What Should I Do If I've Been Injured In a Distracted Driving Accident?

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What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured In a Distracted Driving Accident?

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured In a Distracted Driving Accident?

May 4, 2021

Every day, approximately eight people in the U.S. are killed in car accidents that are reported to involve a distracted driver. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirm that statistic, and define distracted driving as “driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving.” That means whether you’re texting, changing the radio station, looking in the vanity mirror, eating, drinking, taking a selfie, or gazing mindlessly at the scnery – you’re committing an illegal act of distracted driving. While many more examples of distracted driving exist, texting while driving is most commonly cited cause of car accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2019, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers and cell phones. The NHTSA also indicates that sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for five entire seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. A lot can go wrong during those five seconds, and while national advertising campaigns and public service announcements have attempted to highlight and emphasize the dangers of texting while driving, many individuals – predominantly young people – continue to do so without considering the consequences.

AT&T reported in 2015 that 42% of high school students admitted that they text or email while driving. Car insurance comparison website, The Zebra, compiled additional key statistics and figures from various government agencies, such as the NHTSA, National Safety Council, and Insurance Information Institute. The statistics provide an alarming overview on how dangerous distracted driving can be:

  • In 2015, 391,000 people were injured due to distracted driving (NHTSA)
  • In 2018, 400,000 people were injured and 2,800 people died in distracted driving motor vehicle accidents. (NHTSA)
  • Cell phone usage reduces a driver’s attention by as much as 37%. (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute)
  • Approximately 660,000 drivers attempt to use their phones while driving. (NHTSA)
  • 14% of fatal crashes involve cell phones. (III)
  • Using a phone while driving causes 1.6 million crashes every year. (NSC)
  • Drivers who text while operating a vehicle are 23 times more likely to become involved in a car accident. (FCC)
  • The chances of an accident occurring once a driver’s eyes are taken off the road increase by a staggering 400%. (NSC)
  • More than 3,000 teens die each year in texting while driving car crashes. (III)

How Dangerous is Texting and Driving?

How Dangerous is Texting and Driving?

A new survey issued at the beginning of the year by The Zebra examined both driving pattern behaviors as well as beliefs held by most of us regarding distracted driving. The survey represents the most current distracted driving statistics for 2021. Some of the survey’s findings include:

  • 16.2% of drivers in 2021 have texted while driving, representing a mere 2.2% decrease from drivers in 2020.
  • Over half of all respondents (52.4%) believe that using a GPS on your phone is less dangerous than actually texting while driving (studies, however, prove otherwise).
  • Nearly 60% of respondents (57.65%) believe talking on a cell phone while driving is less dangerous than texting while driving.
  • More women (52.4%) admitted to texting while driving than men (47.6%).
  • There has been an increase in cell phone law awareness in the past year, with 31.6% of respondents saying they were very familiar with their state’s texting and driving laws (compared to only 29.4% the year before).

Distracted driving is so dangerously prevalent that the California legislature recently passed AB 47 to help crack down on hands-free device offenders. The law takes effect on July 1, 2021.

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

Which Age Group is Most At-Risk for Distracted Driving?

The CDC have produced compelling data indicating how prevalent distracted driving is among teens and young adults.

According to the CDC, 2018 figures for the U.S. indicate:

  • 25% of the distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were young adults aged 20-29.
  • Drivers aged 15-19 were more likely to be distracted than drivers aged 20 and older (among drivers in crashes where someone died).
  • Among those drivers, 8% aged 15 to 19 were driving while distracted at the time of the crash.
  • 9% of all teens who died in motor vehicle crashes were killed distracted driving car accidents.

The CDC have also established a Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). This system monitors various health risk behaviors among U.S. high school students, such as sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol and other drug use, unhealthy dietary behaviors, tobacco use, inadequate physical activity/exercise, and texting or emailing while driving.

A TYBSS study on texting or emailing while driving was conducted in 2019 through a survey completed by high school drivers. That survey’s results revealed the following:

  • In 2019, 39% of high school students who drove in the past 30 days texted or emailed while driving on at least one of those days.
  • Texting or emailing while driving was more common among older students than younger students, and more common among white students (44%) than black (30%) or Hispanic students (35%).
  • Texting or emailing while driving was equally common among students exhibiting all levels of academic performance. Those students whose grades were mostly As or Bs were as likely to text or email when driving as those students with mostly Cs, Ds, or Fs.
  • Students who texted or emailed while driving were also more likely to report other transportation risk behaviors.

Those behaviors, identified by the CDC’s study for 2019, included:

  • Students were more likely to not always wear a seat belt.
  • Students were more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
  • Students were more likely to drive after drinking alcohol.

In other words, students who participate in one type of risky behavior like texting while driving tend to also report participating in other risky behaviors when operating a motor vehicle. This is a fact that should be alarming for parents, as well as those of us who drive, walk, or bike California’s roads and highways.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved in A Distracted Driving Car Accident?

As is the case for any type of car accident, the first step is to determine whether or not anyone is injured, and to call 911 if even a minor injury occurred. As we have pointed out in a number of blogs, latent injuries showing no immediate symptoms are common in car accidents. Therefore, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and, if there is any chance whatsoever that someone may have sustained an injury in a car accident, ensure your first move is to call 911 immediately.

We’ve also identified 10 steps that should be taken after a car accident, which have been provided throughout our various car accident blogs. In case you missed these, the general steps are as follows:

  1. Injured? If any type of injury has occurred, Call 911 immediately.
  2. Call Police: Call the police next and provide details related to the nature of the accident (hit-and-run, rollover, multi-car, etc.).
  3. Collect Info: Get names, addresses, phone numbers, and driver’s licenses from all drivers involved in the accident.
  4. Collect I.D.: Get license plates and vehicle I.D. numbers from all involved parties (ask to see physical copies to verify the info).
  5. Identify Witnesses: Get names, addresses, and phone numbers of other passengers/any witnesses.
  6. Collect Photos/Videos: Take photos of the damage and the accident scene (traffic lights, street signs, roadway conditions) with your phone.
  7. Leave a Note: If the damaged car’s owner is not present at the scene of the accident, leave a note with your name, address, and phone number.
  8. Hire a Lawyer: Call a qualified personal injury lawyer at Dordulian Law Group.
  9. Contact Your Insurance Company: With the help of a DLG attorney, notify your insurance company about the accident.
  10. Contact the DMV: If an injury occurred (or any vehicle damage exceeds $750), contact the DMV immediately. Failure to do so within 10 days may result in your driver’s license being suspended or even revoked.

What if I’m Largely At-Fault for a Distracted Driving Car Accident?

As we’ve indicated above, distracted driving is dangerous, damages lives, causes fatalities, and is something no one should practice. If you’ve been in a car accident where you were distracted (and likely caused the incident), you may face criminal charges in addition to a potential civil suit. However, under California’s comparative fault law, there is a possibility – despite you being largely responsible for the accident due to distraction – that if the accident is somehow deemed to not be 100% your fault (i.e. the other driver played a role as well, perhaps being temporarily blinded by sun glare) you may still be eligible to recover some financial compensation via a civil claim if you sustained injuries.

For partially at-fault drivers, proving a case on your own – particularly in accidents involving distracted driving – can be almost impossible. Hence, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to help prove your percentage of fault is highly recommended.

What Should I Do if I Was Injured in a Car Accident by A Distracted Driver?

Senseless injuries resulting from drivers texting, emailing, or taking selfies happen every day, especially here in Los Angeles. For injured car accident victims, filing a civil claim can help you recover the financial compensation you deserve for things like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, vehicle damage, emotional trauma, rehabilitation, and much more.

Victims of distracted driving should never settle for a lowball settlement offer from a major auto insurance corporation. These companies have their clients (the at-fault distracted drivers) and their bottom financial lines in mind, and they will do everything in their power to minimize your payout. If you’ve been seriously injured, a damages award that is anything less than the maximum allowable for your specific circumstances is not only unacceptable, it can leave you with ongoing bills and potential financial hardships.

Hiring a proven and dedicated car accident lawyer from DLG is the best way to protect your legal rights and help ensure that your claim is successful. While you’re focusing on your physical recovery and getting back on your feet, you’ll have an experienced and aggressive advocate fighting on your behalf to recover a maximum financial damages award.

Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert car accident attorneys.

The DLG Car Accident Advantage for Distracted Driving Victims

A unique advantage provided to every car accident client represented by DLG is the added benefit of having a former LAPD detective investigate your claim and recover critical evidence that can be the difference between a $5,000 settlement and a multi-million dollar settlement. Proving fault in a distracted driving case can be challenging, which is why having an in-house professional detective uncovering every shred of evidence is so important.

DLG’s Chief Investigator, Detective Moses Castillo, recently partnered with the American Automobile Association to highlight the dangers of texting, emailing, etc. while operating an automobile. To see pictures and videos from the event, take a look at the following page. Castillo has investigated and closed some of the city’s most tragic and complex car accident cases while with the LAPD’s elite Central Traffic Division. Whether your distracted driving claim involves a difficult hit-and-run or straightforward rear-end collision, you can be sure that Detective Moses will gather the evidence required to help prove your case.

And before you decide to accept that likely minimal settlement offer from the insurance company, keep in mind that DLG employs two former auto insurance defense attorneys who have vast knowledge and experience related to insider tricks and tactics used to reduce financial payouts to injured victims like you. Now, Arpineh Yeremian and Paulina Jaafar work for us, applying their insider knowledge of the insurance industry to help our clients maximize their damages awards after untimely car accidents.

Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 for a free consultation. Whether you’re the victim of a distracted driving incident or have any personal injury legal needs, we’re here to help 24/7. And with our no win/no fee guarantee, the best legal representation in California is available to everyone, without the worry of upfront costs or hidden fees.

DLG is the premier car accident law firm in California. With our 98% success record and history of recovering over $100,000,000 for injured victims, why would you choose anyone else but the firm that offers personalized, dedicated, and discreet legal representation and support to each and every client?

After a car accident injury, start the legal process towards recovering a maximum financial damages award by contacting DLG.

Go See Sam