Driving Distracted Can Lead To Serious Liability
Accidents are sadly frequent on Florida roads, with 2020 seeing approximately 3,400 Florida car crash fatalities. There are many different potential causes of car accidents, but one that has seen a subtle increase in recent years is distracted driving, particularly texting while driving. Distracted driving is when the driver’s attention (whether manual, cognitive, or visual) is off the road for more than an isolated moment. If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you may be able to file suit against them for damages.
Can I File Suit?
Most car accident cases in Florida are handled by the injured person filing a claim with their personal injury protection (PIP) insurer, rather than filing suit against an allegedly negligent driver in court. Florida has a no-fault system of auto insurance, which means that cases are shunted away from court dockets toward insurers and no fault needs to be determined before the injured person can receive medical care. That said, state law does allow plaintiffs whose injuries are severe to file suit in court.
If your injuries are significant enough to allow you to file suit against the driver who allegedly caused your accident, you may be able to collect for many different types of damages. While an insurer may be less likely to cover intangible damages like those for pain and suffering or lost future wages, you may be able to collect those costs as well as those for current and future medical bills, damage to your vehicle, or for household costs like making modifications to your home. Anything that can be linked to the distracted driver’s behavior may be on the proverbial table.
Two Ways To Show Liability
If you have been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you must establish their negligence in court. Normally this is done by establishing that they breached their duty to exercise reasonable care toward the other drivers on the road, and that their breach of duty was the direct cause of your injuries. However, given that Florida has a codified law against texting and driving, there is another way to potentially hold a distracted driver liable.
Florida honors a concept called negligence per se, which states that if a law exists to protect a certain class of people, and someone breaks that law and injures a member of that class, that someone is negligent as a matter of law. In other words, their negligence does not have to be proven; it is simply established by their breaking the law. So, for example, Florida has a law against texting and driving, designed to protect motorists from injury. If someone violates the law and injures a motorist, there is a high probability that they would be deemed negligent as a matter of law.
Contact An Orlando Auto Accident Attorney
Car accidents can lead to life-changing injuries. If you have suffered harm in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you deserve the right to seek compensation. An Orlando car accident lawyer from the Hornsby Law Group can help to answer any questions you may have about filing suit or any other part of the process. Contact our offices at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.