Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers Fort Lauderdale
Experienced Lawyers Represent Clients Injured in Distracted Driving Accidents in Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Throughout Florida
It comes as surprise to many that the number one cause of Florida auto accidents isn’t drunk driving—it’s distracted driving.
Many are quick to condemn drunk drivers as a dangerous enemy to the safety of other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. And indeed, driving while intoxicated is a serious offense with many terrible, often fatal consequences. However, distracted driving is equally dangerous, perhaps even more so, yet countless drivers continue to engage in hazardous distracted driving behaviors.
Studies have found that a driver who is texting is six times more likely to cause an accident than a drunk driver. However, as many as one in five adults in Florida texts while driving.
The consequences of a distracted driving accident can be devastating. If you, a family member, or loved one has been a victim of this type of accident, you may be suffering physical injuries and emotional trauma. What’s more, you may be struggling with huge medical bills and repair fees.
Filing a personal injury claim won’t undo the damage caused by a distracted driving accident, but it can help support the cost of medical fees, lost wages, and long-term recovery. That’s why it’s essential to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
The personal injury attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey have a goal of making sure you and your loved ones are treated in a fair and equitable way. We are committed to ensuring you and your family receives the support necessary to recover, heal, and thrive after a distracted driving accident. We are equally dedicated to bringing these types of incidents into the public eye in the hopes of raising awareness about this devastating issue that is rampant in our state.
What is Florida Distracted Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines “distracted driving” as performing any activity that could potentially divert a driver’s attention from the primary task of driving. This definition goes beyond texting and driving to encompass an array of activities and behaviors, including:
Texting. Texting has become one of the most common types of distracted driving activities as smartphones continue to grow in popularity. Composing, sending, and reading text messages while driving divert the driver’s eyes from the road, increasing the risk of collision and other accidents.
Phone calls. The act of dialing a phone number or searching for a contact also takes the driver’s attention away from the task of driving, as can the conversation itself.
Talking to passengers. Studies have shown that drivers are more likely to cause an accident if they are distracted by other passengers. Teen drivers, in particular, have been known to cause more accidents when another teen is in the car with them.
Eating and drinking. Although accepted in US culture and even encouraged by many fast food establishments, eating and drinking while driving can be dangerously distracting.
Grooming. This could include putting on makeup, combing hair, or even something as simple as glancing at a mirror.
Reading maps. Whether they’re on paper, on a phone screen, or on a car navigation system screen, reading maps while driving can be incredibly distracting.
Adjusting music. A driver’s eyes and attention can be diverted from the road while adjusting a radio, popping in a CD, or switching the song on their iPhone.
Smoking. Fumbling with a lighter, ashing a cigarette, and hastily scrambling to pick up a cigarette that has fallen into the car are all examples of dangerous distracted driving behaviors.
Looking at external distractions. Drivers can become as easily distracted by external distractions as they are by distractions inside their car. Examples of external distractions include billboards, signs, and storefronts.
These are only a handful of the many different types of distracting driving behaviors that can result in serious, often fatal accidents. When a driver’s eyes leave the road for as little as five seconds, that’s enough to travel the length of a football field in a car going 55 miles per hour
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed due to the careless, distracted, and entirely preventable actions of another driver, a personal injury lawyer can be a compassionate and powerful advocate for your family. The attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphy will stand by your family, looking out for your best interests and working tirelessly to protect your rights. We’ll make sure you receive the support you need for medical treatments, rehabilitation, and recovery costs, while you focus on healing.
Protecting You and Your Family from Distracted Driving in South Florida
As a driver, it’s important to refrain from engaging in distracted driving behaviors yourself. However, it’s equally important to drive defensively to protect yourself from distracted drivers around you. Keep an eye out for cars that are driving slowly or drifting across lanes, as this is often a sign of a distracted driver.
Of course, even the most responsible and vigilant driver can’t eliminate the potential for distracted driving accidents entirely. When another driver is distracted, they can easily swerve into your lane, collide into your vehicle, and carelessly cut you off before realizing what they are doing. The risk only heightens for bicyclists and pedestrians, who are far more likely to sustain fatal injuries after being hit by a distracted driver.
After you or your family member has been injured in a distracted driving accident, the last thing you want to deal with is a messy lawsuit. Seeking legal assistance can help you navigate the troubled, emotional process of recovering damages for the wrongs you’ve suffered. With the help of a South Florida personal injury attorney, you can secure much needed compensation for you or your loved one’s medical bills, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering.
Lawlor, White & Murphey Are Committed to Protecting Florida Distracted Driving Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a distracted driver’s carelessness, you have already suffered enough. Let the compassionate and experienced attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphy take it from here. We’ll work to defend your rights, secure much needed compensation, and ensure your voice is heard, while you focus on you and your family’s recovery.
We’ll fight for public safety, justice, and your family’s interests on your behalf. We’re committed to the cause of protecting families and fighting distracted driving in Florida, which is why we work on a contingency basis—until compensation is recovered, you won’t pay us a dime. You can fill out our convenient online form for your free consultation today!
Distracted Driving Accidents Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Distracted driving is any situation where a driver fails to focus his or her full attention on the road. Distracted driving can be caused by many things, including cell phone use, using the car’s radio or navigation system, eating or drinking, applying make-up or fixing one’s hair, talking with other occupants of the vehicle, or even simply being fatigued or tired.
The National Safety Council reports that as many as 1.6 million car accidents nationwide are caused by texting and driving. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, each day across the United States nine people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in accidents caused by distracted driving, with most of those distractions caused by texting or other cell phone use.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a distracted driver, there are steps you should take following the accident. First, ensure that everyone involved in the accident is provided with medical attention if they require it. Once everyone has gotten the medical attention they need, you should take photographs of the accident scene. If there are any eyewitnesses to the accident, you will want to obtain their contact information if you later need a statement from them. If the police are called to the scene, you can obtain a copy of the accident report completed by the police. After the accident you should also seek medical treatment for your own injuries. Finally, you should consult with an experienced attorney who can help you to understand your legal rights and options and to pursue the compensation you may be entitled to.
There are many pieces of potential evidence that can be used to demonstrate that a driver was distracted behind the wheel. For example, witness testimony can be used to prove that a driver was distracted, such as an eyewitness who saw the driver’s eyes off the road or an occupant of the driver’s vehicle who testifies that the driver was distracted in the moments before the accident. If the at-fault driver is believed to have been using a cell phone while driving, phone records can be used to demonstrate that the driver was on the phone in the moments leading up to an accident.
If a driver is making a work-related call or text during an accident, it may be possible to hold his or her employer liable for the accident. In order to hold the employer liable, it will be necessary to show that the driver’s purpose behind the wheel and/or the driver’s purpose for making the call or text were within the course and scope of his or her employment. Further evidence can include the employer’s requirement for the driver to use his or her phone behind the wheel or knowledge that the driver is using a phone behind the wheel (especially for work-related purposes).
Possibly. In many cases, a driver under the age of 18 will be an additional insured under his or her parent’s auto insurance policy. If a driver under the age of 18 uses his or her parent’s vehicle and it can be shown that the parent knows or should know that his or her child engages in distracted driving (such as texting), then the parent could be held responsible if the child’s distracted driving causes an accident.
If you want to pursue a distracted driving case, there are pieces of evidence you will need to prove your claim. First, you will need evidence from the accident itself that demonstrates that the other driver is responsible for the accident. Your medical records of treatment will also demonstrate how you were injured and how your injuries were caused by the accident. Bills and invoices you receive for expenses for your treatment will establish the compensation you are entitled to, along with paystubs or income statements to prove your lost wages and earning capacity.
Yes. If you are injured in a distracted driving accident and you miss work due to your injuries, you can recover lost wages if you are not paid for time you are out of work. Furthermore, if your injuries prevent you from returning to your old job and you suffer a reduction in your income as a result, you may be able to recover damages for your lost earning capacity or potential.
Pain and suffering compensation is usually based on the severity and permanency of injuries that are suffered by the injured party. As a rule of thumb, some insurance companies will calculate pain and suffering damages as a multiple of the medical expenses incurred by the injured party. The more severe and long-lasting an injured party’s injuries are, the higher the multiple that is applied to the medical expenses to generate a number for pain and suffering damages. Of course, the final compensation for pain and suffering can also be based upon the injured party’s own testimony.
In Florida, a person injured in a motor vehicle accident has four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Minors injured in a distracted driving accident have seven years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.