Philadelphia Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Over the course of the last decade distracted driving has become a term for multiple forms of distractions that disturbs the driver’s attention away from the primary action of driving responsibly. Often forgotten after acquiring a driver’s license is the notion that driving is not a right, it is a privilege. While there is no definitive and agreed upon definition of distracted driving, a Philadelphia distracted driving lawyer at Rosenbaum & Associates can recover full compensation for you in a legal case where there was suspected distracted driving.
Why Choose Rosenbaum & Associates?
- Our team of personal injury attorneys have more than 25 years of experience fighting for victims injured by the negligence or recklessness of others.
- Our firm is nationally recognized for our track record of success.
- We will assume all of the risk and will not charge legal fees unless we win.
Why You Need a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Although distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents, it can be one of the more difficult acts of negligence to prove. Evidence must be provided that shows the driver caused the accident because they were not paying attention to the road. Experienced distracted driving accident attorneys have extensive resources and can dedicate the time required to investigate your accident thoroughly and ensure evidence is collected to support your claim.
Insurance companies are not on your side and will try to minimize or even deny your claim if possible. Allowing an attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf will help ensure your rights are protected and that you obtain the compensation you need to cover the full extent of your damages.
What Is Distracted Driving?
According to the Overview of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Driver Distracted Program, distracted driving is a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention from the driving task to focus on some other activity instead. Some examples of distracted driving are talking to a passenger, texting, any use of a cell phone or smartphone while driving, using a navigation system, watching a video, eating and drinking, personal grooming or hygiene, reading maps or directions, using a radio, CD player, or mp3 player. Essentially, any action that requires you to manually, cognitively, and or visually focus on something other than driving, is considered distracted driving.
How to Prove a Driver Was Distracted in a Car Accident
Proving a distracted driver is liable involves building a solid case to prove they were negligent—which means they failed to use reasonable care and you suffered injuries as a direct result. That will require an in-depth investigation to collect critical evidence that proves distracted driving contributed to your car accident, such as:
- Accident scene evidence. Photos or video of the scene and surrounding area can show a lack of skid marks or may show short and straight skid marks. This often means there was little to no braking or swerving because the driver didn’t know they were about to crash.
- Statements from witnesses. Witness statements can be powerful evidence if they saw that the driver was distracted and caused the crash.
- Cell phone records. If the driver was distracted from using their cellphone, records of calls and text messages might prove their negligence.
- Debit or credit card receipts, along with food wrappers, drink cups, or spills, can indicate recently purchased food or drinks that the driver may have been consuming at the time of the collision.
- Social media activity, if the driver posted anything right before the collision.
- Security camera footage (if available) could show the distracting incident just before the accident.
How Can Multitasking While Driving Hinder Your Driving Abilities
Sending or reading one text message, no matter how quick you believe you can get back to just driving, requires that you take your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. Philadelphia distracted driving attorney Jeff Rosenbaum explains if your car is traveling at a rate of 55 mph, reading or sending a text message is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field, blindfolded. During those crucial few seconds where your eyes and brain are no longer solely cognizant of driving, many drivers who text end up rear-ending a car, or swerving into oncoming traffic, or driving into an inanimate object, person, place, or thing, often resulting in property damage to the driver.
Numerous behavior studies have shown that engaging in a secondary task, such as talking on the phone decreases driving performance. Even using a hands-free device does little to curb the distraction and has been found to equally contribute to accidents as users of hand-held devices (Redelmeier and Tibshirani, 1997; McEvoy et al., 2005). A recent 2008 study from the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Department of Psychology, at Carnegie Mellon University found that there was a decrease in brain activation associated with driving when listening to someone speak. The study found that driving while listening and talking on the phone requires a concurrent dual-task performance that splits the limited mental responses resulting in a competition for the same neural resources (Just, Keller, Cynkar, 2008). There was a clear difference in talking to someone on the phone versus talking with a passenger in the same vehicle. A passenger in the car is less likely to hinder a driver’s ability to concentrate, as they are both aware of the competing demands for the driver’s attention. In America, we tend to value multitasking, but it can have lethal and pricey consequences when driving.
Costly Consequences of Distracted Driving in Philadelphia
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that approximately 8% of drivers on the roadway at any given daylight hours are using their cell phones (Glassbrenner, 2005). The criminal and civil liability associated with a distracted-affected crash can be severe. Those found to be liable in a distracted driving crash may be required to pay for the financial compensation of the medical and hospital bills of the injured party, their lost wages and salary, any physical therapy needed as a result of soft tissue damage from the crash, any pain and suffering, as well as their lost future earning capacity. Simply put, it is not worth the fine, time, and potential fatality involved in driving distracted. There is no text or phone call that cannot be done prior to driving or after one parks their vehicle.
Compensation for Distracted Driving Accidents
As a victim of a distracted driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injury. You may be able to recover damages such as:
- Medical costs and expenses for ongoing and future treatment
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings and diminished earning capacity, if the accident affects your ability to work
- Any out-of-pocket expenses for accident-related costs
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages, if the distracted driver is determined to have acted especially reckless or maliciously
Pennsylvania courts follow the system of “modified comparative negligence.” Under this law, each party that contributed to the collision is assigned a percentage of fault, including the victim. If you are found partially to blame, your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 and found 30% at fault for your accident, you will only receive 70% or $70,000. However, if you are found 51% or more at fault, you cannot recover compensation.
Contact a Philadelphia Distracted Driving Attorney
If you or a loved one is seeking representation from a Philadelphia distracted driving lawyer, Rosenbaum & Associates may be able to help. If you would like more information, please contact us online or call to schedule a free case consultation.