Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most pressing hazards that cause motor vehicle accidents. Motorists who become distracted while driving risk hitting other vehicles, pedestrians, scooter riders, motorcycle riders, and bicyclists. When accidents happen, the distracted driver or their insurance company must generally cover the victims’ damages.

Victims of distracted drivers deserve to receive complete financial coverage for accident-related damages. A car accident lawyer can fight for your financial recovery as you rest and receive the treatment you need.

Distracted Driving Is More Common Than Many Realize

At any given moment, countless drivers who share the road with you are distracted. The three primary categories of driving-related distraction are:

Manual Distraction

Manual distractions cause the driver to take one or more hands off the wheel. Such distractions can include:

  • Using a hand to hold a beverage
  • Using one or both hands to hold food
  • Holding one’s cell phone while driving
  • Reaching for items inside the vehicle

If a motorist takes one or both feet away from the gas and brake pedals, this may also qualify as a manual distraction. A motorist must respond quickly to braking vehicles and other hazards, and this requires keeping one’s hands and feet in the appropriate position at all times.

Visual Distraction

When a motorist takes their eyes off the road for any reason, they are visually distracted. Such distraction may arise from:

  • Texting
  • Monitoring social media
  • Recording a video
  • Taking a photograph
  • Looking at other people inside the vehicle
  • Looking at people or sights outside the vehicle
  • Selecting media while driving

Young drivers are especially likely to engage in cell phone-related distracted driving. However, as cell phones have become a staple for most adults, their danger as a form of distraction has increased among all motorist demographics.

Cognitive Distraction

A yellow warning sign with the words "Distracted Driving" and an icon depicting an accident against a sky background.

Attentive driving requires a motorist’s focus to be on the road and driving-related thoughts. A motorist may become cognitively distracted when:

  • They are overly occupied with a conversation they are having (whether on the phone or with people in their vehicle)
  • They are engrossed in music, podcasts, audiobooks, or other media
  • They become enraged by events happening on the road
  • They are overly concerned with sights outside the vehicle (such as an accident scene)
  • They are consumed by their own thoughts

A motorist must always be considering what is happening on the road, what might happen next, and how they can proceed without causing an accident. If their mind wanders elsewhere, the risk of an accident may increase substantially.

Is a Distracted Driver Liable for Their Victims’ Damages?

A distracted driver or their insurance company must typically pay for a victim’s accident-related damages. Your attorney may seek compensation for your accident-related damages by:

  • Pursuing an insurance claim
  • Filing and completing a lawsuit on your behalf

You and your lawyer will speak and determine the most appropriate way to seek compensation for a distracted driving accident.

What to Do After an Accident with a Distracted Driver

While every accident victim faces their own unique reality, there are several steps that every accident victim should take. These steps include:

Seeing a Doctor Immediately

Medical care can’t wait after an auto accident. You may have obvious injuries that require urgent treatment. You may also have injuries, like whiplash, that have yet to manifest all of their symptoms.

By seeking immediate medical attention after your collision, you:

  • Ensure that you are getting the treatment you need to recover
  • Document the exact injuries that have resulted from the accident
  • Prevent symptoms from becoming worse or threatening your life due to lack of necessary medical treatment

If you aren’t sure where to seek medical care, a lawyer can refer you to doctors who have helped clients before you.

Keeping All Evidence and Documentation That Could Be Relevant to Your Case

As you proceed after your accident, you may come across evidence and documentation relevant to your case. Medical records, footage of the accident, and the police report from your collision may help your lawyer build your case. Hold onto such evidence and documentation.

You may also keep a journal detailing:

  • Physical symptoms of your injuries
  • The psychological and emotional hardship you face after the collision
  • The specific ways in which your accident and resulting injuries are affecting you

Your attorney may use your accounts as they fight for the compensation you deserve.

Trusting a Lawyer to Fight for Your Financial Recovery

You should not wait to hire a distracted driving accident lawyer after your collision. Your lawyer’s most immediate priorities may be:

  • Taking over communications with insurance companies
  • Ensuring you are receiving the treatment you need
  • Securing all relevant evidence
  • Documenting your damages

Your attorney will understand the steps necessary to resolve your insurance claim. They will immediately begin building your case and working towards settlement negotiations.

Should I Hire a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney? If So, When?

"Distracted Driving Law: A Handbook for Legal Professionals" is seen nestled in the hands of a diligent lawyer. Distracted driving transpires when a driver engages in any action that draws focus away from operating a vehicle safely.

You may choose to hire a distracted driving accident attorney because:

  • You are not in a physical condition to handle your own insurance claim or lawsuit
  • You are psychologically and emotionally shaken after your accident
  • You want someone with experience handling your case
  • You want the financial support a law firm provides
  • You do not know how to accurately calculate your damages
  • You are not comfortable negotiating a settlement on your own

If you decide that you want a lawyer to handle your case, do not wait to conduct your search. Hiring an attorney is a time-sensitive undertaking because:

  • Your attorney will need to secure evidence as soon as possible (some evidence may not be available for long)
  • Your attorney will likely have a limited window for filing any lawsuit you choose to pursue

When you have hired a lawyer, you can better focus on your physical and mental recovery. You won’t have to field calls from insurance companies or worry about your case, so you may have more time to focus on treatment and rest. Your lawyer will focus on your financial recovery.

What a Distracted Driving Attorney Will Do to Secure Your Financial Recovery

You should expect your lawyer to take ownership of every detail of your case. Their role includes:

  • Protecting you: An attorney will ensure you and your case are not at risk. Your attorney will deal with insurance companies and civil defense lawyers, so neither party can undermine your case.
  • Advising you: A lawyer will take the thought and stress out of your claim or lawsuit. Simply follow your lawyer’s advice, and you will have a better chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. A lawyer will be in familiar territory leading your case, so rely on their guidance while you recover from the accident.
  • Promoting your recovery: Your attorney will ensure you receive the medical treatment you need. They will also encourage you to seek all necessary care regardless of cost. They will worry about securing the compensation you need for the cost of accident-related medical services.
  • Providing all necessary legal services: Your attorney will be responsible for all case-related duties. From securing evidence to completing settlement negotiations, your lawyer will mind every detail of your case.

As you can see, a lawyer can be a valuable partner after a distracted driving accident.

Specific Duties Your Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Will Provide

You should know exactly what your distracted driving accident lawyer will do to secure your financial recovery. Their duties will include:

  • Obtaining all useful evidence: Your lawyer will seek photographs of vehicle damage, video footage of the accident, eyewitness testimony, and all other evidence to benefit your case. This evidence may be time sensitive, so your lawyer will not delay in gathering it.
  • Documenting your accident-related damages: Expect your lawyer to obtain employment records, medical records and bills, vehicle-related invoices, and any other documentation of your damages. Mental health experts and doctors may testify to the nature, severity, and cost of injuries and trauma.
  • Calculating the full value of accident-related damages: An attorney must know their client’s exact case value. Your attorney will account for both economic and non-economic damages as they calculate the cost of your damages.
  • Handling the administrative aspects of the case: Attorneys oversee paperwork, phone calls, emails, appointment-making, and the other administrative aspects of auto accident cases. These are important responsibilities your attorney will take off your hands.
  • Negotiating a settlement with insurers: Your legal team will organize all proof of your damages and request a fair settlement from insurers. Most distracted driving accident cases settle, and your lawyer will do their best to secure the settlement offer you deserve.
  • Suing liable parties, if necessary: Your legal team may advise you to sue those responsible for your accident, including the distracted driver. Your lawyer will handle every step of the legal process if you choose to pursue a lawsuit.

Let your lawyer take the lead. They will handle strategy and execution while you rest and undergo necessary treatment for physical and psychological injuries.

Recoverable Damages Among Victims of Distracted Drivers

A woman using her smartphone while driving, a dangerous act of distracted driving.

Most motor vehicle accidents pose a risk of serious injuries and severe psychological distress. These outcomes can contribute to:

Healthcare Expenses

Your lawyer will value the cost of your accident-related medical care, which may include:

  • An ambulance trip
  • Emergency care
  • Surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Medications
  • Specialist appointments
  • Procedures to address scarring and other types of disfigurement
  • Rehabilitation

Your attorney will work alongside your doctors to track your treatment and recovery. Your legal team may hire medical experts and economists to help value your short- and long-term medical care.

Pain and Suffering

Auto accident victims often face psychological and emotional trauma. Your pain and suffering may include:

  • Disturbing memories of the accident (which may qualify as symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of physical abilities
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Physical pain
  • Lost quality of life

Your symptoms are yours alone. Your attorney will ensure you undergo a thorough mental health evaluation and receive definitive diagnoses for symptoms of pain and suffering.

Lost Income and Other Professional Harm

Those who suffer injuries during distracted driving accidents may:

  • Be unable to earn an income
  • Lose earning power (perhaps because they must reduce their working hours due to injury symptoms)
  • Be unable to earn performance bonuses
  • Lose progress towards promotions
  • Lose benefits

Your lawyer will become familiar with your professional role. They will determine how much income you have lost since the collision and identify all other professional damages.

The Cost of Mental Health Treatment

If you need medication, therapy, or any other treatment to improve or maintain mental health problems, your lawyer will seek compensation from liable parties. Your mental health is just as important after your accident, and it may be just as greatly affected by the collision.

A Wrongful Death

Those who lose loved ones because of auto accidents are entitled to justice. Justice may include a financial recovery for:

  • Survivors’ pain and suffering
  • The deceased party’s pain and suffering
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of the decedent’s contributions to their household
  • Loss of the decedent’s financial support

You may also face property costs for repairing your vehicle, replacing a totaled vehicle, replacing other damaged property, and securing temporary transport. Your attorney will include all such economic and non-economic damages in their settlement demands.

What Is the Best Way to Find a Suitable Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer?

Many victims of distracted driving accidents find their lawyers online. The internet can be a valuable resource for finding an attorney because:

  • You can easily search for auto accident lawyers serving your geographic region
  • You can find plenty of information about law firms online
  • You can compare and contrast many different law firms using information you find online

Law firms’ websites will also direct you on how to complete a free consultation. You should consider the firm’s case results and client reviews as you tap a law firm to lead your case.

Don’t Wait to Hire Your Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Your personal injury lawyer may have a brief time to file your case, so do not wait to choose the right law firm to fight for your financial recovery.