According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving was the cause of 3,450 deaths in 2016, accounting for nearly 10 percent (9.2%) of all traffic-related fatalities. The rate at which distracted driving leads to non-fatal accidents is even higher. Despite incremental decreases in certain years, the overall trend of distracted driving has been on an incline over the past decade. This is due, in large part, to the ever-increasing prevalence of cell phones and other personal electronic devices.
If someone makes the choice to drive while distracted—whether it’s reading or sending a text message, looking down to switch the radio station, eating or drinking behind the wheel, or turning around to reach for something in the backseat—he or she chooses to act negligently. When this negligence results in the injury or death of another person, the victim and/or his or her family are entitled to take legal action.
If you were injured or your loved one was killed by a distracted driver, contact Wagner Reese at (888) 204-8440 for a free consultation with one of our Indianapolis distracted driving lawyers.
Types of Distracted Driving
When thinking about distracted driving accidents, the usual sources or causes come to mind: texting, eating, talking to passengers, or looking down at the radio. However, distracted driving accidents can include other things, such as using a map or navigation system, steering wheel or dash distractions, applying makeup, rubber-necking (taking your eyes off the road to look at something—another car, an accident, an animal, etc.).
Distracted driving generally falls into three categories:
- Visual Distraction: A driver is visually distracted if he or she looks away from the road at any time. This includes things like reading or sending texts, checking GPS devices, looking back to make sure children’s seatbelts are buckled, looking down to change the radio, and more.
- Manual Distraction: When a driver removes one or both hands from the wheel, he or she is manually distracted. This includes holding a cell phone or other handheld device, eating or drinking while driving, reaching for something in a purse or wallet, etc.
- Cognitive Distraction: Cognitive distraction occurs anytime a driver is mentally distracted from the task of driving. This can include situations such as talking to another person in the car, listening to a podcast, thinking about work or family, or even daydreaming.
All types of distracted driving are incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, many people drive so frequently that they forget how what a serious responsibility it is, or they feel that they are skilled enough to do other things while driving. Sadly, the consequences of this can be deadly.
What to Do If You Are Involved in an Accident
If you are involved in a car accident and you believe the other driver was distracted or he/she admits to being distracted when the accident occurred, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries and other damages. First and foremost, you should make sure that you and everyone else at the scene are okay. If anyone requires immediate medical treatment, call an ambulance.
Next, contact the police and have them come out to the scene of the accident. File an official police report detailing what happened. If possible, obtain the other driver’s contact and insurance information, take pictures of the accident and/or your injuries, and document any witness statements. If you are unable to do any of these things on your own, a personal injury lawyer will be able to help you.
Make sure you notify your own insurance company of the accident but refrain from speaking with any adjusters from the other person’s insurance provider or answering any questions until you have spoken with an attorney. At Wagner Reese, we can help you navigate the legal process of bringing an auto accident claim. Our experienced distracted driving lawyers in Indianapolis can help you seek compensation for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, property damage, and more.
Contact our office online or call (888) 204-8440 to find out how our legal team can assist you with your claim. Se habla español.