Feb 14, 2024

Staying Focused on the Road: A Deep Dive into Distracted Driving and Texting Laws in Florida Can Lead to Punitive Damages

Nowadays, cars have 50 different ways of distracting occupants with all the technology available on the dash display. And considering how many tourists or out-of-towners drive on Miami roads, the technology and lack of familiarity make driving even more dangerous for Floridians.

When you put your car in drive and hit the road, you are expected to follow certain laws (no matter where or when you learned to drive). That includes not driving distracted, which is a problem that has always existed, but has only gotten worse with the use of cell phones and infotainment centers in most cars. Unfortunately, people of all ages often try to navigate Florida’s roads while checking messages, eating, looking at maps, or being distracted in other ways.

The auto accident attorneys at Nuñez Law are here to help if you are involved in a car accident where someone was distracted driving, or if you were injured by a driver who simply was not paying attention to the road. These situations can be tough to navigate, but we strive to help our clients overcome these situations.

Photo of a Man Texting and Driving

What Is Distracted Driving? 

Distracted driving is doing anything that takes your focus off the road. If you are not looking at the road, your reaction time is drastically diminished. If you are traveling more than 60 mph, it can take a longer time to stop the vehicle. That can lead to deadly situations. 

Some common distractions include the following:

  • Texting or calling while driving
  • Eating
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Checking the GPS
  • Looking for a podcast
  • Kid passengers
  • Applying make-up

Florida’s Laws on Distracted Driving

Like many states, Florida has tried to crack down on distracted driving in recent years. As distracted drivers have caused more accidents in the past decade, laws are changing to protect motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. 

This has been a two-fold campaign involving public outreach/education, and more penalties for people who drive distracted. That means if you are involved in a case with a distracted driver, you may have additional remedies in the form of legal penalties against the at-fault party.

If a police officer in Florida sees someone driving distracted, he may be pulled over and issued a citation. This traffic ticket will come with a fine and points on the license, which can add up over time and lead to a license suspension. 

What Happens If I Am Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident? 

One moment, you may have been on the road, and the next, you have been severely injured and are being transported to the hospital. This can be a scary and frustrating situation, and you may be unsure what to do when this happens. 

The details of your distracted driving car accident can define what happens next. What you should know is that our attorneys are ready to help drivers recover following their car accident, and we are prepared to seek ways to show when you are involved in a distracted driving wreck.

Penalties for Causing an Accident by Driving Distracted 

Accidents caused by distracted drivers are a serious issue and can lead to more penalties for driving distracted and hitting another vehicle or person. While driving distracted is generally a traffic violation, not a crime, a distracted driver could still face further penalties for the offense. 

Most notably, one might receive much higher insurance premiums. Insurance companies value your premiums based on how likely you are to have an accident they have to pay for. Because of this, more frequent signs of careless or reckless driving or accidents can lead to higher premiums.

Worse, one found to be driving while distracted like when texting could expose that person to punitive damages in a lawsuit if it is established that the conduct was willful or a conscious disregard of the safety of those occupying the roads.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim Against a Distracted Driver 

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may have grounds for an injury claim, and if a lawsuit is filed, you may be able to pursue punitive damages against the at-fault distracted driver. When a driver fails to complete their duty to drive safely on the road, including avoiding known distractions, they can be financially responsible for the damage they caused. 

That means you may want to file a lawsuit for the many damages you have suffered. While Florida drivers have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for up to $10,000 of medical bills your car accident claim regardless of fault, this coverage does not compensate for future bills or pain and suffering. If you are seriously injured, your lawyer will make sure that there is Bodily Injury coverage and/or Uninsured Motorist benefits available to make an injury claim..

Florida’s Shared Fault Laws 

In many cases, there is not a single driver who is entirely responsible for the accident. For example, the other driver may have caused the accident, but they might claim that because you were texting and driving, you were partly responsible for the damages. If they successfully prove that you were driving distracted or were partly responsible for the accident, it can impact the value of your case. 

Florida has modified comparative negligence laws, meaning that your compensation can be reduced by your percentage of fault or completely blocked if your fault is past a certain percentage. For example, if the other party is partially at fault but you get 20 percent of the blame, you will only receive 80 percent of the value of your claim. That leaves you paying a lot for damages caused by the other driver. 

Because of this, it is vital to fight back when you are accused of being partly responsible for an accident. Failure to do so can reduce your compensation, and in some cases, can completely block any compensation.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me After a Distracted Driving Accident? 

When you have been involved in a distracted driving car accident, recovery without aid can be difficult. You may not have the tools to deal with a legal claim, and you may not have the resources to gather evidence and prepare your claim as you need it. Fortunately, a great injury attorney in Miami can help. 

If you are facing a distracted driving accident claim and need guidance, do not hesitate to reach out to an excellent accident lawyer; they can provide you with all these services and more if you hire them.

Gather Evidence to Protect Your Claim 

If you were injured in a car accident, you may not have the physical and mental energy to gather evidence, let alone the tools to do so. 

An attorney specializing in Florida injury cases can provide the tools and resources you need to gather evidence that shows someone was driving distracted. That includes eyewitness accounts, video footage, photos of the scene, electronically stored information, and more. That evidence can help you prove that the other person was not only responsible for the accident, but it was due to being distracted.

Know Your Claim’s Value 

After a car accident, you may have suffered serious injuries and other damages that can impact your quality of life. These damages can be difficult to overcome, but they can also be difficult to calculate. You may not have the tools to know your claim’s value. This is where a lawyer can be best to help you. 

Calculating your economic and non-economic damages can take specific knowledge that you may not have access to. Fortunately, your attorney does. Your lawyer can help you add up the damages you have suffered and estimate your intangible and future economic damages. That gives you the full range of compensation you deserve for the suffering you have experienced because of the car accident.

Court Representation

A great car accident attorney will have trial experience, meaning knowing all the steps that need to be taken before stepping foot in the courtroom numerous times and understanding how to navigate it. If you need help navigating the situation, your lawyer can speak in court for you, representing your best interests and helping you recover, and maybe even being able to resolve the injury case before a lawsuit is needed.

Seek Help After a Distracted Driving Accident 

Distracted driving is a serious issue, and it can lead to problems if you are a victim of it. Whether you have suffered serious injuries because someone else was texting and driving, taking legal action can help you overcome this situation and get the compensation you need for your road to recovery. 

The team at Nuñez Law is here to help when you are hurt in the aftermath of a car accident and need to file a claim for injuries. Our team offers free consultations, where we can discuss your options for taking legal action following an accident. To learn more about your options, do not hesitate to reach out by calling or by completing our online contact form.  Remember at AccidentLawFirm.com, Our 5-Star Reviews Are No Accident.