April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Florida, and law enforcement officials work hard to educate the public about the number of deaths in Florida each year due to distracted driving. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like their effort is doing much good.
Below, we’re going to take a look at some alarming statistics, cover distracting driving in more detail, and well you what you can do if you are hit by a distracted driver.
Florida Distracted Driving Statistics
- Distracted driving incidents have increased 25 percent since 2013, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
- Young adults aged 20 to 24 are most likely age group to cause distracted driving accidents due to technology use. The next highest groups are ages 25 to 29, and ages 15 to 19.
- In 2017, over 50,000 car accidents in Florida were linked to distracted driving. More than 200 people died in those accidents, and around 3,000 experienced serious injuries.
- In a single county – Leon – over 900 crashes were associated with distracted driving in 2017.
- Finally, to add insult to injury, April was the worst month for distracted driving accidents in 2017, followed by March and October.
Remember what month is Distracted Driving Awareness Month? That’s right. April.
What Does It Mean to Drive Distracted in Florida?
Distracted driving is defined as taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel, or taking your mind off driving. Common driving distractions include:
- Making phone calls
- Answering emails
- Checking social media
- Applying makeup
- Adjusting the radio
- Checking GPS navigation
- Tending to children in the backseat
- Reaching over to grab an item
Texting while driving can result in a ticket if you are pulled over for another traffic violation. Lawmakers have been pushing to ban texting while driving in Florida, but the most recent bill didn’t pass the state senate.
What to Do If You are Injured by a Distracted Driver
Florida has specific laws governing car accidents. Here is what you need to know if you decide to file a claim for compensation against a distracted driver.
Statute of Limitations
You must file a claim within four years of the accident to be eligible for compensation under Florida laws.
Pure Comparative Negligence Rule
Your compensation amount may be adjusted according to the pure comparative negligence rule. The court will look at both parties in the accident to determine percentage of fault.
For example, if a distracted driver hit you while you were speeding, the court may determine that you are 25 percent responsible for the accident. If the total award for your injuries is $100,000, you would be eligible to receive a maximum of $75,000 under the rule.
The other driver’s insurance company will probably raise the limit during the negotiation process. A skilled Florida injury attorney can explain how the rule applies in your case, and what options are available to you.
No-Fault Car Insurance
Florida requires that every driver carry $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance. This means that even if the accident is 100 percent the other driver’s fault, your insurance will pay for the first $10,000 of injuries or property damage.
However, if you experience serious injuries, you can file for more compensation. Serious injuries include:
- Permanent injury
- Significant disfigurement
- Significant loss of body function
Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to know if your injuries qualify for additional compensation.
Florida courts have set limits on the maximum amount you can claim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Check with a skilled attorney to understand the limits for your case.
No matter what your specific situation, if you were hurt by a distracted driver, you deserve fair and just compensation, and that driver needs to be held accountable for their actions. Start fighting for your future today by reaching out for a free consultation.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.