The Cost of Catching Pokémon: Liability for Distracted Driving in Florida
Florida ranks third in the United States for pedestrian fatalities. One of the most common reasons for these fatalities is due to distracted drivers. Distracting driving comes in many forms: texting while driving, changing the radio station in your car, or even playing Pokémon Go.
For those of you who are not yet aware, Pokémon Go is the latest trending game for smart phones, which allows players to catch creatures named Pokémon in real world locations through tracking your phone using your GPS signal. Since its recent release, there are already several reports of traffic accidents due to distracted drivers focusing on catching Pokémon, rather than on the road. While this may seem silly, it may help to consider that experts believe cell phones are involved in approximately 25 percent of all car crashes in the United States every year. If you are involved in an accident with a distracted driver, it is important to understand your rights and any possible entitlement to damages.
How Can I Establish Someone is Liable for My Injuries?
A driver may be held civilly liable under a negligence theory for accidents caused due to distracted driving. To prevail under a negligence theory, an injured victim must bring the personal injury claim within four years from the date of the crash. Further, an injured victim must prove the following elements:
- The defendant had a duty to act as a reasonable driver would under the circumstances;
- The defendant breached this duty of care;
- The breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- The injured party suffered damages for his or her injuries.
Florida is a comparative negligence state, so even if you are partially to blame for the accident, you can still recover a portion of your damages based on the driver’s percentage of fault.
What Evidence Can I Gather to Build My Claim for Liability?
If a distracted driver injures you, you should take photos of the accident scene, including photos of whatever you believe may have caused the driver to be distracted. You should also take down names and accounts from witnesses to the accident and file a police report. Your lawyer can also request discovery in the form of cell phone records illustrating call detail and cell phone activity. An attorney can also help you consult with accident reconstruction analysts who can help prove driver distraction in your case.
What Damages Can I Recover?
If you establish a driver’s liability in a distracted driving accident, you could receive compensatory damages in the form of contribution to your past and future medical bills, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and lost wages. You may be entitled to pain and suffering damages as well.
If your family member has died due to the accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to file a wrongful death action against the driver and potentially recover for the medical bills, burial and funeral bills for the deceased. You may be entitled to the pain and suffering associated with the loss of your family member as well. It should be noted that the deadline to file for wrongful death is two, rather than four years.
Reach Out to Our Attorneys for Help
If you have been injured in an accident because of a distracted driver (playing Pokémon Go or otherwise), you should hire an experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyer to help evaluate your claim and discuss its merits. The skilled personal injury lawyers at Roman & Roman, P.A. can help you understand your rights to compensation and other damages. Contact us today for a free consultation.