Were You Struck By A Distracted Driver?
There are countless different causes for the automobile accidents that are common on Florida roads. However, one cause that has been getting more and more attention in recent years is distracted driving, whether because of texting while driving, or another potential diversion. Statistics show that distracted driving can play a large role in traffic crashes, and if you have been struck by one, it is important that you understand the role distraction can play in whether someone is negligent or not.
Texting & Other Causes
Distracted driving happens when literally any activity takes the driver’s attention off the road. Texting and driving has become law enforcement’s major anti-distraction focus in recent years, but there are a host of other things that a person does in their car that can be quite distracting. Examples include talking to passengers, putting on makeup, eating, adjusting the GPS or the music, and anything else that puts the driver’s focus inside the car, rather than outside. Texting is perhaps the most common culprit, with roughly 2800 lives lost nationwide in 2018 in accidents related to texting and driving.
Florida’s governor signed a ban on cell phone use while driving in 2014, but it made texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning that a policeman needed another, ‘primary’ reason to pull someone over. The law was updated and strengthened in 2019, making texting and driving a primary offense, so that more distracted drivers could be pulled over and cited. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to police other forms of distraction, and in rare circumstances, a distraction may have been completely unavoidable. Each case is different, which is why having an attorney to plan your strategy with can make all the difference.
If You Are Injured
Perhaps the most important thing to remember if you have been injured by a distracted driver is that Florida has a no-fault system of auto insurance, which means that instead of filing suit against the defendant driver, claims are made through your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. All Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 worth of PIP coverage and $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL) coverage, and if you are in an accident, you would file a claim with your insurer.
It is possible, in rare situations, to file suit against the driver, but Florida law only allows this if your injuries are sufficiently severe – generally, you must have suffered the “significant and permanent loss” of a bodily function or a limb, or another type of permanent injury, in order for the tort immunity to be lifted. If your injuries are less severe, but you have PIP coverage, you can file a claim with your insurer, or in some cases, with the defendant’s. Making these claims can be just as complex as filing suit, so ensuring you have an attorney to help can be a huge plus.
Call A Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer
Distracted driving has its costs, but no one ever expects to cause an accident – or, for that matter, be the victim of an accident. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, calling a Tampa car accident attorney at the Rinaldo Law Group can be a big step toward getting your medical bills dealt with and getting the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.