Have You Been Struck By A Distracted Driver?
Whether you are in a passenger vehicle, big rig, motorcycle, or on your feet, the specter of distracted drivers on Florida roads is a disturbing one. It is easy to feel protected to the point of immortality, particularly if you have never been in a car crash before. However, a driver operating their vehicle with little to no regard for those around them can throw that idea into sharp relief. Distracted driving is the main cause for countless accidents each year, and if you have been injured in one, you should be aware you have the right to seek money damages against the careless driver.
Attention On The Road!
Distracted driving is operating a vehicle without one’s full attention on the road, and while sometimes it may feel unavoidable for a brief second – for example, turning on the GPS to avoid getting lost – the less one engages in this practice, the better. There are three different types of attention – manual (keeping one’s hands on the wheel), visual (keeping one’s eyes on the road), and cognitive (keeping one’s attention on driving) – and if all three are not focused in the right way, it can lead to serious consequences.
There are several different types of distracted driving – eating, dealing with music or air conditioning, talking to passengers, and/or putting on makeup in the car are some of the most common. However, by far the most discussed distraction is texting and driving. Texting and driving is one of the few activities one can do in a car with the potential to take all three of your ‘attentions’ off the road. It is also one of the few explicitly barred by Florida law – being stopped while texting and driving will result in being cited for a moving violation, with consequences becoming more severe if it happens again.
Can I File Suit?
Florida is a no-fault state for auto insurance purposes, which means that unless one’s injuries in a crash pass a certain severity threshold, you cannot file suit against the person who (allegedly) caused you harm. Instead, you must fall back on the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that Florida law requires all drivers in the state to carry. Whether you were a passenger in a car or truck, or on your bicycle or on foot, you can use your PIP coverage to pay your medical bills (the policy follows you, so to speak; it does not ‘stick’ to one vehicle).
If your injuries are sufficiently serious, or if you were injured while riding your motorcycle, you may be able to file suit, as the tort immunity in Florida law does not apply to either of those situations (the state’s no-fault system only applies to vehicles with 4 wheels, not 2). If you do qualify to file suit, you may also qualify to request what are known as intangible damages – for things like pain and suffering or loss of quality of life. These are not guaranteed, but if your injuries are well established, there is a higher likelihood you will prevail.
Contact A Tampa Distracted Driving Attorney
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that over 3,000 people died as a result of distracted driving in the most recent available data year. This may not sound like much, but if it happens to you, the consequences can be devastating. The Tampa distracted driving attorneys from the Rinaldo Law Group can offer compassionate and knowledgeable representation for you and yours at what can be a very difficult time. Call our offices today for a free consultation.