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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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Injured in a Texting and Driving Accident in Orlando

According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. A National Occupant Protection Use Survey reports that handheld cell phone use is highest among 16-to-24-year-old drivers.

In Florida in 2019, there were more than 56,000 distracted driving car accidents. In fact, Florida is the second-worst state in the United States for distracted driving car accidents with Louisiana being the worst.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel (manual), your eyes off the road (visual), or your mind off driving (cognitive). It is extremely risky behavior that puts everyone on the road in danger.

Texting while driving is a form of distracted driving. On July 1, 2019, Florida become the 45th state to make texting while driving a primary offense.

Reading or typing a text requires you to take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. Even if you use hands-free texting options like voice commands or have a voice assistant like Siri read your texts, your mind is not focused on driving, but rather distracted by texting. This “inattention blindness” is a cognitive preoccupation with a conversation that occurs even without holding the phone, resulting in a slower reaction time and limiting the driver’s ability to detect changes in conditions.

How Big is the Texting and Driving Problem?

Many drivers underestimate the risk of peeking at or responding to a text message. For example, it might take just 5 seconds to answer a text; however, at a highway speed of 55 miles per hour, a car will have traveled the length of a football field. Drivers who would never dream of driving drunk often react to the ping of a new message by picking up their phones and texting while driving.

Of all cell phone-related tasks, texting while driving is by far the most dangerous activity.

  • In the United States, texting and driving causes 1 out of every 4 car accidents
  • Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk
  • 42 percent of high school students admitted that they text or email while driving in 2015
  • The likelihood of an accident of any sort increases by 23 times when the driver is texting, even when the other driver is at fault

Texting While Driving Injuries

In 2019, 271 people in Florida died and 2,928 were seriously injured as a result of distracted driving. Of these distracted driving cases, about a dozen crashes resulted in fatalities or debilitating injuries because a driver decided to text while driving.

Texting while driving is a deadly mix with the potential to cause:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Blunt force trauma
  • Pedestrian injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Death

Like most car accidents, innocent victims are injured or killed. Some will face a lifetime of pain and suffering, medical treatments, financial ruin, and loss. Some will die. Their futures have been torn from them and their families because of a poor decision.

Legal Remedies for Texting and Driving

Texting and driving is not a new phenomenon. For more than a decade our founding partner, John Leighton, has written and lectured extensively on driving while distracted (DWD), and made suggestions on how the civil justice system can create a deterrent effect in order to change societal behavior.

In 2011 he wrote, “For many high-risk activities, it is only through the civil justice system that true social change will occur. DWD may be one of those activities.”

Back then, Florida didn’t have any laws against texting while driving. Today, texting and driving is against the law in Florida. A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers or symbols into a wireless communications device to text, email and instant message. Law enforcement officers may stop motor vehicles and issue citations to motorists who are texting and driving.

While texting and driving laws serve as a deterrent and punish drivers caught in the act. Drivers involved in a texting and driving accident may also be cited. However, in serious accidents involving personal injuries or fatalities, pursuing legal action becomes necessary to:

  • Hold the other driver and any other responsible parties accountable for their negligence
  • Recover compensation for damages such as medical bills, funeral costs, loss of income, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering
  • Raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving

In order for a texting and driving lawsuit to be successful, the claim must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. Evidence can include:

  • A police report documenting the accident
  • Photos or video from the accident scene
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Cell phone data
  • Records of medical treatment
  • Income documentation
  • Documentation of time off from work as a result of the accident
  • Expert testimony such as from a doctor about the cause of the injury and its prognosis

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured from a texting and driving accident, having an experienced, board-certified personal injury trial lawyer on your side is essential as an auto insurance settlement may not be enough to cover your long-term recovery. Catastrophic injuries and their repercussions can last a lifetime. It’s not just the immediate car repairs and medical bills you need to worry about, but the long-term economic and non-economic damages affecting your entire future.

Leighton Law has successfully litigated complex, catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases involving texting and driving accidents in Florida. We have obtained some of the most substantial recoveries in personal injuries and wrongful death cases for our clients. We work on contingency and offer a free, no obligation consultation. Talk to a personal injury attorney today to explore your next steps.

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

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