Social Media Use is a Form of Distracted Driving

March 28, 2022
Social Media Use is a Form of Distracted Driving

Using Social Media When Driving Can Lead to a Distracted Driving Accident

Distracted driving is hazardous because it takes a driver's eyes off the road. A driver not noticing the flow of traffic, road obstacles, or their speed can lead to car accidents. In 2019, there were 3,142 lives taken because of distracted driving. One of the newest forms of distracted driving is social media use. There are so many social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok that people use for communication and entertainment for several hours of the day. This addiction to social media can affect how people drive, with the impulse to check these platforms taking drivers' eyes off the road.

Consider Filing a Car Accident Claim

Filing personal injury claim might be in order if you were involved in a car accident caused by a driver using social media. Taking legal action after your accident can help you get the compensation you may need to cover the damages you suffered as a result of your accident. A car accident caused by negligence could leave that driver liable for damages. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you sort through the possible responsible parties, identify damages, negotiate with the insurance company, and determine your options to pursue compensation for your injuries.

How Can Social Media Distract a Driver?

Although some may assume social media distractions involve sending out posts to followers, it can actually be much more involved. With the vast amount of social media platforms stealing the attention of drivers, the distractions can range from typing to taking pictures and videos. The following are some of the ways social media can distract a driver:
  • Typing up posts or messages
  • Taking selfies
  • Creating shareable videos
  • Livestreaming while driving
  • Scrolling through your timeline
  • Reading messages and posts
Engaging in any of this behavior can take a driver's eyes off the road, leading to a driver running a red light, speeding, missing a stop sign, and more. Not observing the road rules due to distractions can lead to a car collision.

Car Accidents Caused By Teens Using Social Media

In 2019, a study found that 39% of teens reported using their phones while driving. Teens are at risk of using social media while driving because most of them grew up with social media in their lives. Social media has always been a large part of their lives, so their willingness to use it will likely affect them behind the wheel. 

Social Media Challenges Can Lead to Car Accidents

There have been many prevalent social media challenges and stunts that involve driving. One such challenge was the “Kiki Challenge,” which involved drivers exiting their vehicles while still in motion to dance to the Drake song, “In My Feelings.” This challenge led to injuries for participants, including an 18-year old woman hospitalized from injuries incurred doing the challenge. There are also features embedded in social media apps that led to reckless driving, including Snapchat's speed filter. In 2016, a motorist was driving 113 MPH to post the picture on Snapchat using their speed filter. They caused a car accident that left a victim with traumatic brain injuries

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Car Accident Caused by Social Media Use?

Florida Statute 316.305 prohibits manually typing into a “wireless communication device” while driving. This statute criminalizes drivers texting while behind the wheel, but social media use can fall under this statute too. The person distracted by social media is likely to be the party held liable for the damages. There are some circumstances where an employer can be responsible if the driver is on the job, but that is extremely rare. If a feature is implemented into a social media platform that led to reckless driving, the social media company can share partial liability. 

Proving Social Media Distracted Driving in a Car Accident Claim

There needs to be proof that social media use contributed to the car accident that caused your injuries. You can file a car accident liability claim against the at-fault party if there is evidence that the driver was distracted when the accident occurred. You can prove distracted driving caused a car accident with eyewitness accounts, video footage of the accident, medical records, ticket or arrest records, or vehicle accident reconstruction. Social media records can also provide a timeline connecting the use of a social media platform to the car accident.

Social Media Activity Can Be Tracked and Used as Evidence for Liability

Each post you make on social media has a timestamp attached to show when the poster sent it out. This timestamp can be helpful in a car accident liability claim because it can provide a timeline of the at-fault party's social media use. This system also applies to videos, livestreaming, and even the act of liking a post in most circumstances.  If there is a record of a driver posting on social media around the time of the accident, that can prove they were distracted while driving and benefit your claim.

Filing a Car Accident Claim in an Accident Caused by Social Media Use

Florida is a no-fault state, which means drivers must hold personal injury protection that covers up to $10,000 worth of damage in a car accident. Depending on how serious your injuries are, that might not be able to cover your injuries. You will need to file a personal injury claim in the hope of receiving compensation. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help with filing a claim, as they can assist in identifying the liable parties, collecting the evidence to prove liability, and filing the claim. Personal injury claims are filed against the insurance company of the at-fault party. If your lawyer and the insurance company cannot negotiate a settlement, you and your lawyer will have to take the case to court as a personal injury lawsuit. This civil action is done in the hopes of getting compensation for the harm done to you by the driver using social media. You can receive both tangible and intangible damages from a successful personal injury lawsuit, including medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning potential, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Car Accident Claim

Although social media is a powerful tool for maintaining a connection with friends and family worldwide, it can have severe and negative consequences if used at the wrong time. If you were on the other end of a distracted driving accident caused by social media use, a personal injury claim could go a long way in paying for the damage your injuries caused. At Dolman Law Group, we have diligent personal injury lawyers that will fight tooth in nail on your personal injury claim. While you recover from your injuries, our lawyers will fight for you in order to secure a settlement to help pay for your medical bills and other costs associated with your injuries. Get in touch with Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation. Call 833-55-CRASH or leave us a message on our online contact page.

Matthew Dolman

Clearwater Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess or $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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