Distracted driving is a dangerous act based in driver negligence. Though many drivers assume that they can handle balancing several tasks at once, it isn’t humanly possible to effectively do two things at once with full focus. Oftentimes, drivers are guilty of doing more than two activities at once. For instance, a driver might be 1) driving, 2) eating, and 3) handling their phone to navigate at once. Though multitasking is almost necessary to accomplish the many tasks involved in everyday life, driving is one task that this does not apply to. In fact, multitasking while driving will actually decrease your efficiency, hindering you rather than helping. Speak with a certified Dallas distracted driving accident attorney to learn more about the compensation you can receive if you are a victim of this type of accident.
What Counts as Distracted Driving?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving within three different categories: visual, manual, and cognitive.
- Visual distractions take your eyes off the road, preventing you from safely scanning the road.
- Manual distractions force you to remove your hands from the steering wheel, even if your eyes are still on the road. For example, reaching for a drink and taking a sip while looking at the road.
- Cognitive distractions remove your mental focus from the roadway. Cognitive distractions are the hardest to prevent because many individuals drive while under the influence of some cognitive distraction. For instance, teens might mentally study for a test while on the road or dissect their recent break up.
Some specific examples of distracted driving include:
- Talking on the phone
- Operating a phone
- Manipulating the radio or other car features
- Talking to passengers
- Using a navigation system or your phone’s GPS
- Listening to a podcast
- Watching a video on your phone
Essentially, all activities that aren’t driving count as a form of distraction. The CDC encourages all drivers to refrain from driving while completing other activities.
How Can I File a Distracted Driver Lawsuit?
In many cases, accident and injury lawsuits involve the defendant’s insurance company before the suit reaches the court. This is preferable to both parties, as both defendant and plaintiff must deal with court fees and the strict format of a court hearing. Settlement negotiation/mediation provides more opportunity for direct communication with the other driver’s claims adjusters.
During a settlement negotiation, you and your attorney discuss what constitutes an acceptable settlement amount to account with the defendant’s insurance claims adjusters. This can be a tough situation to navigate on your own – it is wise to hire an attorney to prevent the claims adjusters from taking advantage of you through their unreasonably low settlement offers. In fact, an attorney will meet with you beforehand to establish a ballpark settlement figure to reference during negotiation.
If both parties agree on a settlement figure, the negotiation process ends. If neither party concedes, the plaintiff can bring their case to court. In this context, an attorney will present your evidence and effectively represent you/your case to secure the fairest amount of compensation.
After being involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you might feel disoriented or emotionally distraught. This emotional response, though understandable, can distract an injured driver from completing the necessary steps associated with seeking compensation.
When you feel overwhelmed, or require professional counsel in your distracted driving case, choose Aaron Herbert to investigate your case. Hiring a professional removes a significant amount of the responsibility and resultant stress associated with completing insurance claims and personal injury claims. If you think you could benefit from the skilled services of an attorney, contact Aaron Herbert’s law firm today.
How Can I Prove Negligence?
Texas determines negligence using a fault-based rating system. This means that both parties receive a percentage-based rating that illustrates their role in an accident. In Texas, individuals who possess less than 50% of the fault associated with an accident can file a personal injury claim against the other driver.
When pursuing any personal injury lawsuit, the claimant has the burden of proof. This means they must gather evidence that supports the claim that the defendant’s negligence caused their accident. In a distracted driving lawsuit, this means proving the following:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty – to safely operate their vehicle in order to prevent accidents.
- The defendant did not fulfill this duty. In this scenario, the defendant’s distracted driving constitutes their breach in duty.
- The defendant’s negligent actions directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This refers to the accident caused by the defendant’s distraction. Without the accident, the plaintiff would not have sustained injury.
- The plaintiff sustained verifiable injury. A claimant can easily prove this through releasing their medical records after seeing a physician for their accident-related injuries.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, distracted driving causes one in five motor vehicle accidents in our state. Distracted driving is extremely common. As an individual spends more time on the road, they also become more comfortable with the demands of the roadway. In many cases, experienced drivers develop a sort of autopilot mode that they use when attending to other demands within the car. For instance, one common trick that many seasoned drivers use is steering holding the steering wheel with their knees while completing tasks like eating.
In 2018, distracted driving caused 9 deaths and 1,000 injuries every day. Though older drivers might blame their adolescents for taking part in activities like texting and driving, over 50% of young drivers report seeing their parents text and drive at least once. These dangerous learned behaviors cause more damage than one might think. Using your cellphone while driving is one of the most common – and dangerous – forms of distracted driving, increasing the potential for collision by five times.
Distracted Driving is Negligence
If someone else caused an accident because of careless and avoidable behaviors, he or she is acting negligently. In personal injury law, negligence that causes injury is the defining evidence in a plaintiff’s case. One AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey indicates that individuals who engage in distracted driving activities are more likely to engage in other dangerous activities like driving while tired, speeding, or not wearing a seatbelt. Many cases of distracted driving also reveal other unsafe contributing factors to an accident.
Whether a distracted driver was only talking on the phone or was engaging in several unsafe activities at once, he or she should be held accountable for those accidents. Drivers have a duty on the road to exhibit a reasonable amount of caution and care while driving. Not keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel is a breach of that duty, and it is not exempt from justice in the judicial system.
An experienced distracted driving lawyer can help you obtain compensation for injury or death after a distracted driving accident. The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert specializes in personal injury cases to help people in the Dallas area and around Texas find the justice they deserve.
Common Distracted Driving Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained during car accidents can be fatal, especially when distracted driving occurs. Not focusing on the road results in a slower reaction time. In some cases, this small gap of time is all that a driver needs to veer away from a potential collision. Car accidents caused by distracted driving often lead to the following injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury – Traumatic brain injury is a common result of car accidents, including injuries like concussions, skull fractures, internal bleeding, hematomas, and minor brain contusions (bruising). Head and brain injuries are dangerous because one severe impact increases the likelihood of complications if the individual sustains another blunt impact to the head, even if the second impact isn’t as severe.
- Bruises and scrapes/cuts – Bruises and scrapes come in varying degrees. Scrapes can easily become puncture wounds and gashes in a car accident that involves shattered glass. Bruising can also become severe, creating large pools of blood trapped under the skin. These hematomas require medical intervention and will not heal in the same way minor bruises do.
- Soft tissue injuries – Soft tissue injuries involve muscles. Common soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and tears. One prevalent injury associated with car accidents is whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the neck muscles overextend, sometimes causing muscle tears.
- Broken bones – Broken bones are common in accidents and can occur with minimal impact. In accidents that generate a lot of crushing power, broken ribs can result. Broken ribs can immobilize injured drivers and require a long time to heal.
- Internal bleeding – Internal bleeding is common in all degrees of car accidents. It is crucial to treat internal bleeding immediately after an accident because it could signify other severe internal organ injuries.
Call an Experienced Distracted Driving Lawyer
Personal injury attorney Aaron Herbert is board-certified in personal injury trial law in Texas. Fewer than 2% of all practicing attorneys in the state have earned that distinction. For more than 10 years, attorney Herbert has been helping victims find the compensation and justice needed in the wake of a devastating accident.
If you or a loved one has suffered in a senseless distracted driving accident, compensation may be the only way to cover all your expenses and rebuild your life. Let The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert guide you through the complex laws of personal injury in and around Dallas so that you can focus on what really matters: getting well again.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation.