Being victimized in a car crash is never easy, and is only made more difficult when the party at fault is a distracted driver. Distracted drivers cause crashes every day, and it is necessary to recognize the types of distracted driver behaviors that can be a direct cause of car accidents.
According to Distraction.gov There are Three Main Types of Distracted Driving:
- Visual – the driver’s eyes are off of the road.
- Manual – the driver’s hands are off of the wheel.
- Cognitive – the driver is not mentally focused on driving.
There are Several Dangerous Activities that are Easy to Spot, Some of Which Combine All of the Above Types of Distraction:
- eating while driving;
- drinking while driving;
- reading or writing;
- reaching into other parts of the car to grab items; and
- applying makeup or engaging in personal grooming.
The most common and most dangerous form of distracted driving is cell phone use. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, “talking on a cell phone while driving quadruples the chances of getting into a motor vehicle accident.” Florida driving safety laws indicate there are no statewide restrictions on cell phone use while driving. However, this does not mean that cell phone distractions are excusable in the event of a crash.
Florida Highway Patrol tips for driving while using cell phones are unfortunately underutilized. If you are involved in a car accident, noting the other driver’s distracted behaviors at the time of the crash can help your car accident lawyer to determine fault.
To determine fault, it is necessary to examine the principles of comparative liability in Florida. A car accident lawyer will understand this concept and can help you apply them to your case.
Following an accident, a damage claim is almost always filed by the plaintiff (the injury sustaining party) against the defendant (the party at fault). In order to collect on this claim, the plaintiff must prove the defendant acted in a negligent manner. If a distracted driver has caused a crash, the defendant is considered liable if he or she was engaged in distracted behavior while driving.
Comparative Liability in Florida and Distracted Drivers
Florida operates under the principle of comparative liability. Under the comparative liability system, both plaintiff and defendant essentially share fault, and both parties receive a respective percentage of damages recovered. Compensation is distributed based upon the degree of fault determined the judge.
While a general understanding of these concepts is key, comparative liability can be tricky to assign. At the time of your crash, make a mental note of any distracted driving behavior you have seen. You can also rely on witness testimony, which can be compiled and reviewed by a car accident lawyer in Clearwater.
While Florida’s distracted driving laws have yet to be passed, the proposed bills can be useful in determining liability for an accident.
Ask Yourself the Following Questions:
- Did the driver appear to have his eyes on the road?
- Was the driver reaching for something, or otherwise taking his or her hands off of the wheel?
- Did the driver appear to be mentally engaged only in the operation of his or her vehicle?
- Was the driver using a cell phone?
- Was the driver reading, writing, grooming or applying makeup?
Once a Florida distracted driver is identified, it can be easier for your car accident lawyer in to assist you in proving your decreased percentage of fault, or comparative liability in Florida. Your lawyer can also help you recover the maximum amount of damages for your crash.