Texting and driving have become a serious issue as smartphones become more ubiquitous. If a driver takes their eyes off the road for even a second, it can result in a devastating accident for all parties. These accidents regularly result in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage that can include loss of property, medical bills, and even fatalities.
It is essential to speak with an attorney if this has happened to you because it’s important to hold the liable party responsible for their actions. The texting while driving accident attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo can offer you clarity, guidance, and context. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Laws Against Texting While Driving
As of 2019, Florida joined 47 other states and Washington, D.C, in banning texting while driving. The Wireless Communications While Driving Law, defined in section 316.305, has been enacted in the Florida Statutes. In addition to texting, this law bans several other uses of a phone that can distract drivers.
The language of this statute considers the visual factor of taking your eyes off the road. In addition, it also recognizes the cognitive factor of thinking about tasks other than driving and the manual factor of taking your hands off the wheel to type. It states that:
“A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communication device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication including, but not limited to, texting, emailing, and instant messaging.” FLA. STAT. § 316.305(3)(a), (2022)
Since the law applies only when the car is moving, texting while stuck in traffic or otherwise not moving is still legal, as is using a hands-free device. Although motorists have always been distracted, and devices like radios in cars add to potential distractors, texting is particularly dangerous. If a distracted driver has injured you or a loved one in Florida, speak with a Boca Raton car accident attorney who can answer your questions and explain your rights.
Negligence in Florida
For many accidents resulting from driving and texting, a negligence lawsuit will be required to cover any damages not covered by no-fault insurance. It will require an analysis of:
- Duty: did the at-fault driver have a legal duty of care to the injured party, such as driving in a responsible manner.
- Breach: did the at-fault driver breach their duty to the injured party, such as taking their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road to text.
- Causation: if the duty was breached, is the at-fault party both the factual and proximate cause of the damages.
- Damages: is the court able to compensate the injured party for their injury, i.e., award monetary compensation for the medical or car repair bills.
Because these cases can be so tied to the issue of liability for texting while driving, speaking with a texting while driving accident attorney is strongly recommended. They can help analyze the lack of reasonable caution in a negligence case.
Common Types of Accidents Resulting from Texting While Driving
Although each accident has its own unique set of facts, they tend to follow a pattern. As such, there are several common types of accidents that texting while driving tends to cause:
- Head-on collisions, also known as “frontal” crashes, are most likely to cause serious injuries or a fatality.
- Side-impact accidents, also known as “T-bone” collisions, occur when the front of one car strikes the side of another and also tend to cause serious injuries or fatalities.
- Rollovers when a car flips on its side or roof, which is another type of accident that tends to cause serious injuries.
- Sideswipe accidents when the side of one vehicle collides with another, often while merging, and
- Rear-end collisions when one car strikes the back of another.
Depending upon the losses stemming from the accident, several types of damages can be collected for negligence. This includes:
- Property damage like vehicle repair bills and other damaged property that may have been in the vehicle during a collision.
- Medical bills such as immediate treatment for the injury, as well as necessary follow-up care like physical therapy to aid in recovery.
- Pain and suffering compensate injured parties for the physical pain and lifestyle changes that they may have to adjust to, i.e., losing the ability to participate in sports or other activities.
- Loss of income or earning power if your injuries prevent you from working or harm your long-term career prospects, i.e., an experienced construction worker loses partial use of his hand and must now limit his job search to lower-paying positions.
- Punitive damages are awarded as a punishment against a defendant guilty of gross negligence. These damages will have a cap based upon the compensatory damages issued for medical bills, with totals ranging from $500,000 to $2,000,000
Contact us at Kogan & DiSalvo for a free consultation
Negligence cases stemming from texting and driving can be complex. If you or a loved one has been injured in Florida, set up a consultation with a Boca Raton texting and driving accident attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo. We can guide your case from day one and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. In addition, we work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.