Many US states have taken action against the dangers of texting and driving by enacting statutes that make certain types of cell phone use illegal while a driver is operating a vehicle. Florida’s approach is contained within the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law, which took effect in July 2019. Police now have primary enforcement to pull over a motorist if they observe violations of the law, and there are penalties for getting a ticket. However, if illegal cell phone use is linked to an injury-causing accident, victims cannot always rely on law enforcement observations when pursuing their right to compensation. Unlike a drunk driving accident where the motorist’s chemical rests reveal a blood alcohol content over the legal limit, there are issues of proof with a distracted driving crash.
You cannot expect the responsible driver to admit to texting, so you – through your Miami car accidents attorney – will need to explore other options to get essential evidence. An overview of the key issues may help you understand the importance of proof in texting and driving collision claims.
Florida Law on Texting While Driving
The state ban on cell phone use states that a person cannot operate a motor vehicle while typing or entering text into a wireless communications device, a ban that includes texting, emailing, and instant messaging. The law is one of primary enforcement, which means that police can pull a driver over for a violation – without the need for another reason. In addition, the statute prohibits using a cell phone in a handheld manner with driving in a school or construction zone.
Essential Elements of a Florida Car Accident Claim
A driver may receive a $30 ticket for violating the law, but this punishment does nothing to compensate you for your losses as an injured victim. Instead, you must file a civil claim to recover monetary damages. The process requires you to prove that:
- The responsible motorist had a duty to drive safely;
- That person breached this duty by using a cell phone;
- The breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident; and,
- You suffered losses because of your injuries.
Proof in a Texting and Driving Auto Crash Case
The key piece of evidence in an accident resulting from illegal cell phone use relates to #2 above. Some examples of evidence to prove the claim and support your case include:
- Cell phone records showing texting activity in the moments before the crash;
- Witnesses who saw the person on the phone;
- Your own observations, such as seeing the glow of the screen on the motorist’s face; and,
- Many others.
Reach Out to Our Miami Car Accidents Lawyers for Assistance
This summary of evidentiary issues in a texting and driving crash may be helpful, but you can count on our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA to handle the specifics. We have access to resources that will help support your claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company, and will be useful in a court case. To schedule your free case evaluation, please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL today.