Are you or a loved one recuperating after a distracted driving accident?
You're far from alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving accidents can cause over 400,000 injuries per year.
In Los Angeles, the process of healing after any type of car accident can be extensive. 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 CA distracted driving accident.
Defining Distracted Driving in California
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 while they're driving for more than a few seconds constitutes distracted driving.
Per NHTSA, examples of distracted driving include:
- 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
Further, it's important to distinguish between the different types of distraction. For example:
Manual distractions may cause a person 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 at hand (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.
Cell Phone Use and Distracted Driving in California
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.
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.
The Penalties for Distracted Driving in California
When people are caught driving distracted in California, they will owe a fine and accrue points on their driving record. They may need to attend traffic school to remove that point from their record. In some California 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.
The Damages a Distracted Driving Accident Victim Can Claim in California
Depending on the type of injuries sustained by the victim of a distracted driving crash, the associated settlement can be quite steep.
The legal claims involved in a distracted driving accident may include:
- 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 comes down to proving liability or fault in the distracted driving case.
Determining Fault in a CA Distracted Driving Case
To help you work towards fair compensation, your LA or CA 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 (e.g., 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 who were in the car, at the scene of the accident, or communicating with the responsible driver at the time of the accident
You pay no fee unless you recover. Don't let your claim wait. Hire a Los Angeles personal injury attorney you can trust.
Injury Justice Law Firm are top-rated personal injury attorneys serving victims of negligence throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles County, Orange County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
We are located at 1999 Avenue of the Stars, 11th Fl., Los Angeles, CA 90067, and in the San Fernando Valley at 14401 Sylvan St #112 Van Nuys, CA 91401.
Call our law firm at (818) 781-1570 for a free consultation, or contact our office online.