St. Petersburg Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers
Distracted drivers have become one of the most common reasons for traffic injuries and fatalities. Currently, Florida legislation deems texting while driving illegal, but it is still one of the most commonly noted causes of accidents. While texting and talking on the phone are common distractions, other behaviors can also be to blame. As a St. Petersburg distracted driving accident lawyer, Bulluck Law Group is determined to get you the compensation you deserve.
Bulluck Law Group has successfully recovered damages for multiple clients who were victims of distracted drivers. We work with victims to establish fault and hold the distracted party liable for damages. If you or a loved one were involved in an automobile accident and you believe the driver was distracted, call us today for a free consultation. We will evaluate your case and evidence to help determine legal options.
What Is Considered Distracted Driving?
When people think about distracted driving, texting while driving comes to mind. There is more to distracted driving than just phones. There are three categories of driver distraction, broken down by Florida law:
- Visual. Taking your eyes off the road for any reason is visually distracted driving. Averting your eyes to change your iPod, talk to a passenger, or dig through your bag often leads to visual distraction.
- Manual. Taking your hands off the wheel is a manual distraction. Texting, eating, or applying makeup are common reasons for releasing the wheel. Obviously, if a driver is not in control of the vehicle, the situation becomes dangerous.
- Thinking about anything other than driving is a cognitive distraction. Any number of distracting thoughts can cause a driver to not pay attention to the road. The lessened cognitive ability will cause the driver to have poor reflexes and reaction times.
What Are Common Activities of Distracted Drivers?
Any time a driver is visually, manually, or cognitively distracted they are dangerous. Specific driver activities reported by law enforcement officials include:
- Texting or talking
- Talking to passengers
- Applying makeup
- Changing the radio
- Distracted by external factors
If you witnessed the driver engaging in any of these activities, be sure to tell the police during the report. Documentation of the driver’s activities at the time of the accident can be priceless in settlements or court trials.
What Are Common Injuries Associated With Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving accidents can be minor or severe. At low speeds, common accidents include rear-ending, fender benders, and side-swiping. Higher speeds cause more severe injuries, partially due to the decrease in reaction times of distracted drivers. High-speed distracted driving accidents typically involve T-boning, rear-ending, or losing control of the vehicle. Common injuries associated with distracted driver accidents can include:
- Brain or neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Internal bleeding
Victims of distracted drivers often suffer life-altering injuries, with persistent medical problems or long-term lost wages. On occasion, injuries can result in paralysis or death of victims.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Injured by a Distracted Driver?
If you have been injured or in an accident with someone you believe was distracted, contact us immediately. We will work with you from early on to establish a case and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take If You Are in an Accident with a Distracted Driver:
- Seek medical treatment immediately, if needed
- Call the police to guarantee they will file a report
- Photograph the vehicles involved
- Photograph road conditions and any bad weather present
- Obtain witness information and statements
- Exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver
How Can Distracted Driving Be Proven?
The best way to prove a driver was distracted is with the help of witnesses. Immediately after the accident, ask for witness statements. Ask if the driver was preoccupied or seemed distracted. Those statements, as well as the police report, can prove the driver was distracted. If the driver was reported to be on the phone during the accident, cell phone records can be analyzed. Our attorneys subpoena cell phone records often to prove driver fault. Photographic or surveillance videos can also be used from nearby cameras. Stores and toll roads often have surveillance footage that can be used in court cases.
To be successful in a distracted driving case, Florida law requires the victim to prove:
- The driver had a duty to act with care
- The driver breached this duty with careless behavior
- The breach of duty caused the victim’s injuries
- The victim suffered damages as a result
An injured victim who succeeds in a negligence claim can receive compensation beyond medical and property expenses.
What Compensation Am I Entitled To?
Compensation for victims of distracted drivers will cover medical expenses and other losses. Distracted driving is negligence, entitling the victim to appropriate damages.
Compensation can include:
- Current and future medical care
- Mental health care
- Lost wages
- Property destruction
- Pain and suffering
To receive compensation, we will work with you to prove negligence on the part of the distracted driver. If you are partially at fault, you can still receive compensation. For example, if you are found to be 10% at fault, your settlement would be reduced by 10%.
Should I Settle Out of Court With an Insurance Company?
No. Do not consider this without speaking to our firm. Insurance companies are profit-based and always looking for methods to save money. If you accept a settlement from an insurance company, you cannot receive more damages in the future. Chances are also high that the insurance company will low-ball you and not award fair damages. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, do not make a statement to any insurance companies without speaking to us first. Victims often take an unfair portion of the blame in auto accident cases, when they are not at fault. Working with a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure you receive the most compensation possible and insurance companies will not manipulate you.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Yes, without a doubt. At least visit our office for a free consultation. Distracted driving cases are sometimes difficult to prove, especially if there are no witnesses. Our personal injury lawyers and investigative teams will evaluate every avenue to find evidence. Without the help of our legal team, you will not be able to obtain proper documentation, such as subpoenas or surveillance videos. Be sure your rights are upheld, and you receive all proper compensation for your injuries.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Florida law requires personal injury claims to be filed within four years from the date of injury. We recommend you contact our firm as soon as possible. When there is a time lapse from the time of the accident to filing a claim, it may be more difficult to prove. Witnesses and surveillance videos may disappear, leaving you without the option for legal recourse. Call us early to establish the best case possible.
Bulluck Law Group
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident and believe a distracted driver was at fault, call us today for your free case evaluation. We have decades of experience in personal injury suits and will represent you in the best manner possible. Our attorneys are skilled at negotiating with insurance companies, but also fearless fighters if the case goes to trial. We guarantee you will be professionally and compassionately cared for while working with us.