Distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. This month a Fort Myers man was sending a text when he crashed his car into a bus stop and tree, flipping upside down. But while drunk drivers face tough criminal penalties, Florida’s law against “distracted driving” is weak and hard to enforce.
So what if someone on their phone hits your car?
The law gives you options. While the criminal penalty they face is light, you’re still able to sue them and receive compensation. This compensation can be awarded whether they get convicted or not, and it can make a crucial difference in paying for your medical bills or damages.
Legally, if the other driver was texting, it substantially increases your chances of winning your case. This is for several reasons:
- In order to win your case, you must show that they caused the accident, either through their actions or their negligence. Texting while driving is a strong indicator of negligence.
- While a very minor charge, distracted driving is illegal in Florida. If the other driver is found guilty of any charge—even a minor one—it serves as strong evidence that they are at fault.
- If the case goes to trial, the jury will likely consist of fellow drivers. Many of them have their own strong feelings about motorists who operate a phone instead of paying attention.
That means that drivers who use their cell phones behind the wheel are not only more likely to cause an accident, they—and their insurance carriers—could also be more likely to lose in court or to have to pay more money in a settlement.
Of course, proving cell phone use it not easy. If you find yourself involved in an accident, it’s important to ask witnesses if they saw the other driver using a cell phone before the crash. If you snap photos of the two cars, glance at the dashboard for a cell phone that was thrown forward during the impact and get a picture of it. And be sure to tell your lawyer you suspect distracted driving—they may be able to check social media for tweets or posts a moment before the accident, or even request phone records.
If you find yourself injured in an accident, Steinger Greene & Feiner can help. We offer a FREE meeting to help you determine how strong your case is and what compensation you’re eligible for. Contact Steinger, Greene & Feiner today.