Florida recently joined many other US states in cracking down on certain forms of cell phone use while driving, with a new law that went into effect July 1, 2019. An article in the Sun-Sentinel outlined the details of the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, which bans holding or handling a phone to:
- Text or make calls;
- Navigate via GPS;
- Play music;
- Post to social media; and,
- Capture photos or video.
A key provision in the new legislation is allowing law enforcement to have primary enforcement of the law, which means that police can pull a driver over for a violation. If they see motorists in unlawful conduct, officers do not need another reason to stop them.
However, you can be sure that drivers will still cell phone usage – regardless of the law and the risk of deadly and injury-causing accidents. If you were hurt under such circumstances, it is critical to discuss your claim with a Florida car accident lawyer.
Your Rights as a Victim of a Distracted Driving Accident
Even though a distracted driver may get a ticket for violating the law, you have additional legal options if you are injured in a collision. These cases are based upon negligence, much like other vehicle crashes. To recover monetary damages, you must prove:
- The responsible motorist had a duty to drive safely;
- That person breached this legal duty, specifically by driving while distracted;
- The breach of duty was a direct cause of the accident in which you were hurt; and,
- You suffered losses because of your injuries.
Filing a Claim for Car Accident Injuries
Most auto collision cases, including those caused by distracted driving, start by filing an injury claim with the responsible motorist’s insurance company. You will fill out the necessary forms and provide documentation showing your losses, along with a request for payment.
However, though you may believe your right to compensation is clear-cut, do not expect a quick payout. Insurers are businesses that only succeed by maximizing profits and minimizing losses. Your claim is a threat to these interests, so it is likely that the response to your claim will be a denial or low counteroffer. Under the circumstances, you may need to take the next step by filing a lawsuit in civil court.
Compensation for Your Losses
If you can prove the four elements described above, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages for your economic and non-economic losses. Your compensation could include:
- Medical costs for treatment;
- Lost wages, if you miss work because of your injuries;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Losses that affect your personal relationships;
- Emotional anguish; and,
- Many others.
Consult with a Florida Car Accident Attorney for Free
Though the new law on texting and driving may discourage unsafe conduct, many motorists will still engage in risky distracted driving. To learn more about your rights, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA to schedule a no-cost case evaluation. We serve accident victims throughout Southern Florida from our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach.
(image courtesy of Marlon Lara)