Texting and driving is a huge problem in Florida and throughout the United States. Drivers who are distracted on their phones while driving often end up causing serious accidents. In an effort to combat this problem, Florida passed a law in 2013 that bans texting and driving. Florida was one of the last states to pass this law.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,154 people were killed and an estimated 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013. In April, the NHTSA launched a “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign that focused on the financial consequences and expenses of texting and driving. The United States Department of Transportation also coined a slogan to raise awareness about texting and driving: “if you’re texting, you’re not driving.”
Under Florida law, if a driver in the state is suspected of committing a traffic violation while texting, that driver can be fined up to $60. However, a person will only be fined for texting and driving as a secondary offense when coupled with the suspicion of another traffic violation. It is important to note that the statute’s express language says that a driver will not be penalized if the vehicle is parked or temporarily stopped. Another exception is if an individual is communicating with law enforcement about suspicious or dangerous activity.
An individual who causes accidents because he or she was texting and driving likely will be considered negligent under Florida law. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care while driving. Reasonable care is defined as how a prudent person would act in the same or similar circumstances. As such, what is considered ‘reasonable’ will vary based on the situation. The relevant question to consider when determining negligence is whether the individual’s conduct caused the type of harm that was foreseeable. In the context of texting and driving, it is foreseeable that if an individual is focused on their phone and not on the road, there is a high likelihood of an accident.
In order to win on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate the following elements: i) the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care; ii) the defendant breached this duty; iii) the breach resulted in an accident; and iv) the plaintiff suffered quantifiable damages as a direct result of the defendant’s breach. Proving the cause of an accident can be extremely challenging when it comes to texting and driving cases. This is why Florida law permits the billing record of a wireless user to be used in accident cases if the suspected cause of the wreck was texting and driving.
If you were hurt in an accident by someone who was texting and driving, you can potentially recover compensation for your injuries. The exact amount of compensation will vary depending on the nature and extent of your harm. Typically, a plaintiff can seek medical expenses, lost income and benefits, rehabilitation costs, property damage, and any other costs stemming from the accident.
At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we have years of experience helping South Florida clients resolve their personal injury claims, and we can help you as well. Distracted driving accidents can be challenging to prove, which is why it is important to consult a qualified Miami car accident attorney who understands how to proceed with such cases. To find out about your options, contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878).
More Blog Posts:
The “Relation Back” Doctrine in Florida Injury Cases, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, April 29, 2015
Punitive Damages in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, April 29, 2015