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Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving: What Victims Should Know.

Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving: What Victims Should Know

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Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving: What Victims Should Know

If you were injured in a distracted driving accident, you could be eligible for compensation. However, there are things you should know about these accidents before you file a claim.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is operating a vehicle while doing something that takes your attention off the road. Most people think of texting and driving when they consider distracted driving, but it can also include:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Texting
  • Looking at a map or GPS device
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Looking for something on the floor or in the backseat
  • Daydreaming
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Self-grooming or applying makeup

Some of these activities might seem harmless, but at 55 miles per hour, it takes less than five seconds to travel 100 yards, according to research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. In the time it takes you to read or send a text, roughly four to five seconds, you have essentially driven a football field’s length or longer with your eyes closed.

How do I win damages from a distracted driver?

Winning damages from a distracted driver in a car accident requires two steps.

The first is proving the driver was indeed distracted and therefore liable. A personal injury lawyer does this by gathering evidence that might include:

Cell phone records: These records can show if the driver sent or read any texts in the time leading up to the crash. Depending on the type of phone and the carrier, records might also be able to show if a distracting app, such as Facebook or YouTube, was active.

Witness statements: You or your lawyer can identify witnesses in the area when the crash happened. They can offer valuable insight. For example, maybe someone saw the driver holding a phone aloft before he hit your car. Another possibility is that someone overheard the driver admit to something in the minutes after the crash. For instance, “I leaned over to change the radio station, and…”

Photographic evidence: These days, cameras are everywhere. If the accident occurred in a highly visible area (e.g., an intersection or near a shopping center), there is a chance that someone has photos or video. Your lawyer can check the surveillance tapes of surrounding businesses and ask people in the area if they might have captured anything on their phones.

The second step in the process is connecting the distracted driver’s actions to your injury. This typically requires several pieces of evidence:

Medical records: You can use your medical records to establish a connection between the accident and your injuries. For this reason, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. If you wait several weeks, the other driver’s lawyer can cast doubt by suggesting your injuries might have occurred at a later time. A doctor’s report from the same day that connects the crash to your injuries, on the other hand, offers nearly irrefutable evidence.

Witness statements: Again, witnesses can come in handy here. If, for instance, someone helped you at the scene because you were hurt, your lawyer can use that person’s testimony as evidence to connect the distracted driving accident to your injuries.

The law requires drivers to uphold a duty of care toward others on the road. When people drive distracted, they breach that duty. Consequently, they are responsible for any damages they cause in an accident. A knowledgeable lawyer can protect your rights and help you get compensation after a distracted driving accident.

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