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Delayed Car Accident Deaths Present Litigation Challenges

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009 Florida had 2,369 auto accidents that resulted in the death of the driver, a passenger or a pedestrian. This statistic gave Florida the unwanted distinction of being the third most deadly state for roadway accidents. The only two states with more traffic related fatalities were Texas and California, both of which had nearly 2,800 fatalities that year.

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It is distressing whenever someone is injured in a car crash, but it is tragic whenever an accident results in the loss of a loved one. People are often left wondering if the death could have been prevented, or if it is the consequence of another's actions.

Anyone who believes another party caused the wrongful death of a loved one should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately - compensation may be available for your loss.

Delayed traffic fatalities on the rise

Most traffic fatalities occur at the scene of an accident or shortly thereafter at a medical facility. However, many injuries are not apparent until time has passed. For example, there have been cases where an individual has walked away from a car accident with only a few cuts or bruises, but later learns that more serious conditions can be traced back to the crash.

Florida Today reports that these delayed injuries/fatalities have been a rising trend this year in numerous counties. A good illustration of this is Brevard County where nearly one-third of the 33 fatal accidents investigated by the authorities were classified as "delayed fatalities."

Delayed fatalities pose litigation and enforcement challenges

Florida Today also reports that the physician who assesses a person's injuries determines the extent of an investigation. If the injuries are severe, or if the doctors believe a patient might die from his or her injuries, then a more in-depth investigation takes place.

This creates problems for law enforcement because an at-fault driver is usually given a citation if injuries are classified as minor at the scene. If more serious injuries - death included - reveal themselves at a later time, police cannot file criminal charges because double jeopardy rules apply.

Civil claims are equally affected because valuable evidence might be lost if an in-depth investigation is not done immediately. As a result, it is important to contact an experienced car crash lawyer as soon after an accident as possible to preserve any immediate or future legal claims.

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