When learning to drive for the first time, many parents and driving instructors alike try to ingrain into the minds of children that they need to give their full attention to operating a vehicle while driving from place to place. While this lesson has been important throughout all generations, it is increasingly more important now than ever. With the advent of modern cell phones, car touch screens, and other technological advancements, it seems that distractions are all around us. Though their intent is to make communication easier, they can contribute to our distraction and cause dangerous vehicle accidents.
What is Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is classified as anything that takes your attention away from controlling your vehicle. When thinking about distracted driving, many may only consider these distractions to be physical objects such as using a phone while driving. While that may tend to be the case in many situations, there is more than one type of distracted driving. The three types of distracted driving outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center on Transportation Safety are:
- Manual- This type of distracted driving involves the driver taking their hands off the wheel. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as using their phone, changing the temperature in the car, reaching for something, adjusting their mirrors, and any other activity involving their hands being elsewhere and not on the wheel.
- Visual- This type of distracted driving involves the driver taking their eyes off the road in any way. Suppose the driver is looking at something other than the road, for example, at a cellphone, at a person on the side of the road, at an accident, or any other visual phenomena that removes their attention from driving. In that case, they could be putting themselves and others at risk.
- Cognitive- This type of distracted driving involves the driver taking their mind off of driving and operating their vehicle. Some cognitively distracted drivers may be daydreaming and get lost in their own worlds; some may be tired and half asleep, be worried and ruminate over a stressful situation. This can be incredibly dangerous. Their lack of attention to what is going on can easily cause an accident to happen.
Driving distracted causes over 3,000 deaths every year, according to the CDC. To lower this statistic, it is recommended that all devices be set to do not disturb and that drivers take great care in ensuring that their full attention is on the road at all times when operating a vehicle.
What to Do If A Distracted Driver has hit you
Being involved in an accident can be jarring and may make involved parties forget what to do in the chaos of it all. If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, it is crucial to do the following:
- Ensure everyone is okay- Immediately following an accident, make sure that yourself and any other involved parties are alright and are not seriously injured. If someone is seriously injured, call 911 and assist them until emergency services arrive on the scene.
- Report the accident- If no one is injured and there is no need to call emergency services, it is still important that you contact a local police station and report the accident. They will send officers to the scene to help as much as possible.
- Collect information from the other driver- It is important for all parties involved to exchange information such as driver’s licenses, license plate numbers, phone numbers, and car insurance information.
- Document the accident- Take as many pictures of the accident as possible, especially if you plan to pursue a claim in the near future. Take pictures of both vehicles, the accident scene as a whole, any and all physical injuries, and the area in which it happened. It is also important to collect information and statements from any witnesses who saw the accident if possible.
If you have been seriously injured and would like to pursue a claim against the driver that caused the accident, it is best to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can help handle and strengthen your claim.
Can You Sue a Distracted Driver?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your vehicle accident, you may be able to file a claim against the driver who caused the accident you were involved in. One of the best ways to go about doing this is to prove duty of care. To prove duty of care, you must establish that:
- The driver who hit you had a certain duty of care to be alert and cautious while operating their vehicle.
- There was a breach in that duty of care.
- Due to the breach in that duty of care, an accident occurred.
- The accident that occurred caused injuries and damages to the other party.
It is important to outline the injuries that the accident caused. In many cases, if the accident occurred but the other party had no injuries, the claim may be dismissed. If you plan on filing a claim, along with your injuries you should include a list of damages that the accident caused to your life. Some examples of damages that you could include are:
- Medical expenses (past, and future)
- Physical therapy
- Doctor’s visits
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Damages to properties such as your car
Hiring an attorney to handle your case is preferable as they can advise you on what other damages to include as well as handle the difficult and stressful aspects of your claim.
If you have been involved in a distracted driving accident and as a result, have become injured and sustained additional damages, contact Dash Injury Law Firm. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will help you with your claim and make sure that it is as strong as possible. For more information on how we can help you or speak with one of our attorneys now, you can call us at 888-327-4529 or contact us directly on our website.
We look forward to seeing how we can assist you.