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Accidents With Distracted Drivers in Fort Lauderdale

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Distracted Driving Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

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. Distracted driving isn’t illegal in Florida, which doesn’t have any current bans to prevent drivers from sending and receiving texts as they drive. Yet, while the law doesn’t forbid distracted driving, drivers are required to behave with a reasonable degree of caution when operating a vehicle. 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 20 years 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.

About 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.

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

According to a 2011 poll conducted by Pew Research, 73% of adults in the U.S. indicated that they send and receive text messages at least occasionally. In June of that same year, Distraction.gov indicated that more than 196 million text messages were sent over the course of a single month. This was an increase of more than 50 percent when compared with the same month in 2009.

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.

Driving Distracted Creates Risks For Yourself and Those Around You

When a driver is distracted, he endangers himself and he endangers others forced to share the road. Distraction.gov provides important information on how common distracted driving has become in the United States. According to their data:

  • 3,331 people died in distracted driving-related crashes in 2011.
  • 387,000 people were killed in 2011 as a result of crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • In 2010, 18 percent of all car accidents resulting in injury reportedly involved a distracted driver.
  • For drivers under age 20 in fatal car wrecks, 11 percent were reportedly distracted at the time of the accident.

These statistics should come as no surprise. The risk of becoming involved in a crash when using any type of handheld devices is four times as great as for a driver not distracted. Studies reveal that when texting is the issue, then the data is even worse: the risk of a crash is 23 times greater.

How to Protect 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.

How Does Liability Work For Distracted Driving Accidents in the State of Florida? 

Because Florida doesn’t currently have distracted driving laws nor a ban on cell phone use, it can be complicated to take legal action after a distracted driving crash. However, a driver can still 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:

  • Treatment costs/medical expenses and bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering and emotional distress
  • Punitive damages (under limited circumstances)

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.

Florida is a no-fault insurance state. That means that even if you have reason to believe the other driver was at fault for your crash due to a distraction, you must seek primary recovery through your own insurer. The only time the law permits you to bring a claim outside of the no-fault system is if your injuries are “serious.” 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. Call (954) 568-3636 or go online to talk to an attorney about your distracted driving accident today.

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 800-570-2858 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.