Distracted driving is one of the most common reasons for motor vehicle accidents in the United States. In 2018, distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives.
Distracted driving covers such activities as texting, talking on the phone, eating, talking to passengers, and adjusting the stereo or navigation system.
Texting is the most serious of all of these distractions. Looking down at your phone to send or receive a text takes about 5 seconds. In 5 seconds’ time, if you are driving 55 miles per hour, this means that you have driven the length of a football field without looking at the road. Texting and driving make an accident a staggering 23 times more likely to occur.
Understandably, many personal injury cases begin with distracted drivers. Hagen Rosskopf, an Atlanta law firm, explains how distracted driving impacts personal injury claims related to car accidents.
Teens and Distracted Driving
When people see a teen driver on the road, they are understandably nervous that the teen may be driving distracted. Teen distracted drivers represent nine percent of the total involved in fatal crashes.
Driver inexperience and not taking driving seriously are two of the reasons why teens drive distracted. They are highly influenced by their friends, meaning that teens whose friends drive distracted are more likely to do so themselves.
Teens are Not the Only Distracted Drivers
While teens receive most of the blame for distracted driving, it remains that most of the drivers who are in fatal accidents caused by distracted driving are adults. Adults need to be equally careful on the roads and put away all distracting objects before they start their drive.
Systems that integrate a cell phone with the car’s entertainment system may not prevent distracted driving crashes. While these systems do make texting much safer, the fact remains that many drivers spend time interacting with them rather than keeping their eyes on the road. Whenever possible, drivers should use voice controls to access their stereo and texting controls.
Personal Injury Lawsuits for Distracted Driving
Filing a personal injury lawsuit for distracted driving can be complex. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help a driver or passenger file a lawsuit that may result in proper compensation for their injuries.
The difficulty that occurs with attempting to file personal injury lawsuits for distracted driving is that it is hard to prove whether a driver was distracted. In this case, witness testimony is important. If the lawyer can get access to the driver’s texting and call records, this would be a great asset to the case.
Law enforcement can determine whether a driver was distracted while they were behind the wheel. Law enforcement can also analyze the driving record of the person who caused the accident. They can also look at traffic camera video for corroboration of the injured party’s claim.
A Blueprint for a Personal Injury Lawsuit with a Distracted Driver
The plaintiff’s attorney will need to recreate the accident. They can look over medical reports. They can also examine the driving history of each driver who was involved. They can look at accident footage and traffic camera video if allowed to do so by law enforcement. They will also need to talk to witnesses and make sure that everyone’s stories line up.
The attorney for the plaintiff will then determine whether it is necessary to file a lawsuit. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff may receive compensation for wages that were lost, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, and medical expenses.
Even if another driver caused the accident if the injured driver was using a phone or driving distracted this could be a reason to receive less compensation. This could be construed as contributory negligence. This could mean that the plaintiff’s negligent behavior could keep them from being fully compensated.
Frequently, distracted driving lawsuits are settled out of court. This happens when the defendant and their attorney realize that they are not likely to win the case. A driver could receive a beneficial settlement from the defendant’s insurance company. Out of the proceeds from the case, the injured driver will generally have to pay their personal injury attorney for their services.
Distracted Driving Kills
The most important takeaway from this situation is that no one should drive distracted. Even seemingly innocuous activities like eating or talking to passengers could be distracting. Taking responsibility for your actions behind the wheel means driving carefully and without distractions.
While teens are blamed for distracted driving accidents, they represent only about 9 percent of the distracted drivers involved in fatal accidents. Adults are equally likely to participate in these dangerous behaviors.
Hagen Rosskopf offers its services to drivers who have been injured in any kind of motor vehicle accident. Taking all of the aspects of the case into consideration, they may be able to help you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.