It doesn’t seem fair that some people have to suffer because of the carelessness of others. Unfortunately, that happens every day when distracted drivers cause accidents that result in serious injury or even death. While everyone knows that distracted driving is wrong, many still do it — with disastrous results.
Common causes of distracted driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorizes distracted driving into three categories — distractions that take your eyes off the road, distractions that take your hands off the wheel, and distractions that take your mind off the task of driving.
It’s no wonder, then, that cellphone use is one of the most common causes of car accidents, since it takes the driver’s eyes, hands and mind away from driving safely. Other common distractions include eating food while driving or adjusting the radio.
For teenage drivers, the number of fellow teenage passengers in the car makes a huge difference. Statistics show that the probability of a crash increases dramatically with each subsequent passenger in a teenage driver’s car.
What are my options if a distracted driver hits me?
Proving that the other driver was distracted will depend on the evidence. The sooner you hire an experienced personal injury attorney, the sooner he or she can begin working on preserving evidence that may help prove the other driver was distracted. For instance, an attorney can locate and interview witnesses who may have observed the other driver looking away from the road or using a cell phone. An attorney can also make demands to the other driver that certain evidence be preserved, like their cellular phone records and data that may be stored within their vehicle’s technology systems like Apple CarPlay and other “Infotainment” systems. With the technology available today in most newer vehicles, a treasure trove of data may exist to prove a driver was distracted. However, vehicle data systems and cell phone companies do not retain that data forever. Thus, it is important that you hire an attorney soon after a crash so that the attorney can make sure that any and all evidence of the other driver being distracted is preserved and available for later use.
Most crashes occur because a driver is negligent and fails to follow the rules of the road. In some extreme distraction cases (i.e. a driver intentionally watching a movie while driving), the level of distraction may justify a claim for not only compensatory damages, but punitive damages — damages to punish the defendant. Thus, evidence of distraction is very important.
For more on these matters, please see our overview of important steps to take after a car accident in West Virginia. We also answer some important questions in our Q&A, “Who will pay my medical bills?“