Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, is a distraction that causes accidents. Since the advent of cellphones, people texting and driving have become one of the greatest hazards on South Florida roadways–responsible for many serious injuries and fatalities. Car accidents caused by this now surpass those resulting from drunk driving. In 2021, there were 53,596 crashes in Florida due to distracted driving. These accidents caused the death of 268 people along with 2,574 serious injuries, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV).
A Delray Beach auto accident attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo protects your rights while fighting for you to receive the maximum compensation you deserve from injuries suffered because a negligent motorist was texting while driving.
What Should You Do After a Texting and Driving Accident?
Call 911 immediately. Check to see if you or anyone involved in the collision is injured. Exchange names, addresses, and insurance information with the other driver. Take photos of the accident scene, including the cars involved and any injuries. If there are eyewitnesses to the crash, obtain their names and contact information. Of course, if you are badly injured, you cannot do any of these things and must wait for emergency services.
If you feel shaken up but otherwise fine after the accident, you must still go to the hospital or urgent care facility. Many injuries, including serious ones, are not immediately apparent, as the adrenaline rush after a collision can temporarily mask the pain. While this is essential to protect your health, it is also crucial so an insurance company will not allege that your injury occurred due to another incident.
You must also report the accident to your insurance company. Do not agree to a settlement amount before consulting a Delray Beach texting and driving accident lawyer. The insurance company is interested in settling claims quickly and cheaply. Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot reopen the claim. Instead, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company so that you receive a fair settlement based on your injuries and prognosis.
Going Outside of the No-Fault Insurance System
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance. If the accident caused minor injuries, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance pays your medical bills and part of your lost wages. However, if you meet the state’s serious injury threshold, you can go outside the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit.
Under Florida law, the following is necessary to go beyond the no-fault system:
- Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
- Permanent injury
- Significant and permanent scarring and disfigurement
When there is a fatality, the estate’s personal representative may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of surviving family members.
Establishing Liability in Your Accident Case
You must prove that the other driver was negligent. If surveillance camera footage is available, it may show the driver texting or staring at a phone in the seconds before impact. Eyewitnesses may also testify that they saw the driver distracted by a cell phone.
The driver’s phone records will show whether they sent a text message or called just before the accident. However, even with such strong evidence pinpointing the use of a cell phone at the time of the crash, the driver may argue that you were partly at fault–because Florida is now a modified comparative negligence jurisdiction. Therefore, you need an experienced lawyer representing you.
Potential Compensation for Victims of Texting While Driving Accidents
Compensation or damages may include the following:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Mental anguish
The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer After a Texting and Driving Accident
A Delray Beach texting while driving accident lawyer from our firm can collect the evidence necessary to establish the defendant’s liability. We can also review police and medical reports and interview witnesses. In some cases, we will hire accident reconstruction experts to recreate the crash scene. In addition, we obtain affidavits and conduct depositions of the parties involved.
Florida recently changed the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, accident victims now have just two years from the accident date. Because evidence can disappear, hiring a lawyer as soon as possible after a texting and driving accident is critical. While most cases are settled, we will pursue your case in court if the insurance company does not agree to a reasonable amount.
Contact a Delray Beach Texting and Driving Attorney
If you or a loved one were seriously injured due to another person’s distracted driving, you need the services of the dedicated car accident lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to discuss your case. Because we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation. We serve all of Palm Beach County.