statute 316.061.
- A third-degree felony if you cause minor injuries to another individual.
- A second-degree felony if you cause serious injuries to another individual.
- A first-degree felony if someone was killed.
See a Medical Professional
The most important thing after an accident is to ensure that you are safe and well. You should get treated for any injuries by paramedics at the scene, as well as visiting a hospital or doctor to make sure you have not been seriously harmed.
According to Florida Statute 627.736, if you intend to claim any personal injury compensation or make a claim against the other driver, you will need to see a medical professional regarding your injuries within 14 days of the accident. So, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor just in case more serious injuries appear, and you need to make a claim later on.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
The first thing you should do after you’ve left the scene of the incident and been treated for your injuries is to contact a criminal defense attorney who specializes in car accidents. You could be facing liability for the incident, which may result in the other driver filing a claim or a lawsuit against you. If this is the case, you’ll need to find legal representation as soon as possible in order to start to build a strong legal defense in your favor.
Contact Your Insurance Company
If you have cut someone off or rear-ended someone and caused a traffic accident, most insurance companies require you to report this within 24 hours. However, even if you believe you were responsible for causing your accident, you should never admit fault to anyone at the scene of the incident or to any insurance adjusters. Admitting that the accident was your fault could mean you will need to pay a higher amount of damages. It could also limit the level of compensation you could be entitled to.
It’s best to seek legal advice and find an experienced attorney to represent you before you speak to your insurance company. They will handle all legal communications, fill out all paperwork and ensure you don’t do anything to harm your case.
What Are the Penalties for Causing an Accident by Cutting Someone Off?
The exact penalties you may receive for this type of accident depend on the exact circumstances of your case. For example, your penalties could be affected by factors including:
- Whether or not you stopped to render aid and provide information.
- Whether you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Whether you fell asleep at the wheel.
- Whether you were driving recklessly or engaging in road rage.
- Whether or not someone became seriously injured as a result of the accident.
- Whether you caused property damage.
It can be intimidating to face any of these charges. However, you should never assume that your case is set in stone. By working with a car accident criminal defense attorney, you could have your charges downgraded or even dropped altogether.
How Can a Lawyer Defend Me for Cutting Someone Off?
If you are charged with causing an accident by cutting someone off, you may be worried about the legal consequences you may face. However, there are a number of ways a car accident lawyer could defend you in order to have your charges downgraded or dropped. These could include:
- Denying total liability – It may be the case that you were not completely at fault for the accident. In fact, it is common for more than one party to have contributed to the cause or severity of a traffic incident in Florida. Therefore, your lawyer could argue that the other driver was also guilty of negligence, making them partially liable and reducing the share of fault attributed to you.
- Questioning police treatment – Police officers have a set protocol they must follow when arriving at the scene of an accident, as well as arresting or charging suspects. If officers did not properly follow this protocol or if they used unnecessary force to subdue you, your charges could be downgraded or dropped.
- Questioning equipment used – If you caused an accident after drinking alcohol and you were breathalyzed at the scene, your lawyer could call into question the accuracy of the results.
- Using new evidence – Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into your accident by using video evidence, witness testimonies, and even experts who can reconstruct the crash. This could shed light on other individuals who may have been liable or could even point to unsafe weather or road conditions being the cause of the incident.
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Can I Claim Compensation for an Accident if I Cut Someone Off?
If you cut someone off on the road and the other driver became injured, they will likely make a personal injury claim against you. However, even if this is the case, you should never assume that you are not entitled to receive any compensation for the car accident.
There are a number of avenues you can pursue in order to claim compensation:
Make a Personal Injury Claim Using Your PIP Insurance
According to Florida Statute 627.736, in the State of Florida, every driver is required to possess:
- $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
- $10,000 in Property Damage Liability insurance.
Therefore, if you get into an accident, you’ll be able to make a claim to your insurance company to receive PIP benefits even if the accident was your fault.
File Claim or Lawsuit Against the Other Driver
Even if you caused an accident by cutting someone off, you might not be completely liable for the accident. In fact, the other driver could share a large portion of the liability. For example, you may have cut them off, but they could also have been driving recklessly or committing another traffic crime, such as driving under the influence.
If this is the case, you can work with a car accident attorney to file a claim or lawsuit against any individual involved in your accident.
Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law
If the other driver involved in your accident decides to file a claim or a lawsuit against you, all hope is not lost, and you could still be entitled to compensation.
Florida operates under a Comparative Negligence law as described in Florida Statute 768.81. Under this principle, determining fault for an accident is done proportionately. So, both drivers will be assigned a percentage of fault out of 100%. Then, total damages will be split between them on this basis. So, for example, if another driver sues you, but they were found to be 20% to blame, you will receive 20% of these damages. However, you will still be required to pay the remaining 80%.
What Compensation Could I Receive for a Rear-End Collision?
Exactly what compensation you receive will depend on the specifics of your case. However, with the help of an experienced attorney, you could receive compensation for damages, including:
- Medical bills.
- Vehicle damage and property damage.
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of consortium.
- Lost wages and earning potential.
Contact The Law Place – Car Accident Attorneys
If you’ve caused an accident by cutting someone off on a Florida road or highway, get in touch with The Law Place for legal advice and support.
You should never assume that you are 100% liable for a collision. By looking at your case from a fresh perspective, we can build a solid legal defense against any liability you may face. We can also help you to claim compensation for your accident, depending on your circumstance.
Promoting a positive attorney-client relationship is one of our core values here at The Law Place. We make sure you’re completely satisfied with the lawyer who will be representing you by offering a free case evaluation before you commit to working with us.
To book your free consultation and to see how we can help, contact our office today at (941) 444-4444.