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The Rise of Distracted Driving Accidents and How They Affect Personal Injury Claims

Published May 7, 2024 by Harker Injury Law

Motorist engaged in texting while driving.

For most people, the use of smartphones is a part of their daily lives. Cell phones make it easy to send emails, make phone calls, and send texts throughout the day. These devices allow us to stay connected to family and friends. However, they also contribute to a rising number of distracted driving accidents.

There has been a recent increase in personal injury claims involving distracted drivers. In 2022, there were 3,308 people killed in distracted driving accidents. The increase in these types of accidents highlights the need for awareness, prevention, and legal action.

In this blog post, we will discuss this increase in distracted driving accidents. We will also discuss the impact these have on personal injury claims.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Motor vehicle accidents are the most common type of personal injury claim. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes among all car accidents.

Distracted driving involves anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. For instance, driving distractions may come in the following three forms:

  • Visual distractions: A distraction that takes a driver’s eyes off the road
  • Manual distractions: A distraction that causes a driver to take his or her hands off of the steering wheel
  • Cognitive distractions: A distraction that prevents a driver from mentally paying attention to the road ahead

The Risk of Distracted Driving

Sadly, despite the frequent warnings given about the severe consequences of distracted driving, many people ignore the risks. Distracted drivers put everyone sharing the road with them at risk of harm.

Distracted drivers feel they can pay attention to the road and do something else at the same time. Drivers continue to text, check emails, and post on social media. They also engage in other common distractions such as eating or applying make-up.

The following are a few of the many reasons why distracted driving leads to car accidents and personal injury claims:

  • Delayed reaction time: The results of a study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that a distracted driver’s reaction time doubles when reading or sending a text message. Reaction times without texting were typically between 1 and 2 seconds — but texting nearly doubled reaction time, which slowed to between 3 and 4 seconds. 
  • Impaired decision-making and judgment: Distractions impair a driver’s ability to make quick and rational decisions. A distracted driver may misjudge distances between vehicles. The driver may underestimate a vehicle’s speed or fail to anticipate potential dangers.
  • Reduced concentration: When your attention is diverted from the road, you are less likely to notice hazards or react to sudden changes in traffic. Studies show that drivers who are texting have a difficult time maintaining lane position or maintaining a constant speed.

Distracted Driving Can Cause Severe Car Accident Injuries

All drivers have an obligation to obey traffic laws. They also must operate their vehicles in a safe manner that will not cause harm to themselves or others. When a distracted driver causes a car accident and others are injured, he or she should be held liable for damages.

Distracted driving can cause victims serious injuries such as:

Filing a Personal Injury Claim After Being Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident

Were you an accident victim of a distracted driver? If so, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent driver.

It is unlikely, however, that that other driver will admit to driving distracted and causing the accident. To recover financial compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, you will need to provide proof of distracted driving being the cause of your car accident and injuries.

A personal injury lawyer can help you gather the evidence needed to build a strong personal injury case against the at-fault party.

Evidence that proves distracted driving may include:

  • Witness statements: If anyone saw the driver engaging in distracted driving behavior when the accident occurred, his or her testimony can be used as evidence to corroborate your version of events. Be sure to get the names and contact information of all eyewitnesses to collect statements later.
  • Phone records: It is against California law for drivers to text or use handheld devices while driving. Unfortunately, many drivers still text and drive. A lawyer can subpoena the other driver’s phone records. These can show texts sent, apps open, photos taken, and calls made in the moments leading up to the crash.
  • Police reports: Be sure to call 911 and report that you were in a car accident. The officer dispatched to the accident scene will create a police report, which will document key facts and information about the crash. If there is evidence the other driver was distracted, such as an open social media app on a cell phone, the police can document this as evidence.
  • Video footage: A distracted driving accident may have been captured on video. This could include traffic cams, dash cams, and surveillance cameras at nearby businesses. Footage of the collision could show the other driver engaging in distracted driving behavior or failing to hit the brakes before the moment of impact — a sign the driver was distracted.
  • Accident reconstructionists: Your personal injury attorney may recommend consulting an accident reconstructionist. Accident reconstruction utilizes physical evidence from the crash scene to recreate the accident. This information can be used to prove the other driver did not brake or swerve before impact, indicating that his or her attention was on something else.

How Much Is a San Diego Distracted Driving Personal Injury Claim Worth?

Many victims hire a personal injury law firm to handle their distracted driving accident cases. An experienced attorney knows what is needed to get fair compensation for you. An attorney has the knowledge and resources needed to build a strong case.

If you were harmed in a distracted driving accident, you are likely wondering how much your personal injury claim is worth — but each car accident case is unique. The value of your claim will depend on various factors such as the extent of your injuries.

The following are some of the types of damages commonly awarded in personal injury cases involving car accidents:

  • Medical expenses: This could include compensation for ambulance rides, emergency room fees, hospital stays, physical therapy, prescription medications, follow-up medical appointments, and more.
  • Property damage: You can recover the cost of property damage to your vehicle resulting from the crash. You can also receive money for any personal items such as cell phones or laptops damaged in the accident.
  • Lost wages: You can receive compensation for the income lost during your recovery from the accident. In addition to regular wages, you can receive compensation for sick days, vacation pay, bonuses, and other lost income.
  • Pain and suffering: A serious car accident can cause painful physical injuries. It can also cause mental and emotional harm. A person may struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or other mental health issues.

Our San Diego Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers Can Help You File a Personal Injury Claim

Distracted driving accidents are all too common on San Diego’s congested roadways. Choosing a personal injury attorney familiar with distracted driving cases is one way to ensure the at-fault driver faces legal consequences for his or her actions.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a distracted driving accident, Harker Injury Law is here to help. Our legal team can investigate your motor vehicle accident. We can collect evidence, file your claim, and negotiate a fair settlement for you.

Our law firm takes all car accident cases on contingency. You will not pay any upfront costs or fees. Complete the contact form or call us at 760-INJURED to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options to get the fair compensation you deserve.

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