As cell phones continue to become such an integral part of life, distracted driving is an increasingly problematic issue. Those who are giving attention to their phones or other distractions are a threat to everyone on the road.
Distracted Driving Defined
If someone is driving, any activity that interferes with their ability to focus on driving is a distraction. Examples of driving distractions include:
- Texting while driving
- Using a GPS
- Watching videos
- Adjusting the radio
- Eating or drinking
- Applying makeup
- Talking to passengers
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration says that in 2019, 3,142 people were killed by distracted drivers.
What to Do If You Are in an Accident
Although you can make sure that your attention is given to your driving, you cannot control the actions of others. The initial steps to take if you’ve been in an accident are the same, regardless of the cause.
Check for Injuries
First, check yourself to make sure you’re okay. Then check with your passengers to make sure they’re not harmed. Whether injuries are major or not, everyone’s well-being is most important.
Call for Help
Call 911 to report the accident and any injuries. Even if no one is hurt, you may need a copy of an accident report taken by a police officer in the future.
Exchange Information with Other Drivers
Gather contact and insurance information from any other drivers involved in the crash. If you notice any bystanders that might have been witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact info as well.
If you’re able, take photos of any injuries, damage, and the crash scene. Take note of the road and weather conditions as well as the time of day.
Contact an Attorney
Regardless of who was at fault or who was injured, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney. This can be especially helpful to you if it is determined that the other driver was driving while distracted.
Proving Distracted Driving
If you suspect that you’ve been the victim of an accident that is the result of distracted driving, any claim to that effect will rest on evidence or proof. There are some ways that you can prove distracted driving and justify your claim.
The Driver Admits It
At times, a flustered driver may admit to having been distracted while driving. If that happens, a case could be decided in your favor. Likewise, it’s important never to admit that you were distracted while driving without speaking to a lawyer.
The Police Report Substantiates It
If you suspect distracted driving was the cause of your accident, let the officers know. This can be added to the report and can substantiate your claim. For example, if you noticed someone was talking to a passenger and not watching the road, tell the officer.
Witnesses Can Verify the Distraction
When the police officers are writing their report, they will speak to any witnesses. Bystanders or other drivers may have noticed the distraction and can speak to the validity of your concern.
Phone Records Support the Claim
Cell phone records are admissible as evidence in court. If a driver was using their phone while driving, their phone records will show that.
Compensation for a Distracted Driving Suit
Once distracted driving has been proven, you can potentially recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Your damages might cover medical expenses, property damage, lost income, any out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering you have as a result of the accident.
Sometimes these losses can be recovered simply by filing an insurance claim, but most insurance companies will offer a low amount in the hopes of settling a claim fast. It’s to your advantage to talk with a personal injury attorney from Hewitt & Salvatore before agreeing to any settlement. Call today.