According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36,560 people lost their lives in fatal vehicle accidents in the United States in 2018. Car accidents result in tens of billions of dollars in losses every year in the form of medical treatment costs, insurance overheads, lost income and wages, and property damage.
Distracted driving—and texting and driving, in particular—is a serious public health issue. According to the NHTSA, texting while driving and distracted driving caused or contributed to 2,841 deaths in 2018, with hundreds of thousands of more victims suffering a wide range of injuries—some permanent and life-altering—because of driver negligence and inattention while behind the wheel.
Accidents Caused by Texting While Driving in Fort Myers
At a speed of about 55 mph, a vehicle will travel the length of a football field in about five seconds. That is the average time that someone who texts from behind the wheel takes his or her eyes off the road. What makes texting and driving especially dangerous is that it involves mental, visual, and manual distractions because the driver takes his or her attention away from driving, looks away from the road ahead, and takes his or her hands off the wheel to interact with a handheld electronic device.
Texting and driving can lead to:
- Dangerous merging and blind spot accidents.
- Lane-change and side-swipe accidents.
- Front and rear-end accidents.
- Dangerous swaying within or between lanes.
- Rollover accidents.
- Jackknife accidents when trucks are involved.
- Undercarriage or underride accidents.
- Intersection, pedestrian, and bicyclist accidents.
- Road fixture or roadside property accidents.
Why Text While Driving Is Dangerous in Fort Myers?
Texting and driving accidents can lead to serious monetary losses and bodily harm. Some of the losses commonly seen in texting and driving cases include:
- Property and vehicle damage.
- Income losses from an inability to work.
- Medical care costs.
- Medicine, diagnostic testing, and assistive device costs.
Injuries commonly seen in texting and driving accidents include
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Spinal cord damage.
- Internal organ damage.
- Lacerations and contusions.
- Abrasions and disfigurement.
- Burns, fractures, and broken bones.
- Eye, mouth, and dental injuries.
- Nerve, muscle, and ligament damage.
Treatments for these injuries—particularly for severe injuries, such as spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injuries—can cost tens of thousands of dollars per incident. Furthermore, even a few weeks away from work can place a family’s financial stability in serious jeopardy. If you were involved in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, you may have grounds for texting while driving a lawsuit.
Evidentiary Requirements and Filing a Claim in a Car Accident in Fort Myers
To file texting while driving lawsuit, you must be able to prove that the negligent actions of another road user were the direct reason that an accident occurred and that the accident led to physical, financial, or other losses on your part. You must also be able to prove the extent of your losses or injuries using evidence, such as:
- Cellphone usage records to prove to text while driving or distracted driving on the part of the at-fault driver.
- Medical care and treatment bills to prove your injuries.
- Vehicle repair estimates—or the residual value of a totaled vehicle—to prove vehicle damage losses.
- Income statements or pay stubs to prove income, salary, or wage losses.
Other forms of evidence that may be used in a texting while driving lawsuit include a police report on the accident, eyewitness statements, and dashcam footage or pictures from the accident scene.
Our Experiences Accident Lawyer Help in Your Texting While Driving Case
- Collect the evidence needed to substantiate your claims.
- Estimate the value of your losses and injuries.
- Submit a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurer (this letter is required for many types of claims).
- Submit the testimony of a medical injury expert along with your claim (this testimony is also a requirement for certain personal injury claims).
- Help you compile all of your property, injury, and job-related costs and losses that accrue to you from the accident.
- Ensure you meet important filing deadlines and meet the various evidentiary, administrative, and legal requirements for your case.
- Negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurer or his or her representatives for a settlement.
- Represent you in court if we cannot reach a settlement.
Contact The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
Statutes of limitations apply to Fort Myers personal injury and vehicle accident cases, so please do not delay. Contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato today for a free case evaluation. We provide services on a contingency-fee basis and do not collect unless you win your case, so do not hesitate to reach out to us today.
FAQs in Texting While Driving Cases
After a car accident, you may have many concerns. When you hire our team, we work to get your questions answered promptly.
For now, here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about texting while driving:
Does Texting While Driving Cause Accidents?
Yes. As mentioned above, distracted driving – including texting while driving – causes thousands of fatal accidents in the United States each year. Yet the 3,142 deaths reported by the NHTSA in 2019 may underestimate the actual number of accidents and fatal accidents caused by texting while driving.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 26 states do not even have a field on their accident report forms that designates texting while driving as the cause of the crash. Hands-free cell phone use is also frequently not included as a potential accident cause on crash report forms.
As a result, the NSC estimates that the number of people killed by distracted driving accidents may be closer to 40,000 per year, and the number of injury-causing crashes resulting from texting and driving is closer to 276,000. In Florida alone, 48,000 distracted driving crashes were reported in 2020, leading to 300 fatalities, per the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
How Dangerous Is Texting While Driving?
The NSC lists four types of distraction for drivers:
- Cognitive: When a driver is less present mentally
- Manual: When a driver is less able to hold the steering wheel, brake, or perform other physical driving tasks
- Visual: When a driver’s vision of the road is compromised
- Visual/Manual: When a driver’s attention is taken away by a task that includes both visual and physical components
Texting can cause a driver to be distracted by all four of these.
The NHTSA confirms that drivers cannot fully pay attention to the road when they are distracted by phone use or texting. When a driver removes their eyes from the road for just five seconds while driving 55 mph, it’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed.
Is Texting While Driving Illegal?
Texting while driving is illegal in many states, including Florida. As of July 1, 2019, texting and driving was prohibited in Florida. This law empowers officers to pull over drivers who are suspected of typing on their phones, as the law bans drivers from manually typing on their devices.
Failing to abide by this law could lead to a $30 fine for a first offense. A second offense comes with a $60 fine and three points assessed against your driver’s license, according to the FLHSMV.
Can I Talk on the Phone While Driving?
Florida law does not ban talking on the phone while driving. However, drivers could still be ticketed if their phone conversation involves typing information into their phone while driving.
How Can You Prove Someone Is Texting While Driving?
Texting while driving often requires investigative work to prove. In some situations, your accident lawyer may be able to acquire a driver’s cell phone records to show that they were texting while driving. We can also gather evidence from sources such as:
- Dashcam footage
- Witness statements
- Surveillance camera footage
- Police officer testimony
- Accident reconstruction data
Because it can be challenging to gather this crucial evidence that proves a driver was texting while driving, you may want to hire a lawyer from our team to help.