Most people know about the role distracted driving plays in causing car accidents, but many people don’t realize that texting or surfing the internet on your smartphone while walking is equally dangerous. A recent study revealed that accidents and injuries to pedestrians using so-called smart phones has doubled in the last seven years. We, as personal injury lawyers who help accident victims in Fort Lauderdale, a community in which many of our fellow residents enjoy taking long walks, were alarmed by the rapid increase in distracted walking accidents.
The study, which appeared in the most recent edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention, was the result of an analysis of accident data reported from hundreds of hospital emergency rooms across the country. Some of the most frequently noted pedestrian smartphone related accidents involved fall down accidents from elevated sidewalks and pedestrians being distracted enough to walk onto roadways.
Not surprisingly, the most frequently injured class of smart phone using pedestrians is made up of people under thirty year of age. That age groups increasing and constant use of social media services, and their instant, need it now, mentality is certainly a contributing reason for their prevalence of injuries and accidents. To try an arrest these distracted walking accidents, many colleges have begun educating students to the dangers of using smart phones while walking. The basic rule, just like those taught about using a smartphone while driving, is before reaching for your phone-stop walking and move out of the way.
Having helped accident victims over the past 20 years, we are often confronted with a defense known as comparative negligence. This means, a defendant and their insurance company can blame an injured client for their conduct in being involved in an accident. Under Florida Law, a jury may apportion fault between everyone involved in an accident. Any fault placed on the injured person will result a commensurate reduction of the damages they are entitled to recover. As such, in order to protect oneself in a lawsuit, and more importantly, to avoid being injured, don’t use your smart phone while walking or riding a bicycle.