Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of auto accidents in Palmetto, FL. In times where interpersonal communication is almost entirely dependent upon cellular devices, there is always a risk of distracted driving on Florida roads. Recently, there were significant changes to Florida in a bid to curb distracted driving. The “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law” came into effect in July 2019 while another law focused on wireless communication use in school and work zones was introduced in October 2019.
Every day, about nine people die and roughly 1000 people are injured in accidents involving a distracted driver. These numbers are a clear indication of how dangerous distracted driving can be on the road. Besides the fatalities, distracted driving accidents often result in serious injuries to victims, who may be out of their work for a prolonged period due to their injuries.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may have a right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. Working with a Palmetto distracted driving accident lawyer who specializes in distracted driving cases can help you prove negligence on the part of the at-fault driver and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Our car accident lawyers at the Winters & Yonker Law Firm understand Florida’s distracted driving laws and can help you with your claim to ensure you get compensated for your injuries. If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident in Palmetto, FL, call us today on (888) 373-7770 to schedule a case evaluation to find out whether you have a valid claim.
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What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving refers to any activity that causes a driver to divert their attention from the road. While texting is the commonest distraction for drivers, distracted driving can be caused by many other activities, provided they take the driver’s attention away from safe driving. Any non-driving activity a driver engages in is therefore considered a potential distraction and increases the chances of a crash.
Types of Distracted Driving
Drivers can be distracted by various activities which could be associated with the vehicle (like displays and navigation systems), brought into the vehicle (like cell phones, food, and grooming aids), external to the vehicle (such as road signs and scenery), or internal to the driver’s mind i.e., daydreaming or getting “lost in thought.”
The three most common types of distracted driving include:
- Visual – These are distractions that cause the driver to look at something else other than the road. These include roadside features, scenery, or road signs.
- Manual – This involves manipulating anything else other than the steering wheel, including the stereo system, navigation system, or cell phone.
- Cognitive – This involves thinking or focusing on something other than driving. This is common when drivers daydream or “get lost in the thought.”
Laws Regarding Distracted Driving in Florida
In Florida, there are two laws that recently came to effect in regards to distracted driving:
Florida Statute §316.305 – “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”
This law made texting and driving a primary offense. The law allows a police officer to stop and issue a citation to a driver caught using a wireless communication device behind the wheel.
Florida Statute §316.306
This law aims at improving roadway safety in work zones and schools. The law came into effect on October 1, 2019, and prohibits the driving of a motor vehicle while using a handheld wireless communication device in a school zone, designated school crossing, or active work zone.
What Damages Can Victims Get from A Distracted Driving Accident Claim in Florida?
Like other personal injury claims, victims of distracted driving can recover various damages, including economic and non-economic damages. In some cases, punitive damages are also awarded in such claims.
Economic damages are those awarded to compensate for actual monetary loss. They include:
- Medical costs, including emergency room costs, hospital stays, and doctor visits.
- Lost income.
- Rehabilitation costs.
- Property damage.
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate for non-monetary losses and include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Disfigurement or permanent disability
In some distracted driving accident cases, a judge might award punitive damages to punish the defendant if their actions amount to gross negligence or wanton wrongdoing.
How Long do I Have to File a Claim in Florida?
Florida Statutes Section 95.11 provides that distracted driving accident victims have four years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Failure to file within this time limit, the victim loses their right to seek compensation for their injuries and property damage.
Why do I Need a Lawyer?
The benefits of working with a distracted driving accident lawyer are often understated. Here is why a victim would need a lawyer if they intend to file a claim:
Lawyers help victims by collecting vital information about their accident and gathering essential documents to help put up a strong case against the at-fault driver. Investigations may involve working with crash reconstruction experts to establish how an accident occurred. They also help by collecting medical and police reports to file your claim.
Having a lawyer ensures that you file a claim in time and that you submit the necessary documents so that your claim remains valid. By collecting all the necessary information before filing a claim, you stand a higher chance of getting compensation for the injuries suffered.
In some instances, the at-fault party’s insurance company may be willing to settle the case out of court by offering a settlement for your claim. Lawyers are experienced at negotiating and will see to it that the insurance company offers you a reasonable settlement to cover your losses.
Distracted driving accident claims may not always be settled out of court. Oftentimes, insurance companies make lowball offers as they are not willing to pay the full worth of your claim. In such instances, a lawyer will advise you to take your case to court for a judge’s ruling. Your lawyer will represent you in court by presenting the facts of the accident before the judge to ensure that you are awarded maximum compensation.
Contact Our Palmetto Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers
Distracted driving accidents are common on Palmetto, FL, roads with visual, manual, and cognitive distractions being the most common forms of distractions. Florida laws prohibit drivers from texting while driving to avoid distracted driving accidents. Distracted driving accidents can be fatal, and some victims may suffer life-long injuries.
If you have been involved in a distracted driving accident in Palmetto, FL, it is imperative that you work with a personal injury lawyer to help you with the investigation, negotiations, case preparation, and litigation. At The Winters & Yonker Law Firm, our lawyers understand Florida Laws on distracted driving and can help put up a strong case against the defendant to ensure that you receive compensation. Call us today at (888) 373-7770 to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about your rights and options.