There are many types of distracted driving that can lead to motor vehicle accidents and crashes. Distracted driving can involve cellphone use while driving, use of GPS units or other electronic devices while driving, or distractions from within the vehicle, such as from loud music or loud passengers. Children who are present in the vehicle can also cause distractions for motor vehicle drivers.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under Florida law for the injuries and damages you sustained. Our experienced personal injury lawyers have the legal knowledge and experience to help you prove your negligence claim and increase the potential value of your personal injury case.
Studies currently show that driving with children in the car can lead to motor vehicle accidents. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, child passengers in motor vehicles have the potential to create four times as many distractions for drivers as adult passengers do.
Moreover, infant passengers can be nearly eight times as distracting as adult passengers in motor vehicles. There are even statistics that indicate drivers with children or infants in the vehicle can be up to twelve times more distracted than drivers who use cellphones or other electronic devices while driving.
Some of the most common ways children who are in the car can cause or contribute to distracted driving accidents include the following:
Misbehavior and roughhousing: When children are present in the back seat of a motor vehicle – and particularly when they are roughhousing or misbehaving – the driver must turn around to look at the children or watch them through the rearview mirror. This requires that the vehicle driver diverts his or her attention away from the road and increases the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident.
Conversations: It is very easy for parents to become distracted with children in the vehicle, especially when they are trying to calm a child who is upset or crying or when they are helping a child to find a lost item or toy in the car while they are trying to drive the vehicle.
These distractions can sometimes be reduced by having another adult present in the car who can respond to the children’s needs. This allows the driver to focus his or her full-time attention on the roadway with minimal distractions.
In order to prove negligence in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a distracted driver, the injured plaintiff must prove the following elements of negligence:
Duty: When operating a motor vehicle, a driver owes everyone else on the roadway a duty to drive in a reasonably careful and prudent manner. In distracted driving cases, drivers are held to the standard of care of a “reasonably prudent driver” operating a motor vehicle under the same or similar circumstances.
Breach (or Violation) of the Applicable Duty of Care: This means that the driver violated the applicable duty of care. When a driver engages in distracted driving, then he or she may be deemed liable for negligence and can be held responsible for the injuries and damages sustained by an accident victim or victims. This is true even when children present in the vehicle cause or contribute to the distraction.
Causation: The injured plaintiff must show that the distracted driver’s breach of the applicable duty of care resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries and damages. The injured plaintiff must be able to demonstrate both factual causation and legal (or proximate) causation.
Damages: Damages in Clearwater distracted driving cases consist of both economic and noneconomic damages.
Types of Damages
Injured plaintiffs in Clearwater distracted driving cases may be able to recover some or all of the following types of damages as part of their personal injury recovery: Compensation for medical bills and physical therapy bills; Compensation for lost wages and time missed from work; Compensation for past, present, and future pain and suffering; Compensation for past, present, and future mental anguish and emotional distress; Compensation for causally related psychological or psychiatric treatment; Compensation for loss of earning capacity (in cases of permanent damages or permanent disability); Compensation for loss of consortium, companionship, or spousal support; Compensation for punitive damages (available only under the most egregious of circumstances); Wrongful death damages (where applicable)
It is important to note that in Clearwater distracted driving negligence cases, the defendant driver’s insurance company is not on your side. Insurance companies, above all, are businesses, and their primary goals are to make money and to keep as much of their money in-house as possible.
Generally speaking, insurance company adjusters will try to downplay an accident victim’s injuries and claim that certain injuries and damages are actually the results of pre-existing conditions or degenerative changes rather than from the motor vehicle accident caused by the distracted driver.
Motor vehicle accidents that result from distracted driving can be extremely serious and can result in long-term personal injuries and damages. Our experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyers understand how insurance companies and their adjusters evaluate personal injury claims. They are equipped to represent you and your interests to the fullest extent of the law and can help you to maximize the settlement value of your case.
If you have been injured in a Florida motor vehicle accident as a result of a distracted driver’s carelessness or negligence, our experienced attorneys may be able to help you obtain the monetary compensation you need and deserve under Florida law.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Clearwater personal injury lawyer, please call Dolman Law Group at 727-451-6900 or contact us online at www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/