Usually, accidents occur due to distracted drivers- they never seem to let go of using their cell phone while driving. In recent years, the number of distracted drivers has increased mainly because of advancements in smart phones. However, eating and drinking while driving has also become a detriment of car accidents. These bad habits can cause severe injuries that can result in long term treatment and care. The following list below is evidence that may be used by our personal injury attorneys when handling car accident cases:
- Traffic camera and video footage
- Official cell phone records
- Phone usage timestamp
- Prior tickets or infringes
- Food or beverage receipts
What is Distracted Driving?
Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction while driving.
What are Some Examples of Distracted Driving?
• Sending a text message
• Talking on a cell phone
• Using a navigation system
• Eating while driving
• Talking to others in your vehicle
What are the Consequences of Distracted Driving?
|Drunk Driving Accidents||Road Rage Car Accidents|
|Head-on Collisions||Rollover Accidents|
|Rear-end Car Accidents||Left Turn Accidents|
|T-Bone Car Accidents||Failure to Yield Car Accidents|
|Sideswipe Accidents||Merging Accidents|
|Lane Change Accidents||Construction Zone Car Accidents|
|Uber Accidents||Truck Accidents|
|Bicycle Accidents||Pedestrian Accidents|
Distractions are everywhere on today’s roads. From billboards, to passengers, to the overabundance of cell phone apps, it is almost impossible to keep ourselves completely focused on the road while operating a vehicle. I am sure that most can agree that the biggest distractor is our cell phones. Nowadays, everyone is always checking your emails, text messages, or just browsing the internet. It’s now possible to talk, text-message, take pictures, check the global positioning system (GPS), adjust the satellite radio, scroll through the pages of your MP3 player, send e-mail, and try to drive—all at the same time. By now, most of us have heard that using a cell phone while driving is roughly equivalent to driving drunk. Yet, the majority of us still do it. Every year, Cell phone use while driving is becoming more of a problem and is causing many accidents. To put things into perspective, a 2016 study by the NHTSA states that approximately 391,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver and 3,477 people were killed due to distracted driving.
In Florida, for instance, an officer investigating an accident must document whether any driver was distracted by an electronic device in their police report. In fact, under Fla. Stat. § 316.305, it is illegal to text, email, or send messages while operating a vehicle. Violators are subject to a $30 ticket for the first offense. A second offense within five years would be a moving violation, punishable by as much as a $60 fine and three points added to the driver’s record. Violation of the law is considered a secondary offense, meaning a police officer can’t pulls someone over for just texting. The driver must be committing another violation such as speeding or running a stop sign. If there’s an accident, motorists’ cell phone records can be used against them only if the accident results in death or personal injury. Even Cell phone manufacturers have also begun taking steps to curb cell phone use while driving. Apple phones have a Do Not Disturb feature that when enabled automatically detects when you are driving and prevents notifications from popping up on your phone. Blocking notifications of incoming texts or calls allows drivers to focus on driving and comply with Florida laws on texting while driving.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is Negligence Defined in Florida?
To establish negligence in Florida, a plaintiff must show that: (1) the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff; (2) the defendant breached the duty; (3) the breach was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; and (4) as a result the plaintiff suffered damages. A duty is the obligation to protect another against unreasonable risk of injury. A duty is breached when the defendant fails to meet such obligation. There are 2 types of causation, which is a close causal connection between the action and the injury. Damages to the plaintiff are the loss suffered.
How Does Comparitive Negligence Work in Florida?
In Florida, law recognizes that every person has a duty to exercise due care for his own safety. Inherent in the duty of every person to exercise due care for his own safety is the essential element that the person knows and appreciate the probable consequences of his action or inaction. In other words, a person may be comparatively negligent if he should have known of the injurious consequences of his actions or inaction. Thus, the question is one of foreseeability. In Florida, courts examine foreseeability in the framework of comparative negligence as follows: Foreseeable consequences are those which a person by prudent human foresight can be expected to anticipate as likely to result from an act, because they happen so frequently from the commission of such act that in the field of human experience they may be expected to happen again. Although the actual harm that results may be seen as not foreseeable, it is not necessary that the tortfeasor be able to foresee the exact nature and extent of the injuries in the precise manner in which they occur; rather, all that is necessary is that the tortfeasor be able to foresee some injury as likely to result in some manner as a consequence of his negligence. When deciding the issue whether an individual has exercised due care for his own safety, his physical characteristics and all of the surrounding circumstances should be considered.
Are Punitive Damages Available in Distracted Driving Cases?
Depending on the exact facts and specifics of your auto accident case, an operator of a vehicle who caused an accident because of cell phone use may be liable for criminal negligence and subject to punitive damages in Florida in addition to compensatory damages. Overall, a driver’s use of their mobile phone at the time of the accident is one of the many factors that may lead to is using a cell phone at the time of an automobile accident is just a factor for courts to consider in its totality-of-the-circumstances analysis on the question of punitive damages.
Can Employer’s Be Liable for Employees Who Text While Driving?
Even though drivers who break the law are subject to a small fine. A big concern for businesses is that employers may be liable for distracted driving accidents caused by negligent employees. Acts are within the scope of employment if they are closely related to the employee’s job and can reasonably be considered methods of carrying out the employer’s objectives. An employer is ordinarily not liable for an employee’s intentional torts unless the acts were motivated by the intent to serve or promote the employer’s business. The employer is liable as long as the event occurs during work hours and there is intent by the employee to serve the employer’s purpose (liable if employee delegates duties to a friend). The employer is not liable if the act occurs during the employee’s commute to and from work, even if employer requires employee to work unreasonably long hours. If the act occurs during a frolic (employee so diverted from scope of employment), the employer is not liable. However, if the act occurs during a detour (drive-thru for lunch), the employer is liable. For example, an employee who has an accident while talking on their phone or texting may subject their employer to liability. The employer can be held liable if the employee was driving a company car, using a company-issued cell phone, or performing company business while driving. Fortunately, you can take precautions to reduce the risk of potential litigation.
How Does the Discoverability of Cell Phone Data affect My Car Accident Case?
Today, most accident investigations consider the role of mobile devices in causing accidents. As stated above, Florida police offers are required to make note of any suspected cell phone use in police accident reports. In many cases, evidence suggesting the responsible party was utilizing their cell phone at the time of the accident can be key to proving liability. Cell phone records can be requested through the discovery process. In cases involving younger passengers, it may prove beneficial to search through social media to find out if the other party recorded or transmitted videos or photos during or just before the accident occurred. If you have been injured in an accident that was another person’s fault, our firm can investigate the matter further and find out if there were any distractions that caused the other person to cause your auto accident. Our Florida car accident lawyers can provide guidance and help you determine your legal options to make sure you get compensated for your injuries.
We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:
Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.
Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston; and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.