Distracted Drivers: Cell Phone-Related Car Accidents

Government agencies, professional organizations, and independent research agencies have well-documented evidence that shows that cell phone use while driving is exceptionally dangerous and puts everyone on the road at risk. Legislators have enacted laws to prohibit texting and using hand-held devices while driving, and various organizations have promoted anti-phone and anti-texting campaigns. Even still, the number of cell phone-related car accidents in the United States is staggering.

Cell phone-Related Accident Statistics

Distraction is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents, and texting/cell phone use is one of the most common – and frightening – distractions for drivers. The U.S. Department of Transportation explains: “[B]ecause text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.”

Using a phone while driving increases risk of an accident by 400 percent, according to a 2005 report in the journal, BMJ. And the majority of drivers do it on a regular basis. An estimated 81 percent of drivers carry a cell phone in their car, and 85 percent of those admit to keeping their phone on during their trips, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). At any given moment, roughly 660,000 drivers have their phone to their ear while driving.

When Distracted Drivers Cause Accidents

California follows a “fault system” for accidents. This means that the driver responsible for the accident will also be responsible for paying for the victims’ damages (generally by using their auto insurance policy). You can hold the driver liable by filing a claim with his/her insurance company or by filing a lawsuit.

When a victim decides to pursue a claim or suit against the at-fault driver to recover damages, he or she will have to be able to substantiate the case, i.e., prove that the other party was negligent in some way. Talking on the phone or texting while driving are viable forms of negligence that can be grounds for your claim.

In many substantial claims, the other driver or the insurer will try to dispute fault. As a claimant, you’ll need to be able to prove that the other driver was using the phone when the accident occurred. This can be difficult to do your own, but an attorney can assist you. An attorney can subpoena the other driver’s cell phone records to see if the driver was talking, texting, or surfing the internet at the time of the accident.

Types of Compensable Damages

When you file a suit against a negligent driver after a cell phone-related car accident, it’s important to account for all of your damages. It’s not only your medical damages that are compensable, but also losses such as those listed below.

  • Lost wages for time off while you’re recovering
  • Future medical treatments and rehabilitation
  • Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
  • Loss of promotion or inability to work in the same capacity as you did prior to the accident
  • Disability and disfigurement
  • The effect of the injury on your relationships and quality of life

There is a long list of potential damages for which you can seek recovery that you probably haven’t considered. To protect your best interests and to maximize your settlement, have a knowledgeable accident attorney review your case.

Getting Help Assessing & Proving Your Claim

Our accident attorneys at Hiden Rott & Oertle, LLP in California are well adept at cell phone-related accident claims. We have the background, tools, and resources necessary to gather phone records and other supportive evidence and ensure our clients get the highest settlement for which they’re eligible.

Contact us today at 619-296-5884 to schedule a free consultation with one of our team members.