According to the U.S. Department of Transportation 3,092 people were killed and 416,000 or more were injured in vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers in 2010. The leading distractions behind these accidents are cell phones.
Although using a cell phone while driving is not necessarily illegal in Florida, Florida recently passed a law banning texting and driving. However, using a cell phone behind the wheel is obviously not safe and can lead to liability, especially if one is distracted.
According to Virginia Tech merely typing a phone number into a cell phone nearly triples the likelihood that one will have a crash or near crash; that number is much higher for heavy vehicles and trucks. Texting full messages are far worse. Drivers texting full messages are 20 times more likely to get into accidents or near accidents as non cell phone users. Luckily, the law gives motorists who have been harmed by cell phone users some protection because unsafe driving is often negligent driving.
If a car accident is due to the negligence of a driver, the negligent party must pay the resulting damages suffered by the accident victim. The law of negligence allows a recovery from distracted driver when an accident victim can show that the driver owed them a duty of care and breached their duty by texting while driving. This essentially requires that distracted drivers to act in a manner that a reasonable person would. Most reasonable people would not send text messages while in a position to hit another driver. Additionally, in some situations texting and driving may result in liability for reckless driving, which is an obvious breach of the duty of care a driver must show to others. In states with cell phone driving bans the mere fact that a person was on a cell phone when an accident occurs can be enough to show that they broke their duty of care. Although Florida is not yet one of those states, cell phone wielding motorists are likely to be liable for car accidents they cause.
To learn more about your rights to a lawsuit or settlement against a distracted motorist in a texting and driving accident contact the Law Offices of William E. Johnson, P.A. Our personal injury attorneys have expertise in Palm Beach County texting and driving accident cases. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 561-832-4848. Our offices serve West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, and South Florida.