Driving is a serious responsibility; yet, car accidents happen throughout Florida all the time. Many of these accidents are the result of distracted driving or when a driver is paying attention to something besides the road — like a text message on a cell phone.
If you’ve been involved in an accident because of texting and driving, contact the Niceville car accident lawyers at Powell, Powell & Powell for help today.
How Text Messaging Impacts Personal Injury Claims
Usually, car accident claims are based on a claim of negligence. This means that the injured party brings a lawsuit against the other driver for failing to drive safety because that failure caused the accident and its injuries.
If the person who hit you or your vehicle was texting and driving, your attorney is able to claim that the individual’s negligence stems from texting.
While many states have a law about keeping two hands on the wheel while operating a motor vehicle, this may simply be a matter for the police to ticket the driver. In order for you to receive compensation as a victim of a distracted driver, your lawyer needs to be able to prove that the other driver was texting and that this failure to obey the law and maintain his or her attention on the road is the sole or primary cause of your injuries.
Texting Means Not Paying Attention to the Road
The National Safety Council estimates that in 2014, a little over one in four car accidents were caused by distracted driving. While this may also include driving while eating or drinking, talking to a passenger in the car, listening to music or dancing in the car or other things that take the driver’s attention away from the road, texting is definitely a serious culprit.
The Council also shares that the human brain cannot actually multi-task. Brains can toggle back and forth between tasks very quickly — sometimes, so seamlessly that it feels like you are doing two things at once, but you are not. The brain is always doing one thing at a time.
If a driver is texting, he or she is not paying attention to the road. If he or she is not paying attention to the road, they may be held liable for all costs or losses you suffered arising from the accident.
Pure Comparative Negligence in Florida
Since text messaging is such a clear act of negligence in a car accident claim, the driver who was texting will usually try to defend him or herself using Florida’s doctrine of pure comparative negligence.
This doctrine allows the court to reduce the amount of compensation you receive from the other driver in direct proportion to how negligent you might have been in causing the accident.
For example, you may be comparatively negligent if you had the right-of-way for a left turn but you failed to use a blinker while the other driver texted and slammed into you. If the court finds that you are 10 percent at fault for an accident, your award will be reduced by 10 percent. If your damages were $500,000.00, that 10 percent is $50,000 that the other party no longer has to pay you.
By working closely with an experienced attorney, you can help ensure that you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled under Florida’s personal injury laws. Contact us today to learn more.