Motorists have a legal responsibility to focus on the road, obey traffic laws, operate their vehicles safely, and respect the rights of other drivers.
Unfortunately, today, more than ever, drivers are failing to uphold these standards, especially when paying attention to the road. The amount of drivers multitasking behind the wheel has increased in recent years, and as a result, so have the number of devastating accidents and catastrophic injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around nine people in the United States are killed every day in accidents that involve distracted driving, resulting in over 3,000 deaths and approximately 424,000 injuries every year.
That is why, if you or a loved one suffered harm in a distracted driving accident, consider discussing the matter with an experienced car accident attorney. These lawyers can review your case, determine what legal options you can pursue, and help you go after the justice and damages you deserve.
What Does Distracted Driving Mean?
Distracted driving refers to an activity that diverts the motorist’s attention away from the act of driving. This can include things such as texting and driving, talking on the phone and driving, eating and driving, and even playing with the stereo while driving. Basically, anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road to focus on other tasks.
However, when a motorist takes their attention away from the road, even for an instant, they can no longer operate their vehicles safely. As a result, the consequences of distracted driving can be horrifying.
Four Types of Driver Distractions
Distracted driving is usually broken up into the following four categories:
These distractions involve the motorist looking away from the road. For instance, a visual distraction can be the motorist turning around to talk to the passengers in the back seats, searching for something that fell on the floor, or checking their cell phone while driving.
An auditory distraction happens when a motorist hears something that causes their attention to shit from the road. An example would be the driver listening to music at a high volume or conversations that others in the car are having.
A manual distraction usually results from the driver taking their hands from the wheel because they are doing something other than driving, such as texting on their cell phone, personal grooming, or eating.
When the driver’s mind wanders and begins to think about things other than driving, it can become a cognitive distraction and lead to serious crashes.
Texting on the Phone and Driving
Using the phone while driving creates a high risk of road injuries and deaths.
According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):
- The federal government estimates that 7.9 percent of motorists use hand-held or hands-free cell phones at any moment of the day.
- Motorists who spent most of their driving time using their cell phones also had the highest rates of near-crashes and crashes.
- Approximately 396 individuals, or 1 percent of people killed on the roads, died in crashes involving cellphone use.
- Crash risk is two to six times greater when drivers use a cell phone than when they are operating their vehicle undistracted.
- Typing or reading a text message significantly slows down reaction time, increases lane deviations, and increases the time drivers glance away from the road.
Talking With Other Passengers in the Car While Driving
When a motorist engages in conversations with others in the car, they can put themselves and others at risk of being involved in a debilitating motor vehicle accident. This is especially true if the motorist turns around in their seat to talk to the other occupants or takes their hands off the wheel.
Thinking About Other Things While Driving
While it may be common for people’s minds to wander while driving, getting lost in one’s thoughts can lead to catastrophic collisions. When drivers are thinking about things outside of driving, it can impact their reaction time, which means these drivers will not be able to react quickly enough to the dangers on the road.
Zoning out while driving typically tends to occur during daily commutes because motorists are comfortable with driving the same route and become unconcerned about what they are doing. Additionally, driving long distances without a break and fatigued driving can also contribute to this type of distracted driving.
Checking Out What Is Happening Outside the Car While Driving
Rubbernecking can cause massive accidents. The term is used when a motorist turns their head while driving to look at a roadside event, such as an accident. Unfortunately, rubbernecking not only exacerbates traffic but can also lead to tragic collisions. This is because motorists who are rubbernecking are usually not paying attention to the roads, which will not leave them enough time to stop and prevent a crash if necessary.
Personal Grooming While Driving
Personal grooming is another activity requiring the motorist to remove their eyes from the road and take one hand off the wheel to focus on the task at hand, such as brushing hair, applying makeup, or even changing clothes. However, when motorists participate in these activities, it can cause the driver to lose control and end in a tragic collision.
Drinking and Eating While Driving
A study completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that eating and driving increases the odds of an accident by 80 percent. They also found that 65 percent of near-miss crashes were caused by drivers distracted because they were fussing with their food and drinks.
According to the study, some of the most dangerous foods and beverages to consume while operating a motor vehicle include coffee, donuts, soft drinks, hot soups, and hamburgers.
Adjusting Controls in the Car While Driving
Changing the controls in the car, whether turning on the radio, adjusting the heat or air conditioner, or playing with the GPS, can cause the driver’s eyes to move away from the road, leading to disastrous accidents.
While the above distractions are some of the more frequent distracted driving distractions that can lead to tragic car crashes, they are not the only ones. Smoking, reading, reaching for objects, feeling unwell, and writing while driving have all caused horrifying crashes. Each of these activities involved the driver glancing away from the road.
For these reasons, no matter what your distracted driving accident entailed, if you sustained injuries because of another person’s wrongful actions, consider reaching out to an experienced distracted driving accident attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can look into your case, figure out what happened, and help you determine which options you should pursue to secure the maximum financial recovery you are entitled to.
Common Injuries Resulting From a Distracted Driving Accident
Distracted driving accidents can result in many unique injuries ranging from head trauma to broken bones.
However, some of the more common injuries that tend to follow a distracted driving accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis
- Internal trauma, including internal bleeding or organ damage
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Facial injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Wrongful Death
However, it is also worth mentioning that even a minor injury can still lead to extensive financial damages that can set victims and their loved ones back for years to come.
For these reasons, if you suffered any injury after a distracted driving accident, consider reviewing your case with a knowledgeable accident attorney. Your attorneys can not only evaluate your legal case and weigh your options, but they can also help you figure out how to secure the financial damages you deserve.
Damages You May Recover Following a Distracted Driving Accident
You may be entitled to compensation if you suffered harm in a distracted driving accident. This compensation is usually divided into two distinct groups of damages: economic and non-economic damages.
These types of damages refer to payments for the actual losses that occur following an accident, including:
- Medical bills related to medications, surgeries, doctor visits, hospitalization, ambulance rides, emergency care, and other types of medical treatments
- Ongoing medical care treatments
- Lost income, lost business opportunities, lost earning capacity
- Replacement of domestic services such as child care services
- At-home nursing care
- Personal property damages, such as car repair or replacement expenses
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to payment for the subjective losses that result following an accident, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality and enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Physical disfigurement
However, to determine which of these damages may apply following your distracted driving collision, consider discussing the accident with an experienced distracted driving accident attorney. These legal professionals can review your damages with you in further detail, determine the total extent of your losses, and help you fight for maximum compensation.
Can the Statute of Limitations Impact Your Distracted Driving Accident Case?
The statute of limitations is a law that indicates the amount of time individuals have to bring a legal suit after an alleged incident. While these deadlines will depend on the state and the type of claim being brought, it is important that individuals file their cases before this time runs out. Otherwise, the court can stop them from proceeding with any further legal action or obtaining the compensation they need.
That is why if you want to ensure you do not run out of time to file your case after a distracted driving accident, contact an experienced distracted driving lawyer as soon as possible. These attorneys can not only verify how long you have to file your legal suit, but they can also make sure to submit your legal documents and motions before this time expires.
Contact an Experienced Distracted Driving Accident Attorney to Figure Out Your Legal Options Following a Distracted Driving Accident
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a distracted driving accident, the last thing you want to do is deal with a legal action. In truth, you already have enough on your plate. Your priority should be rest and recovery, not drafting motions or preparing legal arguments. Fortunately, with an experienced distracted driving accident attorney fighting for your rights, you will not have to take on this claim alone.
Once retained, these attorneys can go over the facts of your distracted driving accident, figure out if you have a viable legal claim, and determine which legal option can help you secure the compensation you need.
These lawyers can also:
- Thoroughly investigate the crash and try to secure the evidence needed to show the extent of your damages, what happened, and who was responsible for the collision.
- Provide you with legal support during this strenuous time and ensure you are updated about your case regularly.
- Hire experts to help validate your claim, such as medical specialists, accident reconstructionists, financial specialists, and others.
- Handle negotiations with the other parties and fight for a settlement amount that is fair to you.
- Head to trial if the other side is unwilling to take your legal claim seriously and assist you as you pursue the recovery you are entitled to.
If a distracted driving accident impacted your life physically, emotionally, or financially, now is the time to fight back and determine the legal remedies you can pursue. Contact an experienced personal injury law firm in California today for a free case consultation and find out how a legal professional can help you.