Smartphones and other mobile devices have become so ubiquitous in today’s society that it seems like nearly everyone has one. As the use of such devices has become more widespread, distracted driving has become a serious problem. There is no denying the correlation between texting and driving wrecks, which is why many states and other municipalities have enacted laws that ban drivers from using smartphones while behind the wheel.
In addition to potentially being ticketed for using a smartphone while on the road, if you’re involved in an accident and were using one at the time that it occurred, the other party could file a lawsuit against you. Whenever a driver sues another for damages from an automobile accident, the plaintiff, or person who is bringing the charges, must prove that the defendant’s carelessness is to blame. Lately, there have been many cases involving plaintiffs who charge that defendants are legally at fault or negligent in an accident because they were using a smartphone or other device immediately before or during the incident. In some cases, the plaintiff has been found to be at least somewhat responsible for the accident because of their own cell phone use.
A few of the ways in which smartphones and other mobile devices may distract a driver and contribute to a car accident include:
- Failure to keep eyes on the road due to distractions from their own device or from the passenger’s use of such a device
- Keeping only one hand on the wheel while using the other to handle or use the device
- Getting wrapped up in a conversation on a smartphone and becoming too distracted–even when using a hands-free device
- Taking eyes off the road to reach for a device, send a text or dial a number
Employees, Employers and Cell Phone Use while Driving
If an employee is on a work-related call when a car accident occurs, their employer may be held legally liable for the incident. The injured party is often more likely to file a lawsuit against the employer instead of the employee because the employer is likely to have more money. As a result of lawsuits of this kind, more and more employers are prohibiting their employees from using any devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Can Parents Be Held Liable for Kids’ Cell Phone Use while Driving?
In a fairly recent personal injury case involving a minor, the plaintiff argued that the minor’s parents should be held legally responsible for the accident because they bought the child a smartphone, and the child’s distraction while using it caused the incident to occur. The law is still undecided about this type of scenario, but some states have enacted laws that prohibit teens and new drivers from using mobile devices while behind the wheel. At any rate, it is in parents’ best interests to drive home the dangers of cell phone use while driving to their children.
Insurance May Be Affected by Cell Phone Use
In addition to potentially being sued for using a cell phone or other device while driving, you may also face repercussions from your insurance provider if you are ticketed for using a cell phone while driving. Needless to say, if you are held legally responsible for an automobile accident that was caused at least partly by your use of a mobile device, your insurance company will find out as well. In these and situations, then, using a cell phone while driving may result in higher premiums and other penalties.
Retain a Jacksonville Auto Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident and the other driver was distracted due to cell phone use, make sure that your rights are fully protected. Speak to a Jacksonville auto accident attorney at Canan Law today by calling (904) 824-9402.Google+