Florida’s recent implementation of a new law targeting texting while driving has sparked significant and far-reaching implications, particularly within personal injury cases. As smartphones and digital distractions become increasingly prevalent on the roads, lawmakers have recognized the urgent need to address the dangers of distracted driving.
Overview of Florida’s Texting While Driving Law
Enacted on October 1, 2013, Florida’s new texting while driving law prohibits drivers from manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communication device while operating a vehicle. The law considers it a primary offense, meaning law enforcement can pull over drivers solely for this violation. Violators may face penalties, including fines and points on their driving records.
Enhanced Liability and Negligence in Personal Injury Cases
With the introduction of the new law, personal injury cases involving distracted driving have gained an additional layer of complexity. Plaintiffs now can argue that the defendant’s violation of the texting while driving law constitutes negligence per se. This means that if a defendant is found guilty of violating the law, it can serve as automatic evidence of negligence, simplifying the burden of proof for the injured party.
Challenges in Proving Texting While Driving
While the texting while driving law strengthens personal injury claims, proving that the defendant was texting during the accident can present challenges. Obtaining concrete evidence such as phone records or witness testimonies becomes crucial in establishing liability. Additionally, defendants may attempt to delete or conceal evidence, making it essential for victims to seek legal assistance promptly.
Impact on Compensation for Victims
The new law also affects the calculation of damages in personal injury cases. If a plaintiff successfully demonstrates that the defendant was texting while driving, it can strengthen their compensation claim. Courts may consider this evidence of the defendant’s negligence, potentially leading to higher compensatory awards for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Increased Focus on Distracted Driving Awareness
One of the positive effects of Florida’s texting-while-driving law is its increased awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. The law acts as a deterrent, encouraging drivers to prioritize safety and avoid engaging in risky behavior behind the wheel. This, in turn, can reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted driving.
Florida’s texting-while-driving law has ushered in a new era of accountability and awareness surrounding distracted driving. By targeting the dangerous practice of texting behind the wheel, the law aims to promote safer roads and protect the well-being of both drivers and pedestrians. While challenges persist in proving liability and gathering concrete evidence, the law provides a valuable tool for personal injury cases, simplifying the burden of proof for plaintiffs. As the legal landscape continues evolving, drivers must prioritize safety, adhere to the law, and embrace responsible mobile device use. By doing so, we can collectively work towards reducing accidents, protecting lives, and fostering a culture of focused and responsible driving.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, seeking legal representation from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is crucial. They can navigate the complexities of the law, gather evidence, and advocate for your rights to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Responsible driving begins with each of us, so let’s commit to focusing on the road and prioritizing safety.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all personal injury cases, focusing on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in representing injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, and has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2022– an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2022, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2022.