These days there are countless things that distract us, especially as smartphone usage becomes more and more ubiquitous in the United States. However, being distracted on the road is dangerous and a common contributing factor to car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 37,000 people were killed in auto accidents in 2017. Among these fatalities, 3,166 were caused by distracted driving. There’s a reason why Arizona decided to make texting while driving illegal in 2019. If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident you believe to be caused by distracted driving, you may be able to recover financial compensation. Distracted driving is considered negligence, which means you may have a valid personal injury claim. Our Mesa distracted driving accident attorneys can investigate your accident when you call Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC.
What Does Distracted Driving Look Like?
Though today we most often associate distracted driving with using cell phones to text or take calls, there are many different types of distracted driving that can contribute to accidents. Distracted driving is any driving that contributes to a driver’s visual, cognitive, or manual impairment.
When a driver is visually distracted, their eyes are focused on anything besides the road. Looking at your phone, rubbernecking at an accident scene, and even reading a passing billboard are all examples of visual distractions. Glancing away from the road for just a few seconds is enough to delay your reaction time to a hazard significantly.
Even when your eyes are on the road, you can still be distracted. Talking on the phone while driving can take your mind off the road, as well as conversing with passengers in your car. Losing your focus can prevent you from noticing important traffic signs or signals.
Removing your hands from the wheel for any reason can be considered a manual distraction, as it can delay your reaction time and cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Examples of manual distractions include fiddling with your radio or reaching for a drink in your cupholder.
Drivers practice distracted behavior when they:
- Text or use a cell phone
- Eat or drink
- Read, including reading maps
- Use navigation systems
- Talk to other passengers
- Watch videos
- Adjust the radio or other listening device
- Rubberneck, like looking at an accident scene
Even if someone is checking their phone for directions while driving, it is still considered negligent because it involves taking one’s eyes off the road and is considered a visual distraction. Using hands-free devices, while legal, can still contribute to accidents if a person’s attention is being occupied by something other than driving.
The Consequences of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can contribute to different types of accidents, all of which can result in a variety of injuries. Injuries can be as minor as whiplash, sprains and fractures, and cuts, and as serious as broken bones, loss of limbs, burns, spinal cord injuries, and brain damage.
One common accident that occurs when a driver is distracted is a rear-end accident. This occurs when the front end of one vehicle collides into the back end of another, and usually happens to cars driving in the same lane. If a driver is distracted, they may not be able to notice when the car in front of them slows down at a red light or brakes suddenly.
Distracted driving also contributes to intersection accidents, which can be especially dangerous if they involve speeding. Drivers who are on their phones or talking to their passengers may not notice a red light and drive straight through, colliding with other cars.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
You may be feeling frustrated after your accident with a distracted driver. Distracted drivers are reckless not only with their lives but also with yours, and you don’t deserve to be punished because of their negligence. Fortunately, our attorneys know how to gather the evidence our clients need to achieve justice.
When a distracted driver has injured you, you are entitled by law to be reimbursed for the following types of damages:
- Economic damages, which includes property damage to your vehicle, medical costs like surgeries and hospital stays, and lost income, as well as costs related to rehabilitative care
- Non-economic damages, which include disfigurement, permanent disability, loss of enjoyment of life, and more
You can trust our experienced attorneys to pursue these damages on your behalf while you concentrate on healing. We have held all kinds of drivers responsible for negligence, including those who were distracted at the time of the accident.
"Jess was amazing. He instantly put my mind at ease on the handling of my case. If you want great results and to deal with great people, Jess Gulbrandsen is who you need to see after a car accident."Todd, Client
"I got into a real bad roll-over, and they did everything to their ability to get me what was right. I just want to give a huge thanks to Chris and Ria for all the wonderful help and time that they put into my case, as it was a long one."Matt, Client
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