It is commonly agreed that distracted driving – particularly distractions caused by the proliferation of smart phones – have caused a significant increase in car accident injuries and fatalities over the last few years. But, what is still being worked out in the court system, particularly in the civil justice system, are the many liability issues surround distracted driving. In order to understand these liability issues, it is important to get a good grasp of what constitutes distracted driving and the laws that exist to combat this serious problem.
What is Distracted Driving?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), any activity that takes a driver’s hands off the wheel, eyes off the road or attention away from the act of driving constitutes a distraction. NHTSA estimates that distracted driving claimed about 3,450 lives in 2016 alone and injured 391,000 in 2015.
During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads, according to NHTSA. The agency also states that teenagers are the largest age group reported to have been distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
Distracted driving may include a range of activities from texting, talking on a cell phone, using a handheld cell phone, eating, drinking, looking at a GPS device, fiddling with the radio or temperature controls, talking to a passenger, etc. New York distracted driving laws prohibit talking on a handheld mobile cellphone; composing, sending, reading accessing browsing or retrieving electronic data such as email, text messages or web pages; viewing, taking or transmitting images; and playing games.
Who Can Be Held Liable
Recent civil personal injury cases involving distracted driving have raised issues particularly when it comes to the use of smart phones. When you are seeking compensation for injuries and losses suffered in a distracted driving accident, you may be able to hold several parties liable including:
• Drivers: A distracted driver who causes or contributes to a collision can be held liable for the damages. In addition, if the driver was on the job at the time of the incident, his or her employer can also be held responsible.
• Other parties: There have been cases where the person who caused the accident was taking a call or answering a text message initiated by someone else. In such cases, some courts have found these other parties liable for injuries caused.
• Tech companies: Some recent class action lawsuits have named tech companies such as Apple for failing to use existing technology to have their phones automatically turn off when vehicles are in motion. There may be cases where these tech companies may be held liable for a distracted driving crash as well.
There is no question that distracted driving is at the center of numerous auto accident cases. Victims seeking damages for injuries and losses need an experienced New York car accident lawyer who will be able to explore all avenues and help them secure maximum compensation. Your injury lawyer will also help gather pieces of evidence that are crucial in a distracted driving case such as police reports, cell phone records and eyewitness testimony.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver, you may be able to obtain compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Families that have lost loved ones in a car accident may also seek damages by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
The experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. For over 46 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses.
Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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