Distracted Driving Accidents in Florida: Causes and Proving Fault

The sun-kissed streets of Hollywood, Florida, with their vibrant energy and palm-fringed avenues, paint a picture of carefree cruising. Yet, beneath this idyllic veneer lurks a sobering reality: distracted driving accidents.

These incidents, fueled by a ubiquitous dependence on technology and the allure of multitasking behind the wheel, leave a trail of devastation, impacting not just the Sunshine State but countless communities across the nation.

If you were hit by a distracted driver, our Hollywood, FL car accident lawyers will fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.

The Problem of Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving encompasses a multitude of behaviors that divert a driver’s attention from the primary task of operating a vehicle. Visual distractions take your eyes off the road, manual distractions take your hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions take your mind off driving.

Common culprits include cell phone use, texting, adjusting the radio, eating, or even engaging in conversations with passengers.

The statistics paint a grim picture. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,522 lives in 2021 alone, translating to an average of nine deaths every day.

Florida statutes, specifically Chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes, address distracted driving. Notably, Florida Section 316.305 prohibits texting while driving. However, proving causation and fault in distracted driving cases often requires meticulous investigation and legal expertise.

Proving Fault: The Chain of Events

Establishing causation essentially involves proving that the driver’s distracted behavior was the “but for” cause of the accident. In other words, would the accident have occurred but for the driver’s inattentiveness? This requires meticulous investigation to reconstruct the chain of events leading to the crash.

Types of Distractions and Causal Links

The specific type of distraction plays a crucial role. Texting while driving, for instance, involves visual, manual, and cognitive engagement, significantly diminishing reaction time and situational awareness. Conversely, a quick glance at the radio might be deemed less impactful if it didn’t demonstrably impair the driver’s ability to respond to a sudden hazard.

Evidence Gathering

Police reports, witness testimonies, and data retrieved from the driver’s cell phone (with a warrant) can offer vital clues. Analyzing call logs, text messages, and location data can paint a picture of the driver’s activity moments before the crash.

accident reports are crucial in determining fault

Proving Fault: Negligence

Even if causation is established, the legal battle doesn’t end there. The victim must also prove that the driver acted negligently, meaning they breached their duty of care to operate the vehicle safely.

Breaking the Texting and Driving Law

Florida’s ban on texting while driving provides a powerful tool in proving negligence. If the driver was texting behind the wheel, they automatically violated a safety statute, establishing a presumption of negligence. The victim then needs to show that this violation directly caused the accident.

Careless or Reckless Behavior

Even in the absence of a specific statutory violation, the common law principle of negligence prevails. The victim must demonstrate that the driver’s actions, such as eating while driving or adjusting the GPS with excessive distraction, fell below the standard expected of a careful driver and caused the accident.

Comparative Fault: Potentially Sharing Blame

Florida adheres to a comparative fault system. This means that if both parties contributed to the accident, their respective percentages of fault will be determined, and damages will be awarded proportionately. For example, if the distracted driver is deemed 80% at fault and the victim 20% at fault, the victim’s damages award will be reduced by 20%.

Building a Distracted Driving Accident Case

An experienced Hollywood car accident lawyer can employ various strategies to gather evidence and build a compelling case. This may involve accident reconstruction experts analyzing skid marks and debris, forensic analysis of electronic devices, and expert witness testimony on topics like reaction times and human factors contributing to distracted driving accidents.

Our lawyers will employ a multi-pronged approach to establish causation and fault. This may involve:

  • Police report and accident reconstruction: Accident scene analysis, witness testimonies, and data from electronic devices like cell phones can provide crucial evidence.
  • Traffic camera footage: Visual confirmation of distracted driving behavior can significantly strengthen the case.
  • Expert witness testimony: Accident reconstruction experts and forensic cell phone analysts can shed light on the driver’s actions leading up to the crash.
  • Medical records and documentation: The extent of the victim’s injuries and the impact on their life are crucial factors in determining damages.

Call Our Hollywood Car Accident Lawyers Today!

Distracted driving accidents are not inevitable occurrences. They are preventable tragedies. By prioritizing attentiveness behind the wheel, we can collectively create safer roads for ourselves and for the communities we cherish. Remember, the decision to drive distraction-free lies in your hands.

If you or a loved one was hurt by a distracted driver, our Florida car accident lawyers can help you demand the compensation you deserve. Contact the Klotzman Law Firm at 754-799-7321 for a free case review today.