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Jacksonville Distracted Driving Accident Attorney


Distracted driving is one of the most significant dangers on the road, in Florida and across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving kills more than 3,000 people in the U.S. each year. In most cases, distracted driving is negligent driving. That means the driver who turned their attention away from the road and caused or contributed to an accident is likely liable for damages.

The best source of information about your rights after an accident is a Jacksonville personal injury lawyer that has experience with distracted driving claims. You can schedule a free consultation with a seasoned car accident lawyer at Harrell & Harrell right now. Just call 904-251-1111 or fill out our contact form to get started.

What is Distracted Driving?

Most people automatically associate distracted driving with cell phones and text messages. Mobile devices are a common cause of distracted driving, but they are far from the only one. Some other types of distractions that can be dangerous on the road include:

  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Turning to talk to a backseat passenger or attend to a child in the back
  • Entering information into your GPS
  • Making adjustments in the vehicle, such as adjusting the heater/AC or changing a playlist
  • Reaching for objects inside the vehicle
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle
  • Internal distractions, such as daydreaming

The other types of distraction don’t get as much press as texting and other cell phone usage, but they can be just as dangerous. And, many people aren’t even aware of the dangers associated with sipping a cup of coffee or mentally planning their next vacation behind the wheel. In response to different studies, 48-70% of U.S. adults have admitted to eating and drinking while driving.

Distracted Driving is Dangerous

Many drivers underestimate what can happen in the few seconds their eyes are off the road. For example, reading a 12-word text–something like, “Hey, I’m going to be about 10 minutes late. See you soon!”–takes about three seconds, not including transition time.

That doesn’t sound like much, but at 30 mph that driver will cover more than 88 feet in those three seconds. That’s a lot of ground to cover on a residential street without looking in front of you–more than a quarter of the average city block. That’s plenty of time for a pedestrian to step out from between cars, a dog to run into the road, or a car in front of you to brake suddenly. At highway speeds, you’ll travel more than 400 feet in those same three seconds.

Distracted Driving is Negligence

Drivers on Florida roads have a responsibility to take care in their driving, so as not to put other people or property at risk. A driver who is reading text messages, sorting through music on their phone, so wrapped up in a conversation with a passenger that they’re not focused on the road, or otherwise driving inattentively is generally not fulfilling that responsibility. That means a distracted driver who causes a collision or who hits a pedestrian or a bicyclist will typically be responsible for damages such as:

  • Medical expenses associated with the crash
  • Lost income during treatment and recovery
  • Compensation for pain and suffering

To learn more, schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced local distracted driving lawyers right away.

Florida Distracted Driving FAQs

What is meant by distracted driving?

Distracted driving covers a wide range of inattention behind the wheel. This includes visual distractions, such as turning away from the road to look at your phone or check out an accident on the other side of the divider, physical distractions such as taking your hand off the wheel to grab a bite of your burger, or mental distraction such as daydreaming on the road.

What are the most common causes of distracted driving?

The best known culprit is mobile devices. But, the truth is that drivers are distracted by a wide array of things, including functions built into their vehicles, looking for an address while driving, turning to hand something to a child in the back seat, or trying not to spill coffee on their work clothes during the morning commute.

Can I pursue a personal injury claim if I was injured in a distracted driving accident?

Generally, a distracted driver is behaving negligently. That means that someone injured by a distracted driver–another driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, a motorcyclist, or a bicyclist, for example–can usually pursue compensation for their injuries. The distracted driver’s insurance company may settle the claim, or the injured person may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to collect compensation.

It’s in your best interest to consult a distracted driving accident lawyer before accepting a settlement because insurance companies don’t always play fair. That’s especially important if your injuries are serious or the insurance company is offering a settlement before you are fully recovered.

How can an attorney help me if I’ve been involved in a distracted driving accident?

A distracted driving attorney can help with your claim in many ways, including gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses, establishing negligence on the part of the distracted driver, negotiating with the responsible party’s insurance company, managing the procedural aspects of your case such as exchange of information through the discovery process, securing and working with expert witnesses as necessary, and–if it’s in your best interest–presenting your case to a jury.

If you’re not experienced with the Florida civil justice system, it’s easy to make missteps that can seriously hurt your case. Your attorney will take over certain aspects of the case and guide you through others to avoid those errors. And, you’ll be free to focus on your recovery while someone else shoulders the legal process.

Are there any laws or regulations specifically targeting distracted driving?

Florida law prohibits certain types of distracted driving, focused on texting and other mobile device usage. The fact that the driver was violating a traffic safety regulation at the time of the accident can make it easier to establish negligence. However, any distracted driving usually constitutes negligence, meaning that the driver is responsible for any harm they cause due to the distraction. The process of establishing negligence is simply a bit different.

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