Texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving are extremely serious problems. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in one recent year. Moreover, NHTSA statistics show that at any given moment, 660,000 motor vehicle operators use cell phones. Each year, texting and driving leads to about 400 fatal motor vehicle crashes.
In short, texting while driving is extremely risky. Even when a motor vehicle operator looks away from the roadway for a second or two to send or receive a text message, that can be sufficient time for a serious accident to occur. If you or a person you care about has suffered injuries in a motor vehicle collision resulting from distracted driving, you need experienced legal representation.
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Experienced car accident attorneys can investigate your accident, pursue a claim against the at-fault driver and recover the monetary compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Do not hesitate to reach out to a car accident law firm to find out more about how we can assist you with your claim or lawsuit. The sooner you act, the sooner your car accident lawyer can begin protecting your rights.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a motor vehicle operator’s attention away from the road. It can take many forms, but one of the most common is texting while driving.
In most states throughout the country, including California, texting while driving is against the law, and if a police officer pulls a driver over for suspected texting while driving, the driver can receive a citation or other penalty/fine. In addition, the driver or the driver’s insurance company can be civilly liable if they cause an accident that leads to someone else’s injuries.
When a motor vehicle operator picks up a cell phone to send or receive a text message while driving, they cannot pay complete attention to the road. Consequently, the driver might miss an approaching motor vehicle or a pedestrian in the vicinity, striking them.
Distracted driving can take other forms. For example, the driver might turn their head to discipline misbehaving children in the back seat. The driver may also roughhouse with someone in the passenger seat or back seat, diverting attention away from the road for a few seconds or longer. Likewise, the driver might be playing loud music in the car, rather than paying attention to the road or programming a GPS device rather than paying attention to the road.
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When a driver diverts attention from the road, a serious accident can occur in the meantime. If you have suffered injuries in an accident that you believe resulted from distracted driving, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. A skilled legal team of car accident lawyers can investigate your accident, explain your options for moving forward, and help you select the best option for your car accident case.
What Accidents Can Happen Involving a Distracted Driver?
Distracted driving can lead to fatal accidents. First of all, the front of the driver’s vehicle might collide with the rear of another vehicle in a classic rear-end-type accident. If the driver is looking down while trying to send a text message, he or she might not notice that the traffic is slowing down and negligently collide with the vehicle in front of him/her.
In addition, texting while driving can lead to a head-on collision with another vehicle. These accidents are common on dual-lane roadways with one travel lane in each direction. The driver might be looking down to send a text message and unknowingly cross the center line, bringing about a head-on collision with another vehicle. These accidents often occur at high rates of speed and can be fatal for one or both drivers.
Distracted driving can also lead to a sideswipe collision. For example, a driver who doesn’t pay attention to the road might fail to use a turn signal and drift into another lane, causing their vehicle to sideswipe another. Finally, distracted driving can lead to a classic T-bone accident, where the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another.
Often, these collisions happen at traffic intersections. If the driver is trying to send or receive a text message, they might not notice that an intersection traffic light has turned yellow or red. If the driver negligently causes their vehicle to head into the intersection on a red light, they might strike the side of another vehicle, leading to a potentially fatal collision. In some cases, these T-bone accidents occur with such force that the vehicle on the receiving end flips over or spins around, causing the driver and occupants to suffer serious injuries.
If you have suffered injuries in one of these types of accidents that resulted from distracted driving, you might be eligible to recover monetary compensation. A knowledgeable distracted driving attorney can determine the cause of the accident and if you can file a claim or lawsuit to see monetary damages for your injuries.
Proving That a Distracted Driver Caused a Car Accident
In a personal injury claim or lawsuit that stems from distracted driving, the accident victim has the legal burden of proof. This means that they must demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the accident happened because of distracted driving and that the at-fault driver caused it. The accident victim must show that the driver’s distracted motor vehicle operation, such as by texting while driving, brought about the collision. In addition, the accident victim must show that they suffered one or more injuries as a direct result of the accident.
Often, satisfying this legal burden of proof can be difficult. In these instances, it might be necessary for the accident victim’s lawyer to retain an expert who can testify about how the accident happened. In some cases, that’s the police officer at the collision scene or an eyewitness.
These individuals might say that the other driver was looking down just before the impact, suggesting that they texted while driving. At other times, the accident victim’s lawyer might need to hire an accident reconstructionist or other expert who can piece together exactly what occurred.
The right car accident attorney can do the work necessary to help you prove your case. We can also assist you with filing a claim and getting you all of the compensation that you need for the injuries you suffered in the accident.
What Injuries Can Result From a Distracted Driving Accident?
Victims of distracted driving accidents can suffer extremely serious injuries in their collisions. The extent of injuries that an accident victim will sustain typically depends on the force of the impact, the type of impact and how the impact moved the accident victim’s body in the car. For example, the collision might have caused part of the accident victim’s body to strike something in the vehicle, like the headrest, steering wheel, window or door frame.
Victims of distracted driving accidents can also suffer serious injuries if the collision occurred at a high rate of speed. Some of the most common injuries that victims of distracted driving accidents suffer include traumatic head injuries, brain injuries, soft tissue contusions, broken bones, internal injuries, back injuries, and paralysis. If you suffered any of these injuries in your motor vehicle crash, your attorney can seek monetary compensation by filing a claim or lawsuit for you. Your lawyer can then work to resolve the case favorably and get you the compensation that you need.
What if a Loved One Died in a Car Accident that a Distracted Driver Caused?
If your loved one passed away as a result of injuries sustained in a distracted driving accident, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death claim that seeks various damages.
As part of the wrongful death claim, a surviving relative (who may also be a personal representative of the decedent’s estate) may recover:
- Reimbursement for funeral and burial expenses
- Compensation for loss of the decedent’s affection, care, and companionship
- Compensation for all of the medical expenses incurred from the time of the accident leading up to the decedent’s untimely death
- Loss of anticipated future wages, including if the decedent was the primary breadwinner and/or the surviving individuals depended on the decedent’s income for care and support.
- Loss of household services that the deceased individual would have provided had they survived the distracted driving accident.
A compassionate team of injury lawyers can assist you with every aspect of your wrongful death claim and work to get you and your loved ones favorable monetary compensation.
Potential Damages in a Personal Injury Case Arising From Distracted Driving
Even when distracted driving accidents do not result in fatalities, accident victims can still suffer extremely serious injuries and other consequences. If you can prove that the at-fault driver was distracted, you might recover damages. Generally speaking, the more serious your injuries, the higher the compensation you may be eligible to recover in your case.
The compensation you recover will also depend on whether you suffered a permanent injury, as well as the cost of your medical care and treatment, both past and anticipated. You might be eligible to recover the costs of past medical expenses as well as the costs of anticipated medical expenses, such as the likely cost of future surgery. If you had missed time from work because of your accident-related injuries, you can claim lost wages and other out-of-pocket costs.
In addition to these economic damages, you might also be eligible for non-economic damages resulting from your distracted driving accident. Potentially, you might recover damages for your mental distress, emotional anguish, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of use of a body part (such as if you suffered a permanent injury) and loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
A knowledgeable distracted driving attorney can work to determine which of these damages you might be eligible to pursue. You can rest assured that our legal team will zealously fight for your right to recover monetary compensation and will advocate for your interests at the negotiating table or in the courtroom.
Talk to an Experienced Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer about Your Legal Matter Today
Distracted driving accidents can leave accident victims severely injured and debilitated. If you or someone you care about has suffered injuries in a distracted driving collision, you want a lawyer who is here to help you throughout every stage of your case. Your attorney should zealously advocate for your legal interests during the insurance process or throughout the litigation and work to maximize the compensation you are eligible to recover.
Never wait to seek legal advice and representation following a distracted driving accident. By getting the right attorney on your side as soon as possible, you are doing the best you can to protect your rights as an injured crash victim. Do not risk losing the compensation you deserve from a distracted driver.