Car Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving
Drivers must operate their vehicles carefully and safely. When a driver does not pay attention, they might cause a rear-end accident, T-bone collision, sideswipe collision, or head-on collision, which can lead to severe injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash due to distracted driving, you should speak with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can evaluate your accident circumstances and determine if you are eligible to file a claim.
If so, your lawyer can assist you throughout the entire process and work to negotiate a favorable settlement offer on your behalf. If the insurance company does not compensate you fairly, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and pursue monetary recovery through the court system.
Types of Distracted Driving
Numerous activities can divert a driver’s attention away from the road. One of the most common diversions is electronic devices in the vehicle. Those devices include GPS navigation systems, cellular phones, and tablets. A distracted driver, for example, might be reading or sending a text message while they should be watching the road.
Vehicle passengers can also prove distracting for some drivers, especially when they engage in roughhousing or horseplay with the driver. Similarly, young children misbehaving in the vehicle’s back seat might divert the driver’s attention away from the road. Finally, loud music that is playing in the car may cause a driver to become distracted.
Even a minimal distraction that lasts one or two seconds can be sufficient to turn a driver’s head, causing them to strike another vehicle or a nearby pedestrian. When these distracted driving accidents cause injuries, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may be responsible for paying the accident victim’s damages except for medical expenses, which the government pays.
To successfully recover monetary compensation in a distracted driving case, you must demonstrate that the other driver behaved unreasonably under the circumstances and that your accident resulted. Moreover, you must show that you suffered at least one injury in the accident and that your injury directly resulted from the accident.
Your lawyer may need to retain an accident reconstructionist, medical expert, or another individual who can make these causal connections and help prove the legal elements of your claim. Then, you will be eligible to recover various damages for your pain, suffering, emotional distress, and inconvenience stemming from your accident.
Types of Accidents that Can Result from Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can lead to traffic accidents that cause affected drivers and their passengers to suffer injuries.
First, when a driver fails to watch the road, they might cause a rear-end accident. A rear-end crash happens when the front of a vehicle strikes the back of another car. These accidents are common on busy highways when traffic abruptly stops. They also occur at traffic intersections where traffic slows down quickly.
A distracted driver might not notice the slowdown in time, negligently causing their vehicle to collide with someone else’s.
Rear-end accidents may also cause the accident victim’s body to move from side to side, or frontwards and backward, in an abrupt manner, leading to whiplash injuries, muscular contusions, broken bones, and other serious problems. In addition, the force of the impact might cause a part of the accident victim’s body to strike the headrest, door frame, dashboard, steering wheel, or some other part of the vehicle, leading to an injury.
Distracted driving can also cause a sideswipe collision on a multilane roadway. Sideswipe accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles moving in the same direction brush against one another.
When a driver fails to watch the road, they may negligently cause their vehicle to veer over into another travel lane, bringing about the impact. Some sideswipe accidents happen so forcefully that the impacted vehicle moves off the road and onto the shoulder.
When that happens, the vehicle might strike a guardrail, injuring the occupants.
Likewise, distracted driving might cause a T-bone accident or broadside collision. In a broadside collision, the front of one vehicle hits the side of another one traveling on an intersecting roadway. The force of this impact might cause the affected vehicle to spin around rapidly or even overturn, leading to severe and sometimes fatal injuries for the vehicle occupants.
Broadside accidents sometimes happen when drivers are not paying attention to the road and fail to see that a traffic light has just turned red. At other times, a distracted driver may not notice a yield or stop sign, inadvertently running it and striking another vehicle in the intersection.
Finally, distracted driving can lead to a head-on collision, where the front of two vehicles strikes one another often at high speeds. Head-on collisions sometimes happen on roadways equipped with one travel lane in each direction.
A distracted driver who ignores the road might negligently cross a double center line or median strip, striking the other vehicle head-on. These crashes can result in significant property damage and may cause one or more fatalities.
If you suffered injuries in one of these accidents that resulted from distracted driving, you are not alone. In addition to seeking medical treatment as soon as possible after your crash, talk with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer.
Your lawyer can review your legal options and determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim. Your lawyer can then assist you throughout the process and work to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
Injuries in Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving crashes often lead to severe injuries, depending upon the force of the impact and how the accident occurs. Some accident victims suffer soft tissue injuries, cuts, scrapes, and abrasions.
However, at other times, accident victims suffer far more severe injuries, including bone fractures, traumatic head and brain injuries, and internal organ damage. In the worst-case scenario, an accident victim might suffer fatal injuries in their crash.
Seeking initial medical treatment in a hospital emergency room is one of the most important steps you can take following your car accident. Seek treatment even if you don’t know whether you sustained an injury because some injuries, including head injuries, do not manifest immediately. Injury symptoms might not even appear until long after your car accident. Therefore, you want to undergo a medical evaluation as soon as possible.
Once you arrive at the hospital emergency room or urgent care center, the attending doctor can examine you and order the necessary brain scans, MRIs, and X-rays, to determine your medical condition. The provider can then render emergency medical treatment if you require it and recommend follow-up care.
For instance, if you suffered a broken bone in your accident, you may need to seek treatment with an orthopedic doctor and your family doctor. Once you undergo surgery, you may need to attend physical therapy sessions to fully recover from your injuries and return to normal functioning.
While you seek medical treatment after a car accident, your lawyer can begin the claims-filing process for you. Specifically, your lawyer can gather your medical treatment records, police reports, lost wage documents, and photographs and assemble them into a settlement demand package.
After your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can submit a demand letter, along with these documents, to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. If the insurance company accepts fault for your accident and admits that their insured engaged in distracted driving, your lawyer can begin negotiating settlement compensation for you.
When it comes to monetary settlements, however, you are the final decision maker. This makes you the one who decides whether or not to accept or reject a pending settlement offer from the insurance company. Your lawyer can help you decide whether a particular offer is reasonable under the circumstances or whether you should file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit in a Distracted Driving Accident Case
Once you complete your medical treatment after a car accident, your lawyer can begin settlement negotiations on your behalf. Adjusters give you initial settlement offers that are typically unfavorable and far below the value of your personal injury claim.
Adjusters do this to try and save their insurance companies as much money as possible. After all, insurance companies do not make money by paying out large personal injury settlements and jury verdicts.
Instead, they make and keep their money by collecting premiums from their insureds and investing those amounts. Consequently, your lawyer will usually need to negotiate with the insurance company adjuster several times to convince them to take your accident case seriously.
Some insurance companies still refuse to offer significant compensation after initial settlement negotiations. Your lawyer can file a lawsuit when that happens. This does not necessarily mean that your case must go to a civil jury trial. In fact, most car accident claims resolve out of court long before the trial date ever comes.
If the case remains unresolved by the end of litigation, the parties have several options. First, they can take the matter to a jury trial where the jury members will resolve the issue of damages and any other unresolved issues.
Instead of trying the case, the parties might consider alternative dispute resolution. Specifically, they can take the case to a mediator for help facilitating settlement discussions or take it to binding arbitration. At binding arbitration, the parties present their case to an arbitrator who decides the sum of damages to award the accident victim.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you decide whether to settle your case, take the case to a jury trial, or pursue alternative dispute resolution.
Potential Damages in Distracted Driving Accident Claims
Distracted driving accident victims often find themselves in need of lengthy medical treatment. They may also need to miss time from work to recover from their injuries.
Likewise, they may suffer intense pain in the weeks and months following their car crash. All of these items of damage are legally compensable. However, the damages that one car accident victim recovers may not be the same as those another accident victim recovers.
Depending upon the circumstances, you might be eligible to pursue damages for your lost earnings or loss of earning capacity, as well as compensation for your inconvenience, suffering, pain, embarrassment, loss of the ability to use a body part, or loss of life enjoyment. You may also be eligible to bring a claim for loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help determine which of these damages you are eligible to recover in your personal injury claim. Your lawyer will maximize your compensation through settlement or litigation in the court system.
Talk with a Car Accident Lawyer Right Away
Distracted driving accidents often occur out of the blue and catch their victims off guard. It happens more frequently than you might think it does. Many injured drivers and passengers are unsure of what they should do next, who they should speak to, and more importantly, who they should not speak to.
As soon as possible after your car accident, you should talk with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. Accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit for damages. Therefore, the sooner you involve a lawyer in your case, the sooner you can not worry about meeting any deadlines.
In addition to discussing your car crash with you, your lawyer can promptly file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf and begin negotiating a settlement. If necessary, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and bring your case to a conclusion through litigation.