Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
Distracted driving is responsible for countless car accidents in Los Angeles. Are you or a loved one recuperating after a distracted driving accident? You are not alone and need to get the compensation you deserve with the help of a legal professional.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving accidents can cause over 400,000 injuries per year.
When reviewing the causes of a distracted driving accident, we must first review the different types of driving distractions.
A visual distraction in the context of distracted driving behaviors happens when car drivers are not looking at the road. Instead, perhaps they are texting or looking at something next to them. When this occurs, it can cause severe or fatal accidents. Therefore, visual distraction is a primary cause of distracted driving accidents and serious injuries.
A cognitive distraction means a driver's attention is only partially on the road. Perhaps they are looking for a place to eat after work. Unfortunately, driving a car is so regular that people often forget they are responsible for other people's safety.
A manual distraction occurs when drivers take their hands off the sterling wheel, which is dangerous. Perhaps they were eating while driving or reaching down to pick up something they dropped.
Many distracted driving accidents involve multiple types of distraction, but texting is one of the primary reasons.
In Los Angeles, healing after any car accident can be extensive. But, unfortunately, getting the compensation you deserve can also be frustrating. In this helpful guide, we'll cover the basic legal information you need to know so you can take strategic, decisive action after a California distracted driving accident.
What Causes Distracted Driving?
In one sense, defining the act of distracted driving is simple: Any action that causes a driver to take their eyes away from the road for more than a few seconds constitutes distracted driving. Some examples of distracted driving include the following:
- Texting or talking on their phone;
- Talking to other people who may be in their car;
- Changing the music in their car;
- Fiddling with their car's navigation system;
- Touching up their makeup;
- Drinking or eating;
- Reaching for an item in the back seat;
- Taking care of children;
- Looking at something on the side of the road.
Further, it's important to distinguish between the different types of distraction. As noted above, manual distractions may cause someone to take their hands off the wheel. Visual distractions may cause a person to take their eyes off the road, and cognitive distractions may cause people to ‘zone out' or take their minds away from the task of safe driving.
It only takes a few seconds for a driver to lose control of their car or ram into an unnoticed obstacle — particularly if a person is driving at high speeds while distracted.
What About Cell Phone Use and Distracted Driving?
Because cell phone use is connected to distracted driving, California has a distracted driving law that specifically calls out the use of electronic devices while a person is driving.
This law states that a person should not drive while holding and using a phone unless that phone is designed for hands-free, voice-operated use.
Vehicle Code 23123 VC says, “(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking and is used in that manner while driving.”
If a person uses a phone while driving, it must be mounted on their dashboard, a specific part of their windshield, or in the center console.
Moreover, the person using their phone can only swipe or tap their phone screen once to deactivate or activate a feature, not take in or interact with complex information. If drivers are under 18, they are prohibited from using a cell phone, even if equipped with a hands-free device.
Vehicle Code 23124 VC says, “(a) This section applies to people under 18 years. (b) Notwithstanding Sections 23123 and 23123.5, a person described in subdivision (a) shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device, even if equipped with a hands-free device.”
Studies have shown that drivers under 18 are statistically far more likely to get into car accidents, and cell phone use only increases the risks of distracted driving.
California law bans all forms of texting while driving except when it is completely hands-free. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous causes of distracted driving.
Vehicle Code 23135.5 VC says, “(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.”
What Are the Penalties for Distracted Driving in California?
People caught driving distracted in California will owe a fine and accrue points on their driving record. In addition, they may need to attend traffic school to remove that point from their record. In some Californian counties, the fines may be extremely steep.
If a person is caught engaging in distracted driving multiple times, their fines and penalties will escalate.
If that person causes an accident because they were driving while distracted, they may be the subject of a lawsuit. In this case, the person who engaged in distracted driving may owe the victim (or victims) a settlement. Depending on the case's specifics, that settlement could include tens of thousands of dollars.
What Damages Can a Distracted Driving Accident Victim Claim?
The associated settlement can be quite steep depending on the type of injuries sustained by a distracted driving crash victim. The legal claims involved in a distracted driving accident may include the following:
- All associated medical bills;
- Coverage for rehabilitation and physical therapy;
- Emotional distress;
- Pain and suffering;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future wages;
- Wrongful death.
The responsibility for these fees and the settlement is proving liability or fault in the distracted driving case.
How Can You Determine Fault?
To help you work towards fair compensation, your Los Angeles automobile accident attorney will help you find and analyze evidence that could indicate that the responsible driver was distracted.
The specific types of evidence that your lawyer may collect will depend upon the details of your case. Some examples of liability evidence may include:
- Police reports, such as ones that detail potential cell phone use by the responsible driver;
- The number of people in the car, as well as their ages and their relationship to the responsible driver;
- Any available cell phone records and social media feeds that could show engagement or use with a specific timestamp;
- Photographs from the scene of the incident;
- Any witness statements from people in the car, at the accident scene, or communicating with the responsible driver at the time of the accident.
What Should You Do After a Distracted Driver Accident?
If you are involved in a distracted driver accident in California, call 911 and get medical help. Your health and the health of others are a top priority at the moment.
It would be best to take pictures of the accident scene and your injuries. You can use your cell phone to take photos of your motor vehicle damage, the scene around you, and possible injuries.
Try to obtain the contact information of all eyewitnesses, as it could be a helpful resource for your car accident lawyer. In addition, you should request a copy of the police reports because these documents are essential for determining fault or negligence in your case.
Keep all documentation of your medical expenses from your insurance company, as they will be considered in your injury case. Ask for another driver's insurance card and contact information, as you will need this.
Next, you can contact our law firm for a free consultation to review the case details. Finally, we can thoroughly examine your auto accident circumstances to find evidence supporting your car accident claim.
We can negotiate a full and fair settlement deal with the insurance company. We can fight for you in court if they are unwilling to negotiate. You can contact us by phone or using the contact form. Injury Justice Law Firm is located in Los Angeles, California.