In July 2019, Florida passed The Wireless Communications While Driving Law (Florida Statutes 316.305), which made “texting” (e.g. text messaging, emails, and social media apps) while driving a primary traffic offense.
Not only will having fewer distracted drivers make Florida’s roads safer for everyone, but the new texting and driving law will also affect negligence and liability assignments in car and motor vehicle accident claims.
Florida’s Comparative Liability Standard
In some cases, determining driver fault and negligence is clear-cut. But more often, it isn’t so simple. Drivers should know that Florida operates according to the principle of comparative liability. Under the comparative liability system, both parties in the accident essentially share fault. For example, if one driver makes an aggressive left turn in front of an oncoming driver who was speeding, there will be a discussion of what percentage of the fault to assign to each driver. These percentages of fault will directly determine the amount of damages recoverable by each party.
As such, shifting the liability onto the other driver is important to increase the amount of compensation you can recover. To do that, though, you must prove the defendant acted in a negligent manner. A personal injury attorney can benefit you by marshalling facts to prove that you bear a smaller percentage of fault (i.e. less comparative liability) and deserve a larger percentage of compensation.
Proof of Negligence
In particular, the new texting and driving law includes a provision (F.S. §316.305(3)(d)) stating that cell phone billing records can be used as evidence to show that the driver violated the new law in the event of an accident that results in death or personal injury. This provides your personal injury lawyer with another tool to prove the other party’s liability in your car accident case.
Navigating the Florida liability laws and assigning negligence in a car accident can be tricky. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your case is a sensible move because they are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and—importantly—in building legal cases.
The Personal Injury & Accident Law Center offers free case evaluations for car accident victims so you can feel confident that you’re getting the legal counsel you deserve. You can call us at (561)372-3800 or fill out the confidential form below to speak a team member about your car accident case.