Have You Been Injured By A Distracted Driver?
Distracted driving has been recognized as one of the most potentially dangerous behaviors that a driver can engage in on the road. If you have been in an accident involving a distracted driver, know that you do have options to try and recover for your medical bills and your other damages. If you can establish that the driver was distracted, you may have even more options than you might otherwise have in a standard negligence case.
Varying Degrees of Danger
There are several different types of distraction for drivers – examples include changing the GPS or the radio, eating, talking to passengers, and watching events outside of your vehicle. There are three types of distraction – manual, which involves physically taking one’s hands off the wheel; visual, which takes one’s eyes off the road; and cognitive, which takes one’s mind off the road. Different distractions will affect different senses, with the most dangerous obviously being those which take the most attention off the road.
By far the most common distraction seen to cause accidents is texting and driving, which can qualify as all three types. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that someone using a cellphone is 23 times more likely to cause an accident than someone who is driving without distraction, with up to 400,000 people involved in distracted driving-related accidents in any given year. It can be easy for the average person to think they are the exception, that they can take their eyes or their mind off the road, but too often this is disproved in a tragic way.
Negligence Per Se
If you have been in an accident with a driver you believe was on their phone, or otherwise distracted, at the time of the crash, one of the most important things to be aware of is that you may be able to take advantage of a doctrine known as negligence per se. In a normal negligence-based case, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant was negligent in order to recover, and to establish that, it must be shown that the defendant breached their duty to exercise reasonable care toward the plaintiff with their actions (or lack of action).
Negligence per se is a doctrine which states that if someone breaks a law designed to protect a class of people, and injures a person of that class, they are negligent as a matter of law. So, for example, Florida’s laws against driving under the influence are designed to protect other people on the road. If someone drives drunk (breaking the law) and injures another driver or pedestrian on the road, they will automatically be deemed negligent, instead of the plaintiff having to establish that fact affirmatively.
Call A Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer
Both the state of Florida and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have mounted distracted driving information campaigns in recent years, and at this point, being aware of the dangers should be expected. If you have been injured by a driver whose focus was not on the road, calling a Tampa car accident attorney at the Rinaldo Law Group is important. Our offices are happy to try and assist you – call us today for a free consultation.