Distracted driving is one of the most deadly behaviors that occurs on the nation’s roadways today. People talk on cell phones, eat, text, or do a myriad of other things while driving that are likely to cause an accident than those who have 100 percent of their focus on the road.
The risk is so high that many laws have enacted distracted driving laws that make it illegal to do certain things while driving. Arizona has yet to do so, but considering the state is on track to have well over 1500 accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2017, changes could be in the future.
The statistics of accidents resulting from distracted driving are similar throughout the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 3500 people were killed and more than 390,000 were injured in auto accidents involving distracted drivers in 2015. That’s approximately eight people killed and 1200 injured each day throughout the country.
What constitutes distracted driving?
- Using a cellphone: talking, sending or reading texts, checking emails, monitoring GPS… it’s all a distraction while driving.
- Talking to passengers: nobody needs to be completely silent while driving, but engaging in rigorous conversations that take your attention away from the road is unsafe.
- Eating or drinking: Meals should be eaten at the dining room table, or you should at least be pulled over with your vehicle safely in park.
- Grooming: drivers should take care of their grooming at home, not on the road
- Fiddling with the radio: perhaps the original version of distracted driving, accidents are still caused because drivers are focused on switching the radio dials.
Distracted driving can be anything that takes your focus off the road.
How do you protect yourself from distracted drivers and what should you do if you or a loved one is injured by someone whose focus was not 100 percent on the road while driving?
You can never predict when you will be sharing the road with a distracted driver. That is why it’s important to assume everyone on the road is distracted and that you drive defensively. Keep a safe following distance from all vehicles, especially those who seem to be operated by an erratic driver. A driver using his or her phone is 25 to 40 percent more likely to cause an accident.
Even though there is no official law in Arizona regarding texting while driving or distracted driving in general, it is possible to take legal action against a driver who causes you harm because he or she was distracted. If you have been injured in an accident and you suspect the driver who caused the crash was distracted, an experience attorney can help you prove it and get the compensation you deserve.
What Should You Do at the Scene of an Accident That You Believe was Caused by Distracted Driving?
Photograph the Accident Scene
Photographing the accident scene can be difficult immediately following an accident, but if it’s possibly to do so safely, you should it. If not, return later or ask a loved one to do so, and take pictures. The accident scene will be used as evidence, so the more photographic information you’re able to provide your personal injury attorney, the better. You should also take pictures of the damage done to your vehicle and your injuries. The more information, the better it is for your case.
Seek Medical Attention, Even If You Feel It’s Not Necessary
You should accept the offer of emergency treatment at the scene of the accident, and if you choose not to do so, you should see a doctor as soon as possible following the event. The goal is to begin a paper trail related to your injuries. Something that seems minor just a few minutes after a crash can cause you a lifetime of pain. Your health is your most important concern, so don’t dismiss the need for medical care and don’t assume everything will be fine.
Note Important Details from the Crash
In addition to pictures, you’ll want to make notes on any important details related to the accident. It’s a good idea to write down everything you remember from the events leading up to the accident as soon as you can and to keep detailed notes concerning:
- Contact information and the details of conversations with everyone you speak to following the accident.
- Information about injuries, medical diagnoses, and anything else related to your pain.
- Any doctors you visit.
- Medications you take.
- Time off from work and wages not received.
- Changes in your everyday routine that are related to the accident.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You will want to let your insurance provider know you were involved in an accident and provide the insurance information of the driver at fault to your insurance company. You should not, however, speak to the other driver’s insurance company. Any calls you receive from insurance providers who are not your own should be referred to your attorney.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Scottsdale, Arizona
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver in Scottsdale, Arizona, you need to speak to an attorney. Proving the driver who caused the accident was distracted can be a tough challenge, but it’s much easier with the experience and resources of a personal injury attorney. Additionally, a lawyer is able to handle the insurance companies and other administrative issues while you focus on the most important thing: your recovery.
Keep in mind you have a limited amount of time (two years) from the date of the accident to take legal action. Though this might seem like a long time, if you’re waiting to “see how an injury heals,” you might be making a big mistake. It’s better to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible and get the ball rolling, instead of waiting and missing out on your opportunity for the compensation you deserve.
Perhaps most importantly, never sign anything until you have spoken to a lawyer. If you are asked to sign documents by an insurance company, you must have a lawyer review them before signing.
Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver? Contact a skilled Arizona car accident lawyer at Warnock MacKinlay Law at 602.833.0933 to review your case.