Distracted Driving Car Accident

Distracted Driving Car Accident

Distracted driving car accident

Distracted driving is a major concern on the roads today and a leading cause of car accidents in Cleveland and across the United States. Every day, people are injured or killed because a driver is not paying full attention to the road.

At Ryan LLP, we are committed to helping victims of these preventable accidents pursue the justice and compensation they deserve. Our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of proving distracted driving and are ready to guide you through each step of the legal process.

Distracted drivers cause countless accidents annually, and cell phone use is only one example of distracted driving.

Distracted driving-related crashes can cause serious injuries. Some of them could even result in fatal motor vehicle crashes. Learn more about distracted driving laws below. Then, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving involves anything behind the wheel that distracts your attention from the road. This can include texting, talking on the phone, using a navigation system, eating, or changing the radio station. Such distractions can greatly impair a driver's ability to react to road conditions, traffic signals, and other motorists.

The crash risk increases markedly when the driver is not fully focused on driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) takes distracted driving seriously. Distracted driving can even lead to fatal car accidents.

Distracted driving statistics show that driver distraction remains a serious concern. For example, according to the NHTSA, distracted driving led to more than 3,300 deaths in 2022 alone. While this is a major issue among teen drivers, people of all ages are prone to getting distracted while driving.

Why Is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,308 people died in distraction-affected crashes in 2022.

Distracted driving reduces a driver's awareness, decision-making process, and performance, leading to an increased risk of accidents. When a driver's attention is split between driving and another activity, their ability to process road information slows, and their reaction times increase.

This delay can result in a serious, or even fatal, collision. Furthermore, distracted driving impairs a driver's ability to notice and respond to hazards before it's too late. The dangers of distracted driving are magnified by the fact that the behavior is so pervasive.

Every day, countless drivers choose to divert their attention from the road. This leads to thousands of preventable accidents yearly, ranging from minor fender-benders to fatal crashes. It's a persistent issue that poses a threat to public safety.

Common Examples of Distracted Driving

  • Texting and driving. Texting is a major cause of distracted driving. Those who decide to text and drive are at a much greater risk of being involved in a collision.
  • Using cell phones. Cell phone use such as cell phone calls, browsing social media, or even just holding a cell phone diverts attention from driving. Hands-free devices reduce physical distractions but can still leave the driver mentally distracted.
  • Eating and drinking. These activities require you to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road, increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Using navigation systems. Setting up or adjusting GPS devices while driving can cause visual and mental distractions. It's safest to enter destinations before starting to drive.
  • Adjusting music or controls. Changing radio stations, adjusting volume, or manipulating climate controls can distract a driver momentarily but long enough to cause an accident.

Establishing Fault in Distracted Driving Accidents

Establishing fault in distracted driving accidents

According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80 percent of automobile accidents and 65 percent of near-accidents involve at least some form of driver distraction within three seconds of the crash or near-miss. 

Proving that a crash was caused by distracted driving requires demonstrating that the driver was not paying attention to the road at the time of the crash. This involves collecting and presenting evidence that the driver was engaged in a distracting activity.

As distracted driving becomes more recognized as a serious threat, courts are paying closer attention to these cases and the evidence presented. Gathering this evidence can be challenging, as distractions are not always immediately apparent or easy to prove.

However, with the help of experienced attorneys and modern technology, it is possible to reconstruct the scene and show that the driver was distracted. This evidence is essential in holding the responsible party accountable and ensuring victims receive the compensation they need to recover.

Evidence Required to Prove Distracted Driving

  • Cell phone records. These can show whether the driver was texting, calling, or using data before f.
  • Dashcam footage. Video can capture the driver's actions inside the vehicle and the moments leading up to an accident.
  • Eyewitness testimony. Witnesses can often testify if they saw the driver using a mobile device or being distracted.
  • Accident scene evidence. Skid lines and the final positions of the cars involved can indicate a lack of attempt to avoid the collision, suggesting distraction.
  • Police reports. Officers at the scene might note observations of distracted driving behaviors or confessions from the driver.

The Role of Witness Statements and Police Reports

Witness statements are invaluable in distracted driving cases because they can provide an independent account of the driver's behavior before fatal crashes happen. Witnesses might notice a driver looking down at their phone or appearing distracted in other ways. These observations help build a strong case against the distracted driver.

Police reports also play a critical role in establishing fault in distracted driving accidents. Police officers are taught to spot signs of distracted driving at rollover accident scenes.

Their reports can include important details about the driver's state and actions, such as admissions of guilt or observations of a phone in the driver's hand. Both witness statements and police reports are essential for substantiating claims of distracted driving.

What Injuries Do People Suffer in Distracted Driving Car Accident?

  • Whiplash. This is a frequent neck injury caused by sudden head movement in a collision. It can cause chronic pain and headaches.
  • Concussions. A concussion is a common example of traumatic brain injury that can occur when the head makes a sharp movement or impact. Symptoms can last for weeks or months.
  • Broken bones. Ribs, wrists, ankles, and other bones can easily break in car and SUV accidents due to the force of impact.
  • Internal injuries. Internal organs can be damaged in accidents, leading to serious, sometimes fatal, conditions.
  • Cuts and bruises. Flying debris, shattered glass, and car impacts can cause cuts and bruises.
  • Spinal cord injuries. These spinal injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis, tremendously impacting a victim's quality of life.
  • Emotional trauma. Car accidents can also lead to long-lasting psychological effects, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

What Should You Do After a Distracted Driver Strikes You?

What should you do after a distracted driver strikes you
  1. Check for injuries. Immediately assess yourself and others for injuries after an accident. If anyone is hurt, call 911.
  2. Document the scene. Record the crash site, including all cars or trucks involved, road conditions, and any visible injuries.
  3. Collect information. Gather the contact and insurance information from all parties involved, but avoid discussing the fault or details of the accident.
  4. Gather witnesses. If there are witnesses, get their contact information. They may help prove the other driver was distracted.
  5. Seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine, it's important to see a doctor. Some injuries are not immediately apparent.
  6. Report the accident. Notify your insurance company about the accident, but be cautious about what you say until you've spoken with an attorney.
  7. Consult with an attorney. Contact a motor vehicle accident lawyer who understands the complexities of distracted driving cases. They can guide you on the best steps to take next.

Types of Damages Recoverable in Distracted Driving Cases

  • Medical expenses. Compensation typically covers all medical treatments related to the accident, including future medical care if needed.
  • Lost wages. You can recover lost wages and benefits if you miss work due to injuries. This includes potential future earnings if you cannot return to work.
  • Pain and suffering. You may be compensated for physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident. This acknowledges the non-economic impact of your injuries.
  • Property damage. Compensation can cover repairs or replacement of your car and any personal property damaged in the crash.
  • Punitive damages. In some cases, if the distracted driving was particularly severe, you could be awarded punitive damages. These are meant to punish the at-fault driver and deter similar behavior in the future.

Challenges in Distracted Driving Cases

Challenges in distracted driving case

Distracted driving cases often involve complex issues that can challenge even experienced lawyers. Proving that the driver was distracted during the crash requires solid evidence, which is only sometimes easy to obtain.

Defendants and their insurance companies often dispute the extent of the distraction or argue that other factors contributed to the car accident.

In addition to proving distraction, victims must also demonstrate that their injuries are directly tied to the crash. This can be complicated if the victim has pre-existing conditions or if the symptoms of the injury develop gradually.

Insurance companies frequently use these factors to reduce the compensation they offer. It's vital to have an attorney who can effectively counter these tactics and ensure that your injuries are fairly evaluated and compensated.

How Ryan LLP Can Help

Drivers ages 18 and over may use hands-free devices while driving, but drivers under the age of 18 may not use any type of hand-held or hands-free wireless phone while driving. If everyone followed these few simple rules while driving, tens of thousands of lives would be saved every year.

At Ryan LLP, we understand the devastating impact a distracted driving collision can have on your life. Our law office is committed to helping you recover the maximum compensation possible. We use our expertise to handle all aspects of your case, from investigating the accident to negotiating with insurance companies.

We take the time to understand the specifics of your case and tailor our strategy to meet your needs. We are also prepared to take your case to trial to secure the best possible outcome. With Ryan LLP, you have a partner who will fight for your rights and work to maximize your overall compensation.

Contact Our Cleveland Car Accident Lawyer at Ryan LLP for a Free Consultation

Contact our Cleveland car accident lawyer at Ryan LLP for a free consultation

If you or a loved one has been affected by a distracted driving accident, don't wait to get the help you need.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer for a car accident in Cleveland. We'll review your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal options.

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