Driving is a skill many people take for granted. Whether they are experienced drivers or new behind the wheel, many people have a false sense of confidence when it comes to their ability to control a vehicle. This may lead them to engage in risky behavior like checking messages, watching videos, or uploading social media content while at the wheel. If another driver’s distracted driving causes you injury or harm, the personal injury attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A. can assist you in recovering for damages. Our Pensacola, Florida based attorneys are trial-tested and will stand up to insurance companies to make sure you are properly compensated.
Texting While Driving Is Illegal
Mobile phones are sophisticated technology in our pockets. When used appropriately, our phones are great for completing everyday tasks, busting boredom, and communicating with family and friends. However, mobile phones can create a big distraction when used while driving.
Florida law recognizes that mobile phone usage while driving creates an unnecessary distraction that is dangerous to other drivers. To prevent people from using mobile phones while driving, the Florida legislature enacted a law prohibiting texting, typing, sending or reading data on a mobile phone while a vehicle is in motion in 2019.
Found in Florida Statute 316.305, the law clearly prohibits many common uses of mobile devices, including traditional text-messaging, emailing, and web browsing while driving. However, the “sending or reading data” portion of the law may also be interpreted as prohibiting social media posts and video streaming while driving.
Mobile Phones Cause Distractions
Mobile phones take a driver’s attention away from the road. Such distractions greatly increase the likelihood that a driver may cause an accident. Although many other things cause distractions while driving — think radios, food, and screaming children — the use of emerging technology and mobile phones while driving is increasingly pervasive.
For example, you can now stream a movie or TV show while driving on the highway. And applications like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube allow anyone to create posts anytime, anywhere. Some app users even participate in challenges, such as a recent TikTok challenge that encouraged users to record themselves driving on the wrong side of the road.
What Happens If There Is a Car Accident Caused By Texting While Driving?
Hopefully, some texting or using a mobile phone doesn’t cause an accident. However, if you are injured in a car accident caused by someone who was texting (or TikToking) while driving, the distracted driver is responsible for any damages.
In Florida, courts recognize claims for accidents under the law of negligence. Pursuing a negligence claim requires filing a lawsuit against the negligent party, in this case, the distracted driver. Many negligence cases are settled out of court, but you may still need to file a lawsuit to force a distracted driver and/or his or her insurance company to participate in settlement negotiations.
What is Negligence?
Lawsuits under the theory of negligence involve accidents where one party’s failure to act reasonably under the circumstances causes harm or injury to another person. When it comes to driving, every driver is required to operate his or her automobile according to Florida’s traffic laws. One of these traffic laws is Florida Statute 316.305, which bans the use of mobile phones while driving.
To recover for injuries sustained during an automobile accident caused by distracted driving you must show the other driver owed you a duty to act reasonably safely toward you, that the driver failed to live up to that duty, that the driver’s failure caused your injury, and that you suffered damages as a result.
Florida Law Makes it Easier to Recover in Mobile Phone Negligence Cases
Under the theory of negligence per se, courts will consider whether a law prohibits a defendant’s behavior. If there is a law banning the behavior, courts will consider the behavior to be negligent without requiring the plaintiff to prove a reasonable person would have done the same thing under similar circumstances.
In a mobile phone case, courts will consider Florida Statute 316.305 and likely conclude that the law banning the use of mobile phones while driving means the behavior is negligent without requiring the plaintiff to prove a reasonable person would not use a phone while driving.
How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Figuring Out Damages
When you are in a car accident, it can be difficult to determine how much it will cost to put you back in the position you were in before the accident. Car repairs are one thing, but it is often hard to know how long you will need medical treatment, how much time you’ll have to take off from work, and if you will ever truly enjoy life to the same extent you did before the accident.
Personal injury attorneys deal with these issues daily and can help you assess how much it will take to make you whole again. You may only have one chance to be compensated for your damages and an experienced attorney can help make sure you aren’t leaving anything on the table.
Dealing with Insurance
Even though the driver might be at fault in an accident, it is most often the driver’s insurance company that ends up paying for damages. If the driver that caused your accident is insured, the insurance company will act on behalf of the driver and attempt to settle your claims.
Insurance companies run a business and it is not good for their bottom lines to pay out massive claims. Many insurance companies try to entice injured parties with the prospect of a quick payout. However, the quick payout is often not enough to fully compensate the injured party. An experienced attorney will assess all the damages and demand full payment from the insurance company before settling a claim. If a settlement cannot be reached, an attorney will file a negligence lawsuit against the driver and the insurance company seeking the full amount of the damages.
Contact Florida Personal Injury Attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A.
Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal for good reason–it often results in accidents. If you are injured in an accident with a driver who was using a mobile phone while driving, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A. are here to help you recover. Consult with the Pensacola, Florida attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A. to assess your damages today.
The Texting While Driving Attorneys at Staples, Ellis & Associates serves clients in Pensacola County, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Okaloosa County, Walton County, and throughout Northwest Florida.