Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents in the United States. More than 3,100 victims died because of distracted driving in 2014, according to the governmental distracted driving website. An even higher number of people (431,000 according to distraction.gov) struggled with injuries, both physical and psychological, that devastate family and friends. Five seconds is enough time to get into a car accident if a person takes his or her eyes off the road. According to David Hosanky from CQ Researcher, many of the people who took their eyes off the road for at least 4.6 seconds were going 55 miles per hour. This is very similar to driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
An Explanation of Distracted Driving
Text messaging while driving is one of the most common distracted driving examples. However, a number of other situations qualify as distracted driving. Distracted vehicle operation occurs any time a person takes his or her eyes off the road. Activities like applying makeup, shaving, watching DVDs and talking to a passenger are valid examples of distracted driving. Any of those distractions can be deadly. They can easily take the driver’s attention off the road and place and endanger others, especially at high freeway speeds.
Laws Regarding Distracted Driving
Many states have passed laws that pertain to distracted driving. State governments couldn’t continue without new laws in their jurisdictions knowing that so many people were being injured or killed because of distraction. Fourteen states put a ban on talking on handheld devices while driving, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Thirty-eight states have bans on mobile phone usage for newer and younger drivers. Almost all states in the U.S. ban the act of text messaging and driving. Violations can slap a heavy fine and a license restriction on any driver who insists on texting while behind the wheel.
Injuries That Occur Because of Distracted Driving
It’s common for victims who survive distracted driving accidents to face a long recovery from the usual collision-related injuries. Some of the most common are broken backs, severe burns, whiplash (trauma to the neck bones and muscles), traumatic brain injury, and chest, arm or leg fractures. These injuries cause the victims’ lives to change dramatically. Many times texting drivers or others involved in an accident face long stays in a hospital and then in rehab where they cannot work or participate in normal daily activities for significant amounts of time. There are also psychological wounds as well. Often the offending driver is suddenly burdened with guilt or shame from their mistake. The distracted driver’s victims, families, and friends are left with anger along with the pain of loss from wrongful death or enormous changes to their hopes and dreams.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
A car accident attorney can help distracted driving victims get back on their feet after a devastating injury. They can assist claimants from the minute they meet them to final settlements or trial results. The attorney can first give a victim an ear, a trusted ally that will listen to their story. Next, the attorney can assess the case and let the victim know the chances that he or she will win any kind of legal proceedings that might need to be brought forward. Finally, the attorney can start working on the case, first with an attempt to settle out of court. Some offenders settle out of court because they know they will lose the case. Other offenders take the risk of trying the issues in court. In court, a prosecuting attorney can try to get a judge to rule for compensatory and punitive damages, while the defense attorney will point out reasons against such a verdict. Compensatory damages compensate for the medical bills and such. Punitive damages deter the offender from repeating the offense.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
A distracted driving victim can contact a car accident attorney at Tate Law today and ask for assistance. A free consultation is a normal part of what we do on behalf of claimants who have experienced a crash involving someone who was texting or using a handheld device while operating their vehicle. Call the Tate Law Group today if you think you may benefit from legal representation concerning your case.