Texting While Driving Accidents
Although the state of Florida passed a “Ban on Texting While Driving Law” several years ago, this behavior remains a leading cause of car accidents in the Sunshine State. If you or a loved one has been a victim of one of these terrible crashes, you know all too well how dangerous it can be when a driver is distracted by the use of an electronic device. The experienced car accident lawyers at Cohn & Smith are here to help Pembroke Pines residents and other injured individuals seek justice against negligent drivers.
Texting while driving is especially problematic because it involves several, distinctive forms of distractions. It causes a visual distraction because the driver’s eyes are on the device rather than the road. It creates a manual distraction in that the driver must remove his or her hands from the steering wheel in order to communicate on the handheld device. Finally, it results in a cognitive impairment because it causes the driver to think about something other than driving. Nationally, texting while driving has become such a huge problem that it has been described as an “epidemic,” causing as many as one-fourth of all car crashes across the country.Proving the Negligence of a Florida Driver Who Texts Behind the Wheel
As with other car accident cases, texting while driving lawsuits are founded on the principles of negligence law. In these cases, the plaintiff has the burden to show four things, and each must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;
- The defendant breached that duty by texting behind the wheel;
- The texting led to an accident; and
- The plaintiff incurred damages as a consequence.
Once the plaintiff has shown all four elements of negligence, the case moves on to the damages phase, during which the plaintiff must show the amount of compensation to which he or she should be entitled. Typical elements of damages include pecuniary losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, as well as nonpecuniary damages like pain and suffering and loss of consortium. In particularly egregious cases, punitive damages may also be a consideration.
Since drivers owe one another the duty to keep a proper lookout, a plaintiff can usually prove a breach of that duty if it can be shown that the defendant was using a handheld device to send or read a text message or email or was using the internet at the time of the accident. In accidents involving death or personal injury, a user’s billing records may be admissible as evidence to show that the operator of the vehicle was in violation of the law.Enlist a Pembroke Pines Attorney for Your Car Accident Case
Texting while driving kills innocent motorists and passengers every day. The level of distraction caused by this behavior has been compared to the amount of intoxication one would experience after four drinks. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by texting, you can take legal action against the driver who was responsible. To speak to an experienced motor vehicle collision lawyer in the Pembroke Pines area, call Cohn & Smith today at 954-431-8100 or contact us online. We offer an initial appointment free of charge, and legal fees are not collected unless and until your case is concluded with a favorable settlement or judgment. We serve injured individuals throughout South Florida, including in Pembroke Pines, Aventura, Hollywood, and North Dade County.