Bagen Law Firm | January 16, 2023 | Car Accidents
In addition to operating their vehicles safely and carefully at all times, car operators and owners have to take their vehicles in for regular inspections. When vehicles do not undergo safety inspections regularly, they can malfunction while out on the road, causing severe accidents and possible personal injuries and property damage.
According to federal law, each state must establish vehicle safety and emissions testing laws. Moreover, under the laws of many states, vehicle owners must take their vehicles in for inspection once per year. The primary purpose of these laws is to keep poorly maintained and dangerous vehicles off state roadways and, indirectly, to limit the possibility of motor vehicle crashes that may result.
Although vehicle inspection and emissions testing laws in Florida are relatively lenient compared with other states throughout the country, car drivers and owners must comply with these laws as a matter of safety. Moreover, in some circumstances, an insurance company may require an owner to take their vehicle in for inspection every so often. Otherwise, they will not ensure the vehicle.
If you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle crash that resulted from a driver’s failure to maintain their vehicle, you can take legal action, depending upon the circumstances.
An experienced car accident attorney can review the circumstances of your accident and determine your legal options for moving forward. In some instances, you can file a claim with your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company seeking monetary compensation for related property damage or personal injuries.
Once you retain an experienced car accident lawyer for representation, they can assist you during every stage of your case, from claims filing up to a jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding. Your lawyer will aggressively fight for your right to recover the monetary compensation you deserve for all of your personal injuries and other related damages.
What Happens During a Vehicle Inspection Test?
In some states, vehicle inspections include tests for emissions and safety.
When performing a vehicle safety test, facilities will typically test:
- Car horns
- Braking systems
- Tail lights
- Vehicle tires
Moreover, in some states, vehicle owners must submit their vehicles to carbon emissions or smog tests. This emissions test aims to determine if the vehicle is a gross polluter. In most areas, these tests are routine, and if a vehicle fails one or both of these tests, the owner may need to pay a fine and take their vehicle in for re-testing before they can drive it on the road again.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Vehicle Inspections?
As you can imagine, vehicle inspections have both advantages and disadvantages. The potential benefits of vehicle inspections include economic benefits, helping local businesses including repair facilities and the state budget. Another potential benefit is safety, given that vehicles that regularly undergo inspection are less likely to malfunction and cause serious roadway accidents.
Some of the detriments of vehicle inspections include the fact that many vehicles do not need them. Consequently, car owners become subject to unnecessary fees and expenses. These inspections may also prove detrimental for low-income families who often possess older vehicles. These families may be unable to afford a newer vehicle, and their older vehicle may not pass an inspection.
The Current State of Florida Vehicle Inspection Programs
In the 1980s, Florida vehicle owners had to take their vehicles in for safety inspections annually. During the safety inspection, a repair facility will check the vehicle’s brakes, tires, and other components. Beginning in the early 1990s, vehicle owners also had to take their cars in for emissions testing. However, by July 1, 2000, the then-governor eliminated the requirement for emissions testing, receiving significant pushback from environmental organizations.
Florida does not require an annual vehicle inspection for most vehicles. However, in two situations, Florida does require a vehicle inspection when an individual purchases a used vehicle in Florida or if they purchase a new vehicle outside of Florida.
When a Florida vehicle owner must take their vehicle in for inspection, these inspections are significantly relaxed, and an inspector only needs to physically examine the vehicle. In most instances, a mechanic or a police officer can validly perform the necessary inspection. To ensure that the police have not listed your car as stolen, the inspector will also track your vehicle’s identification number (VIN) and license plate number.
Regarding cost, some mechanics and other inspectors will not charge a monetary fee especially if you take your vehicle in for some other service. However, other inspectors may set a maximum monetary fee of $100 to perform the inspection.
What Types of Accidents May Result from Negligent Vehicle Maintenance?
When drivers negligently fail to maintain their vehicles and have them inspected regularly, they might malfunction while out on the road, causing severe accidents, injuries, and property damage. This is especially true when drivers fail to maintain their vehicle’s braking systems, steering components, transmissions, and lighting mechanisms, including their headlights and tail lights.
When vehicle owners and drivers do not maintain their vehicles properly, serious accidents may occur. Some of the most common types of accidents include rear-end collisions, sideswipe accidents, head-on collisions, and T-bone accidents.
A rear-end collision occurs when the front of one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle. These accidents may occur if a vehicle’s brakes are faulty. Similarly, sideswipe accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles traveling in the same direction strike one another. These accidents are common on multi-lane highways and roadways. A sideswipe accident may occur when a driver fails to maintain the turn signals on their vehicle or the steering mechanism is faulty.
On the other hand, a head-on collision happens when the fronts of two vehicles traveling in opposite directions strike one another. These accidents can occur when drivers fail to observe the road or when a mechanical component in their vehicle malfunctions.
Finally, a broadside accident, or T-bone collision, happens when the front of one vehicle hits the side of an adjacent vehicle sometimes causing the second vehicle to spin around or overturn in the middle of a traffic intersection. These accidents may occur when a driver attempts to stop but cannot do so due to faulty brakes.
If you sustained personal injuries or property damage in one of these accidents that resulted from another vehicle’s mechanical failure, you are not alone. A knowledgeable car accident attorney can discuss the circumstances of your accident with you, obtain copies of police reports and witness statements, and determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit with the appropriate insurance company. Your lawyer can assist you throughout the entire claims-filing process and work to recover the total monetary damages you need and deserve.
What Types of Injuries Can Accident Victims Suffer in a Crash?
When negligent drivers fail to maintain their vehicles properly, and a severe accident occurs, accident victims may sustain debilitating injuries that require them to seek ongoing medical treatment. The injuries that an accident victim suffers usually depend on the way their body moves in the vehicle during the crash.
Some motor vehicle crashes are so forceful that they cause a part of the accident victim’s body to strike something in their vehicle, like the headrest, door frame, window, steering wheel, or dashboard. The accident victim’s body might also move back and forth abruptly, causing them to suffer a soft tissue neck or back injury.
The force of a car collision might also cause an accident victim to sustain traumatic head and brain injuries, bone fractures, internal organ injuries, bruises, spinal cord damage, and full or partial paralysis.
The most important step you can take following a car accident is to seek immediate medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or local urgent care center. The medical doctor on duty can examine you and evaluate your medical condition. Depending on your diagnosis, the doctor can make a treatment plan or refer you to specialists who can conduct further testing. The treatment process can be long, costly, and time-consuming for many injuries.
While you focus all of your attention on getting better, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you handle the legal aspects of your case. For example, your lawyer may begin gathering property damage photographs, injury photographs, medical treatment records, medical bills, and lost wage documents from your employer.
After your medical treatment is complete or you know what ongoing treatment you will need, your attorney can submit these documents to the appropriate insurance company and begin settlement negotiations on your behalf. If the insurance company does not offer you the full and fair damages you deserve for your injuries, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit in court and seek a favorable conclusion.
What Damages Can I Recover for Personal Injuries in a Car Accident?
If you sustained injuries in a car accident that resulted from mechanical defects on another vehicle, you might be eligible to pursue and recover various monetary damages, either from your own insurance company or from the at-fault driver’s insurer, depending upon the circumstances. A knowledgeable lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize your monetary compensation and become whole again, to the greatest extent possible, after your accident.
The damages you may recover in your case will depend upon various factors, including the extent of your property damage, the physical injuries you sustained, the circumstances surrounding your accident, and the cost of your medical treatment.
Accident victims may be eligible to recover monetary damages for all of the following:
- Related medical expenses, including the cost of hospital visits, doctor appointments, surgical procedures, and physical therapy sessions
- Lost earnings if you had to miss time from work to attend your medical appointments.
- Loss of earning capacity if you had to switch jobs and take a pay cut due to the injuries you sustained in your accident.
- Past and future inconvenience, pain, and suffering, stemming from your accident-related injuries.
- Mental anguish and emotional distress, such as if you suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the trauma from your accident
- Loss of life enjoyment if your quality of life significantly decreased due to the injuries you suffered in your accident.
- Loss of the ability to use a body part, such as from a full or partial paralysis injury
- Permanent disfigurement or disability if a medical provider determines to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that you suffered an injury that is unlikely to heal over time.
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium if your injuries limit your ability to have sexual relations with a spouse.
Many of these damages are difficult to calculate, and insurance companies will undervalue your intangible losses. Have a lawyer advocating for the full damages you deserve.
Call a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney to Assist You With Your Claim or Lawsuit Today
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligent vehicle maintenance, you should speak with a skilled car accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible. In both injury and property damage claims, time is of the essence.
This is because Florida accident victims only have four years after their accident to file a claim or lawsuit seeking the appropriate damages. The clock starts running on the accident date and expires precisely four years later. If the accident victim files their lawsuit belatedly in court, a judge will dismiss their case, preventing them from recovering any monetary compensation for their injuries.
You should not have the course of your life take a different path because someone else negligently did not properly maintain their car. Most people understand that victims who are represented by a lawyer receive more compensation than those who do not.
Your Florida car inspection lawyer can help you pursue the personal injury and property damage compensation you deserve by filing a timely claim with the appropriate insurance company. If necessary, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf in the court system and work to recover the full and fair damages that you deserve.