As experienced car accident lawyers in Port Charlotte, we handle numerous cases on behalf of various victims. The aftermath of such accidents is usually devastating and life-threatening. From TBIs to broken bones, spinal cord injuries, etc., managing a car collision injury is financially and emotionally draining.
Obeying traffic laws in Port Charlotte, Florida can help avoid car accidents. However, many people don’t follow these guidelines which endangers themselves and other drivers. This is seen in dangerous behavior such as speeding, intoxication while driving, running red lights, and distracted driving.
Due to the dangers of distracted driving, many drivers have resorted to using hands-free devices such as headphones and earbuds. This article will go over Florida’s laws concerning using headphones and earbuds while operating a vehicle.
Can You Legally Drive Wearing Headphones or Earbuds in Florida?
Although many motorists think it’s okay to multitask on the highway, especially if there aren’t any other vehicles around or traffic is light, this belief is only partially correct. Furthermore, some people believe that hands-free devices are safer to use while driving than hand-held ones, but this assumption isn’t entirely accurate either.
Many motorists believe that they can multitask when driving, especially when there aren’t many vehicles around or if they are at a traffic light. Using hands-free devices gives drivers the perception that they are staying focused on driving, however, driving requires your full attention at all times. It is still unsafe to do anything other than focusing on the road and other vehicles around you when operating a motor vehicle.
It only takes seconds for an accident to happen, and using headphones or earbuds can distract drivers as well as hinder their reaction time. It is also hard to hear outside noises when the music from hand-held phones or earbuds is loud.
In Florida, it is illegal to use headphones or earbuds while driving. This rule also applies to other road users such as cyclists. Anyone who breaks this law may be charged with a crime.
There are, however, some exceptions to this rule:
- Police officers can use headsets and other communication devices in performing their legal duties
- Drivers can use headsets connected to cell phones on only one ear while leaving the other free to hear surrounding noise
- Auditorily impaired persons can use hearing aids
- Emergency vehicle drivers (e.g., fire truck drivers) can wear protective devices on their ears
- Motorcyclists can wear safety helmets with in-built speakers so long as the speakers aren’t directly on the ears
- Applicants for a motorcycle license can use state-approved headsets for their examination
- Bicyclists can use headphones on specific bush paths
It’s noteworthy that pedestrians are allowed to use earbuds and headphones on sidewalks in Florida. Similarly, when bicyclists use sidewalks, they’re classified as pedestrians. Therefore, they’re legally allowed to use their earbuds and headphones while doing so.
Always Choose To Stay Safe
Although Florida law permits drivers to use hands-free devices under specific circumstances, this does not make them safe. In fact, motorists can still cause accidents and increase the risk of personal injury to themselves and others while legally wearing earbuds or headphones.
Drivers who use earbuds or headphones, even if they are using them legally, can still be held liable in an accident. If there is evidence that their distracted driving caused the crash, they will have to pay compensation. Therefore, it is generally best for drivers to avoid using earbuds and headphones.
Who Is To Blame For Accidents Caused By Distracted Driving?
Headphone-related accidents can be complicated to file a claim or lawsuit for because liability is difficult to determine. In each case, the person at fault will depend on the particular circumstances. If you’re unsure of who may be liable, it’s best to speak with an experienced Port Charlotte personal injury lawyer.
In general, a person’s liability for an accident is based on these characteristics:
Presence of a Duty of Care
All Florida drivers have a responsibility to be cautious of other people on the road. This means that every driver should prioritize safety above all else while driving.
Breach of Duty of Care
The second element in a car accident case is breach of duty of care. This means the driver was not careful and showed disregard for others on the road. For example, if a driver plays music loudly in both ears while driving, they are putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk.
Injuries or Damages
Every personal injury case hinges on the claimants being able to prove that they suffered injuries as a direct result of the accident. These injuries can be both physical and economic in nature.
To receive compensation for injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence, claimants must show that the accident was the main cause of their injuries. When it comes to car accidents, one of the main things that insurance companies look at is who is at fault. In Florida, this is decided by a system called “comparative fault.” This means that everyone involved in the accident will share responsibility based on how much they contributed to causing it.
What types of compensation could a victim receive in a Florida headphone-related car accident claim or lawsuit?
If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s fault while wearing headphones in Florida, you could be compensated for your injuries. The amount of compensation you receive will depend on many factors, but may include the following damages:
- Medical bills. This includes ambulance charges, medications, surgeries, physical therapies, etc.
- Lost wages and benefits. Accident injuries are often debilitating and prevent the victims from earning a living. In such a case, the victim will receive compensation for their lost earnings. This also includes lost future wages, salaries, or benefits.
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Disfigurement damages, etc.
- Punitive damages. This type of compensation is only awarded in courts. It punishes the defendants for their careless actions and warns the public against the same actions.
How To Proceed After A Headphone-Related Incident In Port Charlotte, Florida
If you are involved in an accident that’s earbud-related, it’s critical you take the correct steps afterward so your case isn’t negatively impacted. Here’s what to do:
- Park your vehicle in a safe place, away from the road.
- Call for emergency medical attention.
- Dial law enforcement. A police report can help to prove your claims later on.
- Exchange contact information with other drivers and passengers in the crash.
- Take photos and videos of the accident scene. They will form the bulk of the evidence in your case.
- Interview and record witnesses’ statements. Anyone present at the crash site when the accident happened is a witness.
- Call a Port Charlotte personal injury attorney. They will guide you on how to best handle your claims.
Contact a qualified car accident attorney in Port Charlotte, Florida today
If you are involved in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you build a strong case and fight for the maximum amount of compensation possible.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at FGB Law Firm will do everything in their power to get you the best compensation possible, no matter how complicated your case may be. Contact us today by calling 941-979-9010 or completing our online form to get your free consultation.