In 2018 alone, distracted driving claimed almost 3,000 lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Top among the source of distractions was texting while driving, which puts more than just the driver at risk. Other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists are all in danger when the driver of a vehicle is distracted. Even property damage becomes a concern. Conditions on the road can change in the blink of an eye. If a driver is texting and driving, they won’t have the reaction time necessary to avoid an accident. 

If your child was hurt in an accident involving a driver who was texting and driving, a Gainesville personal injury attorney might be able to help. We can help you receive fair compensation for both your injuries and any damages. The personal injury attorneys at The Galione Law Firm, P.A., will be on your side and fight for your rights.

Laws Against Texting And Driving

Most states are beginning to adopt legislation to some degree that puts limitations on texting while driving, or outright bans it. Whether it’s texting, calling, or using hands-free functions, using a wireless device has been shown to increase drivers’ distraction. To help address this, the Florida Senate Bill 76 took effect in 2019. This bill prohibits using a wireless device while operating a vehicle. It also makes it legal for police officers to pull over drivers and issue warnings if they are sighted using wireless devices. 

A driver’s billing records for the device or the testimony or written statement from specified authorities can also be admissible as evidence in cases where serious bodily harm was incurred. This is good news for victims of distracted driving because it can help prove the driver’s liability.

Types Of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is more than not keeping your eyes on the road. In fact, there are three categories of distracted driving, which are:

  • Manual Distraction: This kind of distraction impairs the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle physically. Activities that require even just one hand to be removed from the steering wheel fall into this category and include texting, eating, personal grooming, using GPS functions on a wireless device, and more.
  • Visual Distraction: This one deals with distractions that cause drivers to take their eyes away from the road. This includes looking at a GPS device, looking at a passenger, turning around to attend to a child in the backseat, checking the caller ID for an incoming phone call, and more.
  • Cognitive Distraction: Have you ever been thinking about something only to look up and wonder: “how did I get here?” Well, this is a type of cognitive distraction, and it can be a huge problem when it comes to driving safely. Even if a driver uses a hands-free device, their mind will stay focused on that matter for at least 30 seconds after using it — plenty of time for an accident to occur. 

Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving can cause many different types of collisions. A common one is rear-end collisions, where the driver is using their wireless device for texting, navigating, calling someone, or even just browsing the internet, and they don’t look up in time to see that traffic has stopped. Bam! Now they’ve collided with the back of your car, potentially causing you to ram into the back of the person in front of you.

Distracted drivers are also prone to drift from their lanes, either causing other vehicles to swerve to avoid hitting them, which is also dangerous. Or, they could drift into other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicycles that they are sharing the road with. They also often run stop signs or red lights, risking colliding with other people on the road. No matter what type of collision, if a distracted driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your child’s injuries.

Compensation In A Texting While Driving Case

There is a duty of care obligation in the United States, which means that all people must take reasonable action to avoid harming others. If the driver at fault for the accident was texting, using a wireless device, or otherwise distracted, they have breached that basic duty of care and are liable for the injuries that they have caused. In this scenario, victims may receive compensation by filing a civil lawsuit against the liable driver. This compensation can help cover medical expenses associated with the accident, such as doctor visits, hospitalization fees, surgery, prescription medications, and other treatments. 

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine how much to claim and help you to recover your losses.

Are Parents Liable If Their Child Causes A Distracted Driving Accident?

Typically, a minor driver will be covered under their parents’ insurance. If they cause an accident through distracted driving, their parents’ insurance company will most likely defend them. If the insurance company will not defend the minor, denies the claim, or if the minor is driving uninsured, the parents of the child may be held legally responsible for medical compensations to the victim(s) of the accident. However, there are variables in determining whether a parent or parents are liable in the case of a minor causing a distracted driving accident. An experienced attorney can help you decide the best course of action in a personal injury lawsuit.

Our Personal Injury Law Firm Could Help

Despite the Florida Senate Bill 76 being passed, people still drive while using their mobile devices, risking their lives and the lives of those who they share the roads with. If your child was injured due to a driver who was distracted by texting or using their wireless device in any way that caused them to become distracted, the Galione Law Firm, P.A. can assist you with determining the merits of your claim and determining the amount of compensation you might be eligible to receive. It is in both yours and your child’s best interest to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can make this troubling time easier for you and your family.