Yes, you can sue someone for texting and driving. Florida law may help texting and driving accident victims recover compensation for damages in a negligence claim or texting and driving lawsuit. Read on to find out how.
In today’s day and age, cell phones are arguably the most useful devices on the planet, constantly connecting us with loved ones and the world around us. But with this constant use, comes the possibility of danger when on the road.
It is easy to understand why people are regularly tempted to glance at their phone while driving a vehicle. However, according to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year, with nearly 390,000 injuries directly attributed to accidents caused by texting and driving. One out of every four accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving. The statistics support the position that texting and driving is dangerous. Yet, people continue to do it. This led to the state of Florida passing the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”, Florida Statute Section 316.305, which took effect on July 1, 2019.
What Is the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”?
Florida Statute Section 316.305 allows police to pull over vehicles that are texting as a primary offense (civil infraction). Previously, police were not allowed to pull someone over only for texting and driving.
The statute states, “A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication.” It is important to note the term “interpersonal communication.” This means that using your GPS, looking at a map, playing music, or reading news on your phone is not prohibited. So, while this statute does move the needle closer to safer roads by completely barring texting and issuing traffic violations and fines, it still leaves out a lot of scenarios that cause distracted driving. The Clayton Trial Lawyers (CTL) legal team is experienced in proving that the negligent driver was indeed texting and not performing another action not covered under the Statute’s “interpersonal communication” language.
How Does Florida Law Help Me as a Victim?
Florida personal injury accident victims can rely on the doctrine of “negligence per se,” which creates liability against the negligently texting driver as a matter of law, if the driver was texting while driving. A driver may be liable under the negligence per se rule if the plaintiff can prove the defendant broke a law (Florida Statute 316.305) meant to protect persons like the victim from the harm caused by the defendant’s actions.
Proving the driver was using his phone for “interpersonal communication” can be challenging. So how can you prove this? One way to prove this would be if the driver admitted in a police report that he or she was texting while driving. However, this is unlikely to happen. Witnesses to the accident can also be important with their observations. For example, lawyers at CTL handled a case where the pedestrian saw a driver looking down at his phone before her in a crosswalk. A driver’s passenger can even help prove the driver’s negligence by “outing” the driver and admitting that the driver was texting.
Florida Statute 316.305 states, “Only in the event of a crash resulting in death or personal injury, a user’s billing records for a wireless communications device…may be admissible as evidence in any proceeding to determine whether a violation…has been committed.” This means that CTL lawyers, with a properly filed subpoena, can retrieve phone records from the negligent driver to help prove carelessness or negligence in your case.
Why Should I Hire Clayton Trial Lawyers for My Texting and Driving Lawsuit?
Due to the fact-intensive analysis required in each texting and driving lawsuit, if you or a loved one are involved in such an accident, you should hire an experienced Florida personal injury accident attorney to represent you and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
At Clayton Trial Lawyers, we have experienced attorneys that have won multi-million-dollar verdicts for our clients. Our attorneys pride themselves on their attention to detail and are well-versed in reviewing the facts of each case with the relevant statutory frameworks in mind. We fight for our clients to make sure they receive the justice they deserve! Contact us today to learn more.