Distracted Driving Accident Victim
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. When drivers are not paying attention to the road, the other vehicles around them, or pedestrians, it dramatically increases the risk of accidents and even deaths. Drivers can become distracted for a number of different reasons; of course, the most common types of distractions involve the cell phone – whether it be texting, talking on the phone, sending emails, or any other distracting actions.
Other common causes of distracted driving accidents include adjusting the radio volume, looking for something in a purse, having conversations with other drivers, or simply thinking about something else. If you or someone you love has been the victim in an automobile accident that involved distracted driving, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Ted Machi & Associates can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Types of Distractions on the Road
There are three different types of driving distractions that can prevent drivers from paying proper attention while behind the wheel: visual, cognitive, and manual distractions.
1. Visual Distractions
Visual distractions occur when something causes the driver to direct his or her eyes off the road and onto something else, such as a screen or object. Even if a visual distraction takes the driver’s attention for only a few seconds, it can lead to a serious accident.
2. Cognitive Distractions
Cognitive distractions are distractions that cause the driver to focus mentally on something other than driving. For example, the driver may be thinking about a personal problem or trying to compile a shopping list. This type of distraction makes it harder for the driver to react quickly and/or exercise good judgment on the road.
3. Manual Distractions
Manual distractions are distractions that require the driver to remove his or her hands from the wheel while driving. These activities may require one or both hands. Examples include eating or reaching for a fallen object.
#1 Most Common Cause of Distracted Driving Accidents
The most common cause of distracted driving accidents is the cell phone. Using a cell phone while driving is particularly dangerous because it combines all three types of driving distractions. Drivers using cell phones often cause serious injuries and deaths while texting and driving. Often referred to as “DWT” (driving while texting) or “TWD” (texting while driving), these actions can be as dangerous as drunk driving, and state legislators across the country are taking proactive steps to prevent cell phone use while driving, including Texas.
Risks of Distracted Driving & Texting While Driving
Studies have shown that distractions make automobile crashes much more likely. This is true of drivers of all kinds of vehicles.
Risk of Crash for Drivers of Semi Trucks
- Dialing cell phone – The risk of an accident is 5.9 times as high as driving without distractions.
- Talking on the cell phone – The risk of an accident is 1.0 times as high as driving without distractions.
- Using/reaching for electronic device – The risk of an accident is 6.7 times as high as driving without distractions.
- Text messaging – The risk of an accident is 23.2 times as high as driving without distractions.
Risk of Crash for Automobile Drivers
- Dialing cell phone – The risk of an accident is 2.8 times as high as driving without distractions
- Talking on the cell phone – The risk of an accident is 1.3 times as high as driving without distractions.
- Reaching for an object (such as an electronic device) – The risk of an accident is 1.4 times as high as driving without distractions.
Texas Cell Phone Use Laws
Because of the risks associated with distracted driving, the state of Texas has passed specific laws that limit the use of cell phones by motorists. These laws include the following:
- No motorist in Texas may use a cell phone to read or send electronic communications while driving. This means that drivers cannot write or read emails or texts while they are behind the wheel.
- Drivers with only a learner’s permit may not use handheld cell phones at all during their first six months of driving.
- School bus drivers may not use cell phones at all while children are on the bus.
- No driver may use a handheld cell phone while driving in a school zone.
In some parts of Texas, local governments have passed even stricter regulations regarding the use of cell phones. It’s important for drivers to know the rules that apply in the areas where they drive most frequently.
What to Do After a Distracted Driving Crash
Distracted driving crashes can result in severe injuries, expensive property damage, and even death. The costs are high, and distracted drivers are often unwilling to admit they are at fault for the crash. For this reason, it is important to take steps to protect yourself if you are a victim in one of these accidents.
Immediately following a crash, make sure that all injured parties seek medical attention. It is also essential to call the police and file a report. Be sure to collect contact information from all involved drivers and any witnesses on the scene. You should also keep careful records of all of your medical treatment and any associated expenses, and you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
Compensation for Personal Injury Victims
If you are injured because of another driver’s distracted driving, you may be entitled to compensation. Personal injury damages from texting while driving injuries or injuries related to another type of distracted driving may include compensation for medical expenses, mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of physical capacity, loss of wage-earning capacity, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In some distracted driving cases, the court may also award punitive damages, which are additional damages designed to punish the party at fault for his or her extreme negligence. In order to obtain these damages, you must first prove that the driver was at fault. Depending on the circumstances, this may involve collecting evidence and/or soliciting testimony from witnesses.
Distracted Driving Injury Law Firm
After a distracted driving wreck, you need to act quickly to ensure that you get the compensation you need and deserve. In most cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will push hard for a quick, out-of-court settlement in order to reduce the amount of money they must pay.
However, these settlement offers are often far too low. If you’re dealing with significant expenses related to the crash, it may be tempting to accept this initial settlement offer. However, if you want to get the maximum amount of damages available, you need to consult an attorney before doing so.
At Machi & Associates, we have significant experience representing clients in distracted driving cases. We know how dramatic the effects of these accidents can be, and we are here to help you fight for justice. Our firm is prepared to represent you and your case in any situation involving distracted driving. Contact Machi & Associates, P.C. today to learn more about our services or to schedule a free consultation.