Distracted Driver Accidents
Using a cell phone while driving might seem like an innocent activity, especially when a driver needs to check their GPS on the way to a new destination, or thinks a text message is absolutely urgent. However, what seems like a minor distraction that takes a driver’s eyes off the road for a few moments can cause a serious crash. In fact, while driving at 55 miles per hour, a car covers the length of a football field in the time it takes to send or read a text. Using a cell phone while behind the wheel increases the chance of an accident by 400%.
Unfortunately, distracted driving is very common in the United States. According to the Illinois State Police, distracted driving contributes to more than 1 million accidents in North America each year, at a cost of almost $40 billion.
Talking on a cell phone or texting is a major cause of distracted driver accidents. Other factors that contribute to distracted driving accidents include:
- Looking at a navigation system
- Eating or drinking
- Changing settings on the car stereo
- Looking for items in the car
- Grooming/putting on makeup
- Daydreaming, looking at scenery or otherwise not looking at the road
If a distracted driver causes an accident, the victims can file a personal injury claim to compensate for damages.
What Should I Do After a Distracted Driving Accident?
The aftermath of a car accident can be stressful and confusing. However, an accident victim should always seek medical attention as soon as possible to check for injuries and begin any necessary treatment. The drivers should exchange personal information, including their names, addresses, phone numbers, and names of insurance companies. If possible, the drivers should take photos of the accident scene and take information from any witnesses.
In the state of Illinois, it is required for drivers involved in an accident to notify the police. If anyone is injured and/or there is property damage over $1500, the DMV also requires the drivers to file a Motorist Crash Report with the Illinois Department of Transportation.
If the accident was caused by another driver, it is advisable to consult a personal injury lawyer. The initial consultation is free, and a lawyer can inform the accident victim about how to proceed with pursuing their claim.
How Can a Lawyer Help After a Distracted Driving Accident
A personal injury lawyer has expert knowledge of the claims process and the full spectrum of damages a distracted driver accident victim is entitled to, including
- Costs for medical treatment, such as ambulance transport, emergency room visits, follow-up doctor’s appointments, surgeries, prescription medications, physical therapy, and assistive devices
- Recovering from injuries and time for doctor and physical therapy appointments means lost income. A distracted driving accident could also lead to a permanent disability that prevents the victim from returning to their normal work duties.
- A vehicle accident caused by distracted driving will lead to property damage. The victim could be facing extensive repairs to their car, and if still able to drive after the accident, will need a rental car. Their car could even be totaled and need to be replaced.
- Experiencing a distracted driving accident can cause a range of mental and emotional effects, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), mental anguish, depression and fear of driving. Suffering injuries causes physical pain that interferes with enjoyment of life. These experiences are defined as pain and suffering or non-economic damages.
A personal injury lawyer will meticulously document your claim based on medical and police records, and build a case for the maximum fair settlement under the law.
A lawyer has the expertise to negotiate with insurance companies. Insurance companies are large corporations with their own legal teams. Attempting to negotiate a claim as an individual without a legal background puts an accident victim at a disadvantage. They may not be aware of all of the damages they are legally entitled to, and may accept a lower offer simply to get the process over with.
If you have been involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, property damage and pain and suffering. Contact the experienced team at Mueller, Lawson & Frobish for a consultation.