Distracted Driving Accidents In Florida
With recent initiatives trying to curb texting and driving, it is easy to forget that any time you are behind the wheel and driving is not your primary focus counts as distracted driving. Texting and driving is decidedly dangerous (and in quite a few cases can count as proof of negligent conduct) but at the same time, attention needs to be brought to other distracted driving issues. If you are involved in an accident with a driver you believe to have been distracted, you may have a good case to collect compensation for your injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that around 10 percent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver – but only 14 percent of the distracted drivers were classified as having been on their cellphones. Texting and driving is only one of the top causes of negligence-related accidents, with several others being cited by law enforcement. Some include:
- Using social media or taking photos (generally, other uses of a smartphone);
- Talking to or dealing with problems for other passengers, especially young children;
- Doing makeup or skin care;
- ‘Rubbernecking’ or slowing down to view something outside your vehicle;
- Fiddling with navigation systems or music players; and
- Anything else that takes your attention away from the road.
Any of these can be just as distracting as texting, but few of these behaviors are stigmatized or proscribed under Florida law. It is up to the individual driver to be extra vigilant about letting their guard down on the road, because it only takes one moment to lose focus.
While no auto accident is an optimal situation, being in an accident due to the negligence of another person adds insult to injury. In order to establish negligence on the part of a driver who hits you in a standard accident, you would normally have to prove several criteria in order for a court to be able to find that driver liable. In the event that you were struck by a distracted driver, you may in theory only need to prove one chain of facts – that the defendant acted in a certain way that injured you, the plaintiff, and broke a law in doing so. If you can show that the defendant’s actions broke the law and injured someone that the law was meant to protect, they are by definition liable. This doctrine is referred to as negligence per se.
So, for example, if your car is struck by a car belonging to someone who texts as she drives, causing you injury. The texting driver has broken the law against texting while driving, and the law against texting & driving is designed to protect the general populace (thus, everyone). Since you are a member of the class the law is designed to protect, the distracted driver is negligent per se. This can greatly ease the burden of proof that you would have to meet in order to recover any compensation from the person whose car struck yours.
Contact A Tampa Distracted Driving Attorney
If a driver is distracted, they can cause serious pain and suffering to anyone else on the road. After an accident like this, you need dedicated and knowledgeable representation to guide you through the process of making claims, and if need be, bringing suit. The Tampa car accident attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group are ready and willing to try and help you through what can be a confusing and scary time. Contact our office today for a free consultation.