Distracted driving is a serious public health concern in Florida. In 2017, more than 50,000 car crashes were attributed to distracted driving in our state alone.
At Heintz & Becker, we’ve been protecting the right of injured people for more than 30 years. Our attorneys understand that distracted driving cases demand attention during an investigation; we work hard to uncover every aspect of what went wrong.
If you’ve been in a crash, you need an attorney committed to uncovering the real cause of the accident.
What’s Considered Distracted Driving in Florida?
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road; this includes:
- Eating or drinking
- Personal grooming
- Tuning the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system
- Talking to passengers; but particularly,
- Talking or texting on the phone
Currently, it’s not a primary offense to use a cell phone to talk or text behind the wheel in Florida. Law enforcement can only write tickets for this behavior if the driver commits some other traffic violation (e.g., speeding, illegal turns, etc.).
However, this may change as Florida’s Legislature is considering making texting while driving a primary offense. That means police can pull you over and issue a ticket if you are caught texting and driving.
Sadly, teen drivers seem to have the hardest time putting down their devices. They’re four times more likely than adults to get into an accident while talking or texting on a cell phone.
For parents, keeping new drivers off the phone while driving can mean the difference between life and death.
Are You Entitled to Compensation?
Drivers who fail to abide Florida’s cell phone law have clearly failed to fulfill their duty to other drivers on the road, and they should be held responsible.
If you’re seriously injured or in the event you lose a family member because of another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
Compensation may include reimbursement for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages / loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
A distracted driving lawsuit involves proving the other driver’s cell phone use directly caused or contributed to the crash. Specifically, proving the a-fault driver was distracted at the time of the crash can support a victim’s right to recovery.
Evidence Collection in the Digital Age
Evidence collection specific to car accidents has expanded considerably in the wake of wireless devices and the availability of mobile internet. In many cases, the information contained on a mobile device can be used against distracted drivers.
However, to collect the data on a cell phone, law enforcement must obtain a search warrant, subpoena, or other court order.
Incriminating cell phone data might include timestamps of electronic communications, social media posts, and phone call records.
Furthermore, event data recorders (EDRs), typically found in newer vehicles, provide detailed information about the driver’s actions leading up to a crash. EDRs record information like speed, acceleration patterns, and braking.
All forms of distracted driving are unsafe, but cell phone use is most common and often the most dangerous.
To protect yourself and your claim it’s best to follow the steps below in the event of a crash:
- Call the police – a police report will become the official record of what happened.
- Exchange information with other drivers – while it’s important to collect relevant information at the scene, do not discuss the details of the accident with other drivers.
- Document the scene – if it’s safe to do so, take pictures of the crash area, damage, and/or injuries.
- Seek medical attention immediately – a medical evaluation is necessary to document injuries that are not always apparent at the scene of a crash.
Get the Legal Representation You Deserve
At Heintz & Becker, we’re dedicated to representing victims of negligence in Bradenton, Sarasota, and surrounding parts of southwest Florida.
Our office only accepts a limited number of cases so we can devote our attention to the specific needs of individual clients. Plus, in the event our law firm can’t reach a fair settlement with insurance companies, our lawyers are willing and able to bring your personal injury case to trial.
If you’ve been injured and you need a legal team skilled at investigating distracted driving, you need Heintz & Becker.
Even if you don’t think you can afford a lawyer, give us a call. We work on a contingent-fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless we win your case.