Car Accidents

Fort Lauderdale Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Distracted driving has become one of the top causes of car accidents, both in the state of Florida and throughout the United States. This should come as no surprise given the ever-increasing number of distractions that exist in cars today. From GPS devices to cell phones that allow you to send and receive texts and emails, there is a lot to do in the car other than focusing on the road. Sadly, when you look away and pay attention to anything other than driving, it significantly increases the risk of becoming involved in a crash.

At David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A., you will find an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney who is committed to fighting for justice on behalf of each client he accepts the responsibility of representing. If a driver fails to be reasonably safe and competent because he is distracted, he can be sued for damages when he causes a crash. Attorney David I. Fuchs has more than 30 years of experience representing clients in car accident cases and can help if you or a loved one has been involved in a distracted driving crash in South Florida.

What Is Distracted Driving in Fort Lauderdale?

“Distracted driving” can involve any type of distraction that impedes the driver’s ability to dedicate 100% of his or her attention to the driving task. Common driver distractions include eating and drinking, reading, talking to passengers, looking at maps or a GPS, fiddling with the radio, and – the deadliest distraction of them all – using a handheld cell phone.

Cell phones are especially dangerous because they take a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off of driving. It is against the law to text and drive in Florida, but hundreds of drivers still do so every day.

The term “distracted driving” may sound self-explanatory, but the real definition is more nuanced than you may expect. There are three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.

  • Visual distractions are anything that causes you to divert your eyes away from the road ahead. This could include turning to look at a roadside accident, looking at your navigation system or stereo, or using a smartphone.
  • Manual distractions include anything that causes you to move your hands away from the steering wheel (or shifter for manual transmission vehicles). This may include reaching for something inside the car or trying to type out a text message on a cell phone.
  • Cognitive distractions describe anything that causes a driver’s mind to wander away from the task at hand. This could include mulling over plans once you reach your destination, fretting about a stressful day at work, or any other stressors that divert your attention away from driving.

The reason that texting while driving is so dangerous is that it encompasses all three of these types of distraction: you must use your hands to operate the phone so at least one hand leaves its appropriate position, you must divert your eyes to the screen to read messages and type responses, and your attention turns to the text conversation and away from the road.

It is every driver’s legal duty to pay attention to the road when driving. Accepting the responsibility of operating a motor vehicle means agreeing to take reasonable care in preventing injuries to others. If a driver only pays partial attention to the task of driving while his or her thoughts, eyes, or hands are elsewhere, he or she is guilty of negligence. If this negligence results in a collision that causes serious property damage, injuries, or death, victims may have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver in the state of Florida. David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. can help.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

The National Safety Council reported that cell phone use leads to 1.6 million car accidents every year. As many as 390,000 serious injuries are caused by texting and driving accidents. In fact, one out of every four accidents in the U.S. is caused by texting and driving.

It is clear that the number of people texting is on the rise, but texting is just one of many dangers identified by Distraction.gov as a risk to drivers. Distracted driving lawyers warn that other distracted driving behaviors that can lead to a crash include:

  • Texting
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Using a smartphone (emailing, etc.)
  • Having a conversation with passengers
  • Grooming
  • Looking at a map or reading
  • Using a GPS or in-vehicle navigation system
  • Watching videos
  • Adjusting in-vehicle controls such as radios or CD players

All of these actions take the focus away from where it should be. Texting, however, tends to require the most cognitive attention and is typically viewed as the most serious distracted driving danger.

Your Rights After a Distracted Driving Accident

After a collision with a driver, you suspect of distracted driving, dial 911. You must legally report an accident in Florida if it caused injuries, death, or property damage over $500; however, you may call 911 and report any collision if you wish to have an official record of the incident.

Police will help you gather information about the crash, such as the distracted driver’s name and insurance information. It will also protect you from the driver giving you false information, as well as help you prove your case to an insurance company.

Take photographs at the scene of the crash if you can, snapping shots of anything that may incriminate the other driver. For example, taking pictures of food wrappers in the driver’s seat could later serve as evidence of the driver’s distraction. Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries and follow the doctor’s orders completely. Then, before you call your insurance company to report your crash, call our distracted driving attorneys.

Liability for Distracted Driving Accidents in Florida

It can be complicated to take legal action after a distracted driving crash. However, a driver can be considered liable under Florida law and can be made to pay for a distracted driving accident.

To take legal action against a distracted driver, you must prove that the other driver was unreasonably careless in his behavior (i.e. that any reasonable driver would have been paying more attention). You also must show that the distracted driver’s negligence was the direct cause of the accident. Finally, you need to illustrate that your damages are severe enough for you to make a claim under Florida’s no-fault rules and you need to demonstrate the extent of your damages, including the likelihood of future medical complications and/or disability. An experienced distracted driving lawyer can help you determine whether you have a suitably distracted driving claim.

Compensation for Distracted Driving Accidents

Provided you can prove your case, there are a number of different types of damages available to you under Florida law. A settlement or a jury verdict should both include compensation for:

Maximizing your compensation is important so you have the money you need to achieve the best possible quality of life after a serious accident impacts your health.

Call Attorney David I. Fuchs After a Distracted Driving Accident

A conversation with one of our attorneys can help you understand your rights after a crash, as well as if a personal injury claim would garner greater compensation for your damages than an insurance claim.

Lawyer David I. Fuchs can help you if you’ve been the victim of a distracted driving accident in South Florida. Call David I. Fuchs Toll Free at (954) 568-3636 for a free consultation to discuss your distracted driving accident case. You may also write to Attorney David I. Fuchs by filling out the form on the “Contact Us” page.