Assistance from Our San Jose Car Accident Lawyer
Distracted driving is no new development and has likely existed since motorized vehicles were first invented. Today, however, distracted driving has taken on a new and highly dangerous form, not to mention one that has become incredibly prevalent. In fact, driver distraction accounts for so many car accidents, injuries, and fatalities across the United States that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has gone as far as referring to distracted driving as a national epidemic. According to the NHTSA, more than 3,000 people were killed and more than 387,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2011 alone.
Laws in Place to Leverage Drivers
Such concerning statistics have sparked nationwide efforts to reduce the rates of distracted drivers on U.S. roads and highways. Many states and local jurisdictions have enacted specific laws that touch upon common forms of driver distraction.
In California, the following laws have been established to confront the dangers of distracted driving:
- Bans on handheld devices for all drivers
- Bans on texting for all drivers
- Bans on cell phone use, including handheld and hands-free devices, for bus drivers and novice drivers
As most of these laws are primary laws (with the exception of the ban on cell phone use for novice drivers), these acts are considered explicit violations of state laws. As such, law enforcement officers can ticket drivers for the offense without any other traffic violation taking place. With these laws in place and with such widespread efforts to increase awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, any reasonable person should know that driving while distracted is a highly negligent act.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can take many different forms, all of which are inherently dangerous. Distracted driving is any act or behavior that takes a driver's attention away from the primary task of driving.
Common examples include:
- Using a cell phone or handheld device
- Text messaging
- Eating or drinking
- Conversing with passengers
- Adjusting the radio, CD player, MP3 player, and other console controls
- Watching videos or electronic navigation systems
- Personal grooming
Among these forms of driver distraction, few are as alarming, common, and dangerous as text messaging. This is because texting commands the visual, cognitive, and manual focus of a driver simultaneously, thereby reducing their ability to notice or react to potential roadway dangers in a timely manner. According to the NHTSA, texting behind the wheel also creates an elevated crash risk – approximately 23 times worse than driving without distraction.
Injuries from Distracted Driving
Distracted driving accidents can lead to severe injuries and even fatalities. Victims often suffer from:
Broken Bones: The force of a distracted driving accident can result in fractures and breaks in various parts of the body, such as arms, legs, ribs, or pelvis.
Traumatic Brain Injuries: When the head experiences a significant impact during a crash, it can lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs can range from concussions to more severe forms that cause long-term cognitive impairment.
Spinal Cord Injuries: The sudden jolt or impact of a distracted driving accident can damage the spinal cord, resulting in partial or complete paralysis and lifelong disabilities.
Back and Neck Injuries: The force exerted on the back and neck during an accident can cause sprains, strains, herniated discs, or even spinal fractures.
Internal Injuries: The impact of a collision can cause internal injuries, such as organ damage, internal bleeding, or punctured organs, which may require immediate medical attention.
Cuts and Lacerations: Broken glass, loose objects, or impact with vehicle components can cause cuts and deep lacerations, potentially leading to scarring or disfigurement.
Psychological Trauma: Being involved in a serious accident can result in psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or emotional distress.
These injuries can have long-term physical, emotional, and financial impacts on the victims and their families.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Distracted Driving Crashes?
Various parties can be held liable for distracted driving crashes. this means several parties must be considered when determining liability, including:
Distracted Drivers: The individuals who were engaged in distracting activities while operating the vehicle can be held accountable for their negligence.
Employers: If the distracted driver was performing work-related tasks or driving a company-owned vehicle at the time of the accident, their employer may also share liability for the damages caused.
Manufacturers: In some cases, a malfunctioning in-car entertainment or navigation system may have contributed to the distraction, making the manufacturer potentially liable.
Parents: When a minor is involved in a distracted driving accident, their parents or legal guardians may be held responsible if they allowed the minor to engage in distracting activities while driving.
Determining liability requires a thorough investigation and analysis of the circumstances surrounding the accident. Consultation with a skilled distracted driving attorney can help identify the responsible parties and build a strong case for obtaining compensation for your injuries and losses.
Fair Compensation for Injured Victims
Victims who have been injured in car accidents caused by a distracted driver have every right to hold the at-fault motorist liable for the damages they suffered, even if the driver was an Uber or Lyft driver. By working with an experienced San Jose personal injury lawyer, victims can receive the support and representation needed to craft an effective personal injury claim.
By presenting clear and convincing evidence that a driver was distracted at the time of an accident, our San Jose car accident lawyer can work toward recovering full and fair compensation that covers victims' physical, emotional, and / or financial damages. You can learn more about negligence and liability in distracted driving accidents on our blog.
Proven San Jose Injury Attorney on Your Side
Attorney Caroline Nasseri has been fighting on behalf of injured victims and their loved ones for more than two and a half decades. Throughout the years that she has been in practice, she has personally guided countless car accident victims through the personal injury claim process and toward the compensation they deserve.
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