With the current upsurge of interactive technology in modern vehicles, there is an increased likelihood of a driver getting distracted. Driver distractions refer to any event that makes the driver take his/her eyes off the road. In an instance, a distracted driver can cause a significant accident that leads to fatal injuries and even death. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Orange County has an annual average of 32,600 traffic accidents, and 845 involved pedestrians. We advise you to seek compensation since these accidents can lead to huge costs and damages. It is also necessary to have a competent and experienced attorney in case you or your loved one has been involved in an accident to help you throughout the process of seeking compensation. Get in touch with us at the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney for more information on how we can help you seek compensation.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is anything that makes a driver concentrate on something else rather than the road. While there are many distractors, distracted driving is categorized into three primary classes, including manual, visual, and cognitive. Whereas manual distracted driving entails the physical removal of a driver’s hands from the steering wheel, visual distraction occurs when a driver takes his/her eyes off the road. On the other hand, cognitive distracted driving entails placing one’s attention elsewhere instead of the road. Important to note is that many activities can be directly placed into one of these three classes. Some of these include texting, phone calls, eating or drinking, make-up, and adjusting the radio, among others. In other words, many activities can deter a driver’s attention on the road, and it is during these moments that accidents are likely to occur. It is during such circumstances that you should have a reliable
According to the statistics from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), at least 66 individuals were killed and over 6500 injured in 2017 because of distracted driving accidents. The department confirmed that cell-phones are still significant distractions for many drivers. A 2018 observational study by California’s Office of Traffic and Safety (OTS) on driver phone usage demonstrated that around 4.5% of drivers still use their mobile phones while driving. This shows about a 27% increase from 2016. In 2017, California passed a law that bans drivers from having a phone at their hands for any reason while driving. Drivers can only engage their phones in a hands-free manner. In such cases, the phones need to be mounted on the dashboard, Windshield, and can only be touched once with the swap of a finger to either activate or deactivate a task. Any first-time offenders must pay a $162 fine.
Orange County is a tourist destination region considering its temperate weather and sandy beaches among other renowned attraction sites. Just like other tourism hotbeds, there is a high likelihood of car accidents that emanates from distracted driving. For this reason, it is pertinent to have an experienced lawyer who has experience who can help you seek the maximum compensation for your claim. Such accidents occur when you least expect and at any place. They can happen whether you are driving on a major highway such as Interstate Highway 5, Highway 605, and Highway 405, or can strike when relaxing in Laguna. In other words, the likelihood of an accident happening in Orange County because of distracted driving is very high. Orange County accidents are common, considering that the region’s highways are among the most congested in the world. The likelihood of distracted driving accidents in the county is also escalated by the influx of visitors from other areas. For instance, millions of people visit Disneyland in Anaheim on an annual basis, and this estimate is increased by other people that visit other attractions in the region.
Texting and Driving
While many states have passed legislation that bans texting and driving, many people still engage in this dangerous activity. Texting is the most distracting engagement as it requires manual, visual, as well as cognitive functions. Research demonstrates that in the U.S, over 600,000 people use their phones while driving at any time of the day. This removes their focus on the road and places other people at risk. The phenomenon of texting and driving has become more dangerous over the past few decades than drinking and driving. A person is 23 times more likely to cause an accident because of texting and driving. It is advisable to be equipped with a personal injury attorney who will help you get the best compensation in case you get involved in such an accident.
Other Common Forms of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving takes different forms, including eating or drinking and reading GPS directions on the phone. On average, a person uses at least five seconds every moment he or she looks at the phone while driving. While these habits look like typical daily actions that lack significant consequences, the reality is that they can cause a fatal accident that can harm a third party, such as a pedestrian.
Things to Avoid if Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident
In case you experience an accident caused by a distracted driver, it is vital to notify the police so that they can assess the damages. Also, visit a doctor to address any injuries experienced. Many people are familiar with some of the initial steps to follow after an accident. It is equally significant to know what to avoid, as we will discuss below.
Delaying Medical Treatment
Even if you think that you have not suffered any severe injuries, it is always essential to visit a doctor as soon as possible to receive a medical evaluation. The primary reason is that some injuries might not depict any symptoms immediately. For instance, internal injuries might take longer to develop symptoms. If you want to seek compensation after noticing the symptoms, you might not be able to file a lawsuit if it exceeds the statute of limitations.
Ignoring Doctor’s Directive
Follow the doctor’s advice to the latter and do not deviate from the medical treatment plan. However, if you think that the injuries are not improving or are getting worse, it is appropriate to seek a second opinion from a qualified physician.
Disclosing the Accident’s Details on Social Media
It is important to note that any information you post on social networks has the potential to jeopardize your claim. Therefore, refrain from posting any information until the case is resolved.
Speaking to Insurance Agents
After being involved in an accident because of a distracted driver, there is a high likelihood that you will start receiving a ‘friendly’ call from insurance agents linked to the driver at-fault. It is always essential to avoid speaking to them as they will attempt to record any conflicting statements that might jeopardize your claim. Instead, refer them to your personal injury attorney for any engagements.
At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we interact closely with our clients to ensure that they understand the habits and practices that will benefit or jeopardize their opportunity of getting the maximum compensation for the damages. Contact us and learn more about how we can assist!
Benefits of Working with a Personal Injury Attorney
After a distracted driving accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide significant assistance in navigating the claims process. Among the primary benefits is that you will have a companion with an extensive understanding of the legal framework advocating for you. At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, the proficient team will benefit you in the following ways:
Engage with Insurance Companies
As mentioned, engaging with insurance agents can be risky because they often try to get your statement, hoping that it will damage your claim. As your personal injury attorney, we will directly communicate with such insurance agents and protect you against any trickery that might harm your maximum compensation.
Evaluate your Damages
Among the most critical elements in the claims process is the evaluation of all your economic as well as non-economic benefits. This is a crucial move because it helps in summing the total value of your claim. At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we will assist you in working through the common financial damages, including medical bills, fixing your vehicle, as well as the cost of any necessary medical prescriptions. It will also be on us to list and explain all your non-economic damages, which are usually difficult to establish. Some of these include pain and suffering, physical mutilation, as well as the loss of consortium.
Engage and Maintain Expert Witnesses to Support your Claim
In some cases, a claim can be backed by a testimony from a medical expert. This is particularly essential when evaluating future damages. At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we will assist in engaging and hiring any experts that will support your claim and get the best possible compensation.
Regular update on the Process
One of the most important things during this period is your recovery from the injuries and getting your life back. However, one needs a reliable personal injury attorney to keep you posted about the progress of the claim. In this case, our team will manage all your details, follow keenly, and file the necessary paperwork on time. In other words, you can relax knowing that your claim is in good hands when working with Orange County Personal Injury Attorney.
Proving Fault of Distracted Driving in California
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you can claim the damages with the help of an attorney. Your claim must be valid by establishing the negligence of the liable party. According to California law, each driver should exercise reasonable care while driving. Therefore, a driver who violates traffic safety laws might have breached their duty of reasonable care. For a claim to be valid, it needs to demonstrate the following elements of negligence:
a. The driver at fault had an obligation to operate his vehicle in a safe manner
b. The driver at fault failed to adhere to this duty
c. The actions of the driver at fault caused the accident
d. The accident was directly associated with sustained injuries or monetary loss
Important to note is that the process of proving that the other driver was negligent is a complex process than how many victims perceive. However, our team at Orange County Personal Injury Attorney leverages their legal experience to assess the negligent actions of the at-fault drivers. It might be difficult to distinguish between a regular accident and a distracted driving accident. However, if a driver violates statute or ordinance, such as texting while driving, it translates to negligence as they were breaking the law at the time of the accident.
As mentioned, proving distracted driving can be difficult. While phone records can provide part of the narrative, they do not assist in providing information if the distraction was changing music or doing make-up while driving. Therefore, you need personal injury lawyers to walk you through the claim process.
Pure Comparative Negligence System
Important to note is that California applies the comparative negligence system to assess liability when the liability of more than one individual is linked to a personal injury claim. According to this system, each party that is proven to be at fault in an accident is liable for his or her percentage of fault. The system enables the accident victims at least to cover at least a percentage of the damages they sustained because of the accident. In some accidents, various individuals might be found to be at fault.
California law permits more than one person to be held financially responsible for damages that stem from such an accident. Each at-fault party is held economically and non-economically responsible, depending on the degree of their fault. Even when the victim is at fault, he or she cannot be prevented from accessing compensation from the other individuals that are at fault for the accident.
According to the ‘pure’ perspective of this statute, any accident victim of distracted driving has the potential to recover damages despite his or her own degree of fault. For instance, if the victim was 85% responsible for the accident, he or she can file a claim to recover the remaining 15% of the total damages. Such a system applies in circumstances in which judges or juries determine the liability of the parties. We will conduct thorough investigations, engage and retain witnesses, as well as engage expert testimony to ensure you get the maximum compensation.
Role of Police
After an accident, it is always advisable to remain at the scene until the police arrive. The move is pertinent, especially if you know the other driver was responsible for the accident. In such a case, the police interview the involved parties to identify the most accurate account of the incident. The officers then compile the narrative in their official report, and this includes their professional perspectives of who was at fault in the accident. However, it is important to note that the police statement of who is at fault does not necessarily have determinative legal responsibility. While the police statement does not mandate who was at fault, it is critical to convince insurance companies as well as courts in determining who was at fault.
If an individual is involved in a car accident that hurts another person or vehicle, the police can assess the causing factor in the accident. If it was a cell-phone, the law enforcement officers have the authority to acquire it and retrieve the records to assess whether the driver was texting or speaking on the phone at the time of the accident. The police can also assess the tickets that this driver had before the occurrence of this accident as well as review the traffic camera footage.
The attorney uses some of the police reports to recreate how the accident occurred. He or she evaluates the medical reports and looks at the driving history of the driver – if multiple drivers were involved. Also, the lawyer will review the accident footage, engage with witnesses, and evaluate evidence gathered regarding possible distracted driving. It is after conducting the investigations that the personal injury attorney determines if you are entitled to file a lawsuit and seek both economic and non-economic damages. It is important to understand that even if there is no exact statute or ordinance against what the driver was engaged in at the time of the accident, any evidence of distracted driving is a strong premise to prove negligence. Therefore, having a personal injury attorney is critical because they help you in getting the procedures down.
The first step in filing a distracted driving personal injury lawsuit is to meet with an attorney to determine the possibilities. After assessing the present case reports, the attorney files a lawsuit in an appropriate court, which ushers in fact-finding and discovery. The following step involves the resolution before trial, where the judge decides whether there is a case or not. After the judge approves that there is a case, the next step is the settlement phase. The judge or the jury then determines if there exists sufficient evidence to establish negligence. If there is adequate evidence, then the victim benefits from the compensation.
Duties of a Driver
California law requires drivers to be careful and avoid harming any individual they encounter on the road. Drivers have a responsibility to maintain a prudent speed whenever they are driving. A driver can be considered negligent if he or she is driving at unreasonable speeds in traffic lights and poor weather conditions and low visibility. Drivers also have a duty to maintain vigilance and be alert to identify vehicles, pedestrians, and road signs. A driver’s failure to maintain a proper lookout might amount to negligence. For example, a driver might cause an accident by failing to spot a school crossing, and this would amount to negligence. Further, drivers have a duty to keep their vehicle vehicles under control. One such way is the capacity to break instantly. In such a case, negligence can be identified if a vehicle loses control for no apparent cause. Ultimately, drivers have a duty to maintain their vehicles in good working condition. Components such as lights and brakes should be working appropriately.
More Compensation Sources
While any individual can file a claim for auto insurance, not everyone can track other sources of economic compensation to cover wrongful death or injuries. In this case, you need a smart and diligent personal injury attorney. We will pursue an asset assessment on the at-fault driver before the claim is settled. Not everyone who uses mobile phones while driving is a teenager. In fact, studies note that among adult motorists, the higher the income, the higher the likelihood the person will use his or her phone while driving.
It is appropriate to contact a personal injury attorney even if the at-fault-driver is a teenager or a college student. The reason is that they might be covered under another insurance policy at their primary residence. Also, teen drivers of separated or divorced parents with shared custody are considered as residents of both households. Therefore, the attorney can seek liability coverage from the policies of both parents. The at-fault driver might have an ‘umbrella’ policy, which is structured to cover for large liability claims that surpass the individual’s auto policy limits. Finding a good attorney is also essential because they will search for underinsured coverage under your auto insurance policies.
Find an Orange County Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you have been involved in a car accident, you need a reliable attorney by your side while seeking compensation. An experienced attorney is professionally capable of assessing your economic and non-economic damages so that you are likely to receive maximum compensation. At the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we will walk with you every step of the process of seeking compensation. Call us at 904-494-8242 to get started.