Can Modifying My Car Increase My Accident Risk and Contribute to Car Accident Liability?
Written by Shawn Diederich on August 31, 2016
Modifying an automobile can be exciting. It is a hobby that is enjoyed by many people throughout the state of Florida. However, all drivers must be aware of the fact that certain modifications could actually make their car significantly more dangerous. Further, an automobile modification could even have implications when it comes to liability for an accident. Before making a modification, it is imperative that you understand exactly how that alteration could affect you. If you have any questions about auto modifications and Florida car accidents, please contact an experienced Orlando car accident attorney for additional information.
Car Modifications: What are the Risks?
You could modify your automobile in countless different ways. Some modifications can be relatively minor, such as applying a new customized paint job, while other modifications can have a major impact on the performance or safety of a vehicle. Certain modifications are associated with both increased auto insurance premiums as well as higher accident risks. Specifically, the following is a list of auto modifications that are both relatively popular and potentially risky:
- Heavily tinted windows;
- Turbo boosters or a nitrous oxide system;
- Alterations to the transmission;
- Modified headlights;
- Uprated brakes; and
- Flared wings or wheel arches.
Car Modifications and Florida Accident Liability
Florida operates under the comparative negligence standard. This type of system has major implications for car accident liability. Put simply, in Florida, liability for a car accident is apportioned in direct relation to each party’s fault for the accident. Consider this quick example of how the comparative fault system works: imagine that you were involved in an Orlando car accident. After investigation, the following information is determined:
- You suffered $10,000 worth of damages; and
- You were at fault for 10 percent of the accident.
Under Florida law, because of your contribution to the accident, you would only be entitled to recover $9,000 in a car accident claim. Accident compensation will always be reduced in accordance with your percentage of blame. Clearly, this makes the assignment of blame extremely important. If investigators determine that a car modification contributed to an accident, increased fault is sure to follow. For example, under Florida law overly tinted windows are considered an illegal car modification. If you have overly tinted windows, and you collide with another driver, you should be ready for the opposing side to try to put blame on the windows. This could happen even if the windows were not actually a factor. Anytime you have a car modification, especially a prohibited or risky modification, you can expect the insurance company to make an issue of out it. This does not mean that you are not entitled to fair compensation though. Ultimately, if you are being unfairly blamed for an auto accident, you need to seek aggressive legal protection.
Contact Our Office Today
If you were involved in a car accident in Florida, and your car modification is being blamed, or you believe that another driver’s modification contributed to the accident, you need to speak to a lawyer immediately. Please contact our team of experienced car accident lawyers in Orlando today at (407) 270-3775 to schedule a free review of your case. At Diederich Law Firm, P.A. we represent car accident victims in Orlando and throughout Central Florida.