When famous tennis player Venus Williams was involved in a Florida car accident that resulted in fatal injuries to a passenger in another car, the family of the deceased proceeded to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams. They alleged that Williams was using her cell phone at the time of the accident, which contributed to the crash.
In a recent ruling, a judge found that the victim’s family should have access to data from Williams’ mobile phone, starting at around five minutes before the time of the accident. The information collected by an expert could then be used to determine whether or not Williams was distracted by her phone at the time of the crash.
Courts Look for Evidence
Cell phones aren’t as private as individuals think they are. If the court suspects someone engaging in illegal behavior, they can ask to see phone records, and your carrier has to provide those documents.
It is common for litigants in distracted driving cases to request phone records. Keep in mind that phone calls and text logs don’t always tell the full story. An expert examination of the device in question is necessary to figure out if the defendant was using an app or browsing the Internet at the time of the accident. Many states follow this model, including Florida.
What Constitutes Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is defined by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as anything that takes a driver’s mind off driving, their hands off the wheel or attention from the road. This can include talking on the phone, applying makeup, or even interacting with passengers. Generally, the best practice is to keep your eyes on the road at all times.
Distracted Driving Laws in Florida
Accidents caused by driver distraction are a growing problem in Florida. Even though it’s illegal to text while driving, current state law says that it’s a secondary offense. This means that a driver can’t be stopped by law enforcement only because they were using a mobile device behind the wheel. A citation for texting while driving only gets issued if a driver commits a violation defined as a primary offense, such as failing to stop at a red light.
Recent statistics show that car accidents in Florida have gone up by 11 percent between 2013 and 2016. An analysis conducted by the Sun-Sentinel shows that crashes caused by a distracted driver have also increased. Due to the growing accident rates, courts are hard on motorists that break the law. If you believe distracted driving is to blame for your accident injuries, reach out to an attorney who can protect your best interests.
Fort Lauderdale Distracted Driving Lawyers
The Fort Lauderdale distracted driving lawyers at Salpeter Gitkin, LLP are seasoned personal injury attorneys with decades of combined legal experience. We strive to settle your legal matter out of court, but if need be, we have the litigation experience necessary to help ensure that you are compensated for all damages. Contact us today at (954) 467-8622 for a free case evaluation.