By: KGD Law
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Who’s At-Fault in a Blind Spot Accident?
Florida right-of-way laws put the duty of care on all drivers to avoid an accident. That means bicycles, motorcycles, compact cars, and semi-trucks are all equally responsible in the mission to avoid accidents. This is regardless of whose fault it is. Of course, fault is what determines criminal and civil action against the people involved. It is everyone’s responsibility to try to avoid being hit. With that said, most people know about blind spots. Who is at-fault in a blind spot accident falls on the person who was not paying attention and caused the collision.
Where is Your Blind Spot?
The blind spot is any place you cannot see with your mirrors or eyes while driving without turning your head to look specifically at the area. This spot is typically located behind the rear taillight on the driver’s or passenger’s side. It also appears frequently at any corner of the vehicle that is blocked by windshield pillars or other parts of the vehicle. Drivers that stay alert and constantly aware of other vehicles on the road are less-susceptible to accidents caused by these blind spots.
How Do You Check Your Blind Spot?
Properly adjusting your mirrors is one way to lessen your blind spot. Your side mirrors should show you more of the road than the side of your vehicle. Your rear view mirror should be positioned so you can see clearly out of the back window. These mirrors should be checked every 3 to 5 seconds, and it is this active eye gazing that keeps you situationally aware.
There are also some gadgets that can be used to reduce blind spots, such as mirror extensions or blind spot detectors. The detectors use radar or cameras to give an alert to drivers that there is a vehicle in the blind spot.
Most importantly, it is important to turn your head and check your blind spot when you are changing lanes. It is your responsibility to make sure the path is clear where you are headed. If you cannot effectively check your blind spot, you should not merge. If you hit someone, you are likely at-fault in a blind pot accident.
How to Adjust Mirrors
It is surprising how many people do not have their mirrors adjusted for optimal views. This may be because they don’t know how. It may also be because multiple people use the vehicle. Re-adjusting constantly may seem like a pain, but people should take the time to adjust their mirrors to avoid motor vehicle accidents.
In the average personal commuter vehicle, the mirror should be adjusted for a clear and central view out the rear view window. The side mirrors are the tricky part when it comes to adjustment.
When adjusting the driver side mirror from the driver’s seat, lean your head so it barely touches the window. Then, adjust the mirror so you can see a sliver of the side of the vehicle but only road beyond that. Next, lean your body equally toward the passenger side of the vehicle. Adjust the passenger side mirror until you can barely see that side of the vehicle. This should eliminate most of the blind spot.
After you have your mirrors adjusted, it is time to test your blind spot. When you are driving down the road, take note of vehicles passing you. Watch them in your rear view mirror. As soon as they leave that field of view, check the appropriate side mirror. If you can see them the entire time, you’ve eliminated your blind spot. If they leave your view, know that that area is still a point of vulnerability.
Even if you feel you have perfectly eliminated your blind spot, it is still wise to turn your head. There is always room for error. The only way to be sure your blind spot is clear is to check it out for yourself.
How to Avoid Driving in Blind Spots
As Florida law states, it is everybody’s responsibility to avoid accidents. This means you should avoid driving in blind spots whenever possible. Part of this is knowing where common blind spots are. It also involves understanding that the larger a vehicle is, the larger the blind spot is. If you are driving near a semi-truck, try not to “camp out” near the rear portion of their vehicle for extended periods of time. Pay even more attention to campers and other recreational vehicles. Those operators may not be used to driving such a big vehicle. When you are working on knowing where your vehicle is, it can be difficult to also pay attention to the other drivers on the road. This does not eliminate fault, but it reduces risk.
Your Size Matters Too
If you are driving a small vehicle, a motorcycle, or a bicycle, it is crucial that you pay attention to blind spots. Your life could depend on it. Although drivers are required to look for all sized vehicles, the reality is that motorcycles and bicycles are often not seen. Use the same ideas mentioned above to make yourself seen. Avoid staying in people’s blind spots for any length of time.
What to Do if You Are in a Blind Spot Accident
Make sure you take pictures and get any eyewitness contact information. Florida is a comparative negligence state, any evidence which shows you were not at fault can be used to obtain the full value of your case.
If you are injured, make sure you get medical care. Yes, this will amount to medical bills. These will be reimbursed if you are found not-at-fault. The unseen damage to your body in a vehicle accident can cause years of pain if not treated.
Lastly, secure the help of an attorney who is experienced in personal injury law. This may seem like an early step since insurance companies have not even started their claims. It is necessary to get this part done immediately. Your lawyers will follow up with eyewitnesses and make sure they have all the information you need, should you end up in court on either side of a case.
If You Were in a Blind Spot and Hit, You May Have a Case
If you were hurt in an accident, you should be compensated for all of the losses you suffered due to the accident. This could be missed work, missed vacation, or pain and suffering during treatment and in the future. Don’t neglect to consider these things, and speak with your lawyer to make sure you are awarded fair compensation for what you actually suffered.
If you would like no-obligation legal advice, contact the Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff & Diaz. Speak directly to a lawyer who is experience in personal injury law.