Distracted Driving Accidents
At any given time, it is quite possible that at least a few of the drivers traveling near you are adjusting their radio, grooming themselves in the rearview mirror, or eating a sandwich. Moreover, they may be texting, talking on cellphones, or looking up an address in the GPS rather than paying attention to the road and other motorists. The Stuart car accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston can assert the rights of people in Port St. Lucie and the surrounding cities who have been hurt by distracted drivers. We understand the significant financial burden imposed on victims of these collisions, and we aim to help hold responsible the parties who harm them.Common Causes of Distracted Driving
According to national statistics, the rate of distracted driving accidents is on the rise. Distracted driving is defined by the federal government as any activity that diverts an individual’s attention away from his or her driving. Some of the most common types of distractions include:
- Cellphone or smartphone usage;
- Eating or drinking;
- Talking to others in the vehicle;
- Grooming, such as shaving, applying makeup, or fixing hair;
- Use of a navigational system such as GPS;
- Watching videos; or
- Adjusting the radio.
Although drivers of all ages can engage in distracted driving, studies show that it is a bigger problem for younger, less experienced drivers. Unfortunately, many young people have grown up watching their parents talk on a cellphone in the car, so they may not understand that distracting driving exponentially increases the risk of being involved in a crash. In recent years, accidents caused by distracted drivers have accounted for as many as one in four of all collisions nationwide, injuring millions of innocent motorists, passengers, and pedestrians.Pursuing Damages through a Negligence Claim
People who have been hurt because of a distracted driver generally have legal rights to assert. Most car accident lawsuits follow the general rules of negligence law. These cases begin with a four-step analysis. First, the defendant must have owed a duty of care to the injured person. In the legal sense, a “duty” is basically an obligation to do a particular thing, such as keeping a proper lookout while driving. Also, the defendant must have breached the duty owed to the claimant by failing to take the precautions that a reasonable person would have been expected to take in that situation.
The third element is whether there is a link of causation between the defendant’s breach of duty and the accident. This means that the harm likely would not have occurred if the defendant had met the appropriate standard of care. Finally, the victim must have incurred damages because of the crash. While these must be reasonably quantifiable, they can extend from objective costs like medical bills and lost wages to more subjective forms of harm like pain and suffering.
If you or a family member has been hurt by a distracted driver, you should know that there is a statute of limitations for filing your claim. Cases that are not filed within this time period are almost always barred from being heard. The time period that applies in an ordinary personal injury claim in Florida is generally four years, but it shortens to two years in wrongful death cases arising from a tragically fatal accident.Explore Your Options with a Stuart Attorney after a Motor Vehicle Accident
At Donaldson & Weston, our motor vehicle collision lawyers are dedicated to assisting victims in the Stuart area and beyond. We have offices in Stuart and West Palm Beach, and we also represent individuals throughout other Palm Beach County cities like Jupiter. Call Donaldson & Weston at 772-266-5555 or contact us online and ask for a free appointment to discuss your situation. We accept most cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that legal fees are not collected unless and until you receive a settlement or judgment in your favor.