Distracted Driving in Florida: Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim?
Distracted driving happens when a driver operates a motor vehicle while engaging in some other activity unrelated to operating the motor vehicle. Distracted driving often leads to motor vehicle accidents, which involve property damage, personal injury, and even death.
Perhaps the most common example of distracted driving is texting while driving. When a person uses a cell phone to send and receive text messages while he or she is operating a motor vehicle, the driver’s attention is torn between operating the motor vehicle and reading or replying to text messages. Like all other types of distracted driving, texting while driving can lead to accidents resulting in property damage, personal injury, and death.
Before we dive deeper into texting-while-driving accidents, though, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of distracted driving.
Common Types of Distracted Driving
Some of the most common types of distracted driving include:
- Texting while driving.
- Talking on a cell phone while driving.
- Eating or drinking while driving.
- Grooming (fixing your hair, applying makeup – even getting dressed) while driving.
- Engaging with passengers or even other nearby drivers while driving.
- Driving with a pet that is not secured in a crate or special pet seat belt attachment.
- Using a navigation or GPS system while driving.
- Adjusting an MP3 player, CD player, or the radio while driving.
- Reading while driving, including text messages, navigation screens, and maps.
- Watching or listening to a video such as a DVD while driving.
So, even though texting while driving might be one of the most well-known cases of distracted driving, you can see it is certainly not the only example.
Remember, taking your eyes and your attention off the road for any period of time can lead to a motor vehicle accident, and if that accident involves a passenger or another driver, you could be held liable – due to your negligence – for personal injuries or death sustained as a result of the accident.
Also Read : 4 Important FAQs with Personal Injury Cases
Texting-While-Driving Laws in Florida
Of all the examples of distracted driving, texting while driving might be on the highest rise.
For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 660,000 drivers across America use cell phones or manipulate other types of electronic devices while they are driving at any given moment during daylight hours, and this number has held steady since 2010.
A little closer to home, Florida statutes state:
“A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of non-voice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging.”
Simply put, it is illegal to text while you’re driving in Florida. If you do, you put yourself and others at risk for motor vehicle accidents resulting in personal injury and even death, and you will face the highest penalties possible by law.
Proving Your Texting-While-Driving Accident Case
Because Florida’s law on texting while driving is a “secondary law,” it means a police officer can only cite offenders for texting while driving if they have pulled them over for witnessing some other violation. For example, if a driver runs a stop sign while texting, then the police officer can pull the driver over for running the stop sign, but not for texting while driving. Generally, if he or she determines the driver was texting while he ran the stop sign, then he or she can then cite the driver for texting while driving.
What happens if the person causes a motor vehicle accident because he or she was texting while driving?
Typically, the police officer who arrives at the scene will be able to determine texting while driving was a factor in the accident; however, if the officer does not cite the offender for texting while driving, an attorney can subpoena the at-fault party’s cell phone records to determine whether or not the driver was sending and/or receiving text messages when the accident occurred.
(Of course, we have to keep in mind receiving text messages does not necessarily mean the driver was reading them; a much stronger case can be built upon whether the driver actually was sending text messages while driving.)
The bottom line is that, in Florida, personal injury cases are based on negligence. If a person is texting while driving, then he or she is acting negligently, making them both criminally and civilly liable for the personal liability case.
Compensation for a Texting-While-Driving Accident
A skilled attorney with experience in texting-while-driving accident cases will work to get you compensation for factors including, but not limited to:
- Medical bills, including ambulance rides, emergency care, hospitalization, and long-term care.
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs.
- Lost wages due to an inability to attend work.
- Any disabilities sustained as a result of the accident.
- Wrongful death as a result of the accident.
Remember, every case is different. You may suffer special injuries and personal losses aside from those listed above, and your attorney can work on getting you the most compensation possible for those.
Are You the Victim of a Texting-While-Driving Accident?
The attorneys at Glotzer & Kobren have assisted numerous distracted driving accident victims, including those who are victims of texting-while-driving accidents.
Glotzer & Kobren will review the facts of your texting-while-driving accident during a free consultation and, whether it comes to a settlement negotiation or a court appearance, we will represent you to the fullest and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, visit glotzerlaw.com or contact Glotzer & Kobren, P.A. at 561-300-6900 to discuss your rights. Serving Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach & throughout Florida.