Distracted driving happens when someone tries to do something other than driving when they are behind the wheel. It can be anything from switching playlists on their smartphone to looking at a passenger in their car. When another driver’s distraction causes a wreck that leaves you injured, you can hold them responsible.
Common Distracted Driving Behaviors
There are three primary types of distracted driving:
- Manual. This happens when a driver places one or both hands somewhere else besides the steering wheel while their car is moving. This can happen when someone is eating and driving.
- Cognitive. This is the type of distracted driving where the driver lets their mind wander and stops paying attention, even if they may technically have their eyes on the road. This can happen if someone is under emotional stress.
- Visual. This type of distracted driving occurs when a driver takes their eyes off the road in front of them. This often happens when the driver is texting while driving.
Distracted driving happens any time the driver isn’t focused on the singular task of driving.
Facts About Distracted Driving
If you were involved in a wreck that was not your fault, it is likely that distracted driving was at least a contributing factor, if not the main cause of the wreck. According to government data, distracted driving is a common occurrence. Consider these facts:
- Distracted driving caused at least 3,142 deaths in 2019, according to NHTSA.
- Over 400,000 people are injured because of distracted driving every single year.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in five people who die because of distracted driving weren’t even in a car. These were wrecks where distracted drivers hit pedestrians, bikers, or others.
- Twenty-five percent of drivers who had a fatal car wreck because of distracted driving were in their twenties.
- Teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 were more likely than adults to drive while distracted.
- Nine percent of the teens who die in car wrecks lost their lives because of a distracted driver.
- Texting and emailing while operating a car happened more often in older teens than younger teens, which indicates that it could be a bad habit that forms over time.
West Virginia Cell Phone Laws Protect Drivers
In West Virginia, it is illegal to use a hand-held device while operating a vehicle. If the driver who caused your wreck was breaking one of the following West Virginia laws, they can be held accountable for the losses you have suffered:
- Texting while driving, regardless of age. Teens and senior citizens alike are not allowed to text while they are driving.
- Speaking on a cell phone while driving. It just takes one second for a dangerous situation to occur that requires both hands to be immediately on the wheel. Drivers can speak on a cell phone while using a headset; however, it might be possible to prove cognitive distraction even if the driver did not technically break the law.
It might not be easy to prove that the driver who caused your wreck was illegally using a cellphone, but our team will work hard to hold them accountable.
Be Prepared to Prove That the Driver Was Distracted
If you are ever in a car wreck that you suspect was caused by a distracted driver, you need to immediately take note of everything you notice about the situation. If possible, consider taking these steps to record observations and gather evidence in a potential distracted driving case:
- Take photos in the aftermath of a wreck. Once you are sure that you and others are safe, take photos with your phone to document the wreck as soon as possible, including shots of the condition and position of both vehicles.
- Write down notes as soon as possible. What exactly did you see the other driver doing before, during, and immediately after the wreck? Write as detailed an account as possible as soon as you have a moment.
- Locate surveillance cameras. Look to see if there were red-light cameras or other surveillance cameras that may have captured the situation.
- Identify witnesses. Look to any passersby or onlookers to see if anyone may have recorded the wreck or any moments surrounding it. Witness statements can be powerful evidence.
- Contact an attorney. A lawyer can obtain the additional evidence you will need to prove that the other driver was distracted. This includes cellphone records, data from the vehicle, police records, footage from surveillance cameras, expert analysis by a wreck reconstructionist, and more.
Proving that the driver was distracted can be a complex process, and an experienced car wreck attorney will be able to help you prove it in ways you haven’t yet considered. With modern technology, most drivers leave a trail of evidence.
You Can Afford a Car Wreck Attorney
Many people who are injured in a car wreck caused by another person’s negligence don’t realize that they can afford an attorney to help them file an injury claim, but an attorney truly is within anyone’s reach. That’s because personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency basis. That means that you won’t be charged until or unless the attorney wins your case. At that point, they will take a percentage of your settlement to cover their fees. You will not have to pay any money upfront, so you don’t have to risk anything to have an attorney by your side who will fight for your rights.
Why You Should Contact an Attorney
If you are in a car wreck, the insurance company for the distracted driver will do everything they can to save money on the claim, including tricking you into saying something that absolves their driver. Only speak to an attorney who is looking out for your best interests to ensure that you will be fairly compensated for all the pain, suffering, and other injuries you endured because someone chose to drive while distracted.
If you have been hurt by a distracted driver, Bailess Law Firm is here to help. Contact us today. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, follow us on social media. We would love to get to know you and see how we can help you stand up for your rights. Nobody deserves to be hurt by a distracted driver, and you can hold them accountable for their actions.