Distracted Driving Accidents: Legal Consequences and Compensation
In an era where smartphones and in-car technology have become ubiquitous, the issue of distracted driving has become a significant concern on the nation’s roads. Distracted driving accidents are all too common, resulting in injuries, fatalities, and legal consequences for those responsible. If you’ve been involved in a distracted driving accident or want to understand the legal aspects of such incidents, this article is for you.
Defining Distracted Driving
The very first step following an injury is to seek immediate medical attention. Your health and well-being should always be the top priority. Seeing a doctor not only ensures that you receive the necessary treatment but also documents your injuries, which will be crucial in your claim.
Legal Consequences of Distracted Driving
Once you’ve received medical treatment and are stable, it’s advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation, during which they’ll assess the viability of your case and explain the legal process to you. This is an essential step, as an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and build a strong case.
- Traffic Violations: Distracted driving is against the law in many states, leading to traffic citations and fines for offenders.
- Points on Driving Record: Convictions for distracted driving can result in points being added to the driver’s record, potentially leading to increased insurance premiums.
- Criminal Charges: In cases where distracted driving leads to accidents with injuries or fatalities, drivers may face criminal charges such as reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter, or even homicide.
- Civil Liability: Distracted drivers can also be held civilly liable for the injuries and damages they cause in accidents, leading to personal injury claims or lawsuits.
Pursuing Compensation in Distracted Driving Accidents
After you’ve hired an attorney, they will start investigating your case. This involves collecting evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements, medical records, and any other documents relevant to your claim. The strength of your case largely depends on the quality and quantity of evidence gathered.
- Seek Medical Attention: Your health and well-being should be the top priority. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they seem minor at first.
- Document the Accident: Gather evidence at the accident scene, such as photographs, witness contact information, and a copy of the police report.
- Contact an Attorney: Consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in distracted driving cases. They can help you navigate the legal process, assess the strength of your case, and guide you on the appropriate course of action.
- Negotiate with Insurers: Your attorney will work with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement. If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney may recommend pursuing a lawsuit.
- Legal Action: If necessary, your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Proving Distracted Driving
Your attorney will also work to establish liability, which means proving that someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions caused your injuries. This may involve demonstrating that the defendant had a duty of care, breached that duty, and that breach directly resulted in your injuries.
- Phone records: To check for texting or calling at the time of the accident.
- Witness statements: To establish that the driver was not paying attention to the road.
- Police reports: To document the details of the accident and any observations of distracted behavior.
Preventing Distracted Driving
In most personal injury cases, your attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company. They will present your case, including the evidence and the extent of your damages, and negotiate for a fair settlement. The insurance company may make an initial offer, which your attorney will assess to ensure it covers your losses adequately.
About Coffman Law Offices, P.C.
Coffman Law is Chicago’s leading personal injury law firm and is committed to providing superb legal representation for people who are suffering from severe personal injuries or are dealing with the loss of a loved one due to negligence or misconduct. Coffman Law is results-driven law firm focused on ensuring that clients receive the compassion, attention, and consideration that they need to seek adequate compensation for injuries or loss. The firm is led by Owner and Founding Partner Brian Coffman, who has dedicated his career to helping accident victims navigate the legal system and obtain compensation for their injuries.