San Jose Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
Are you struggling through the aftermath of a distracted driving accident? Whether you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, or have a friend or loved one who has been injured or killed by a distracted driving accident, you deserve justice.
Distracted drivers are a public menace that cause 7% of all fatal crashes (3,142 lives lost in 2019), 15% of injury crashes (roughly 400,000 people injured in 2019), and 14% of accidents that didn’t result in injury.
And despite strict laws that prohibit distracted behaviors such as texting, talking on the phone, or eating while driving, the situation is only getting worse, with studies revealing that 36% of Americans drive distracted during trips across the USA.
If you were hurt in a car accident due to another individual’s distracted driving, call our San Jose car accident attorneys right away for counsel. Were you the victim of a distracted driver? The attorneys at Shea & Shea – A Professional Law Corporation can help. Call our experienced motor vehicle accident firm today at (408) 716-1629 and take your first step towards justice.
Expert Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers
Since 1966, Shea & Shea has worked tirelessly to seek compensation for each personal injury victim and wrongful death claim that we represent.
Each distracted driving accident attorney at our firm is here to help you secure the financial and medical security you need to recover from your situation. We also believe in aggressively pursuing punitive damages against the at-fault driver.
Our long track record of successful personal injury cases demonstrates our commitment to exhausting every resource on our quest to recover compensation for our clients.
We recognize the extreme impact that serious injuries can have on your life, so dedicate ourselves to continually educating ourselves on the latest distracted driving laws and medical solutions for personal injuries, with the singular purpose of helping you secure full and fair compensation for your physical injuries, mental distress, and other damages.
Schedule a free consultation with a distracted driving accident lawyer by calling Shea & Shea today, or continue reading to learn more about what driver distraction is and the laws surrounding this kind of personal injury claim.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the road can quickly lead to a car accident. While some behaviors are simply not encouraged, others, such as talking on the phone or texting, are strictly prohibited by law.
Top Causes Of Distracted Driving Crashes
From being lost in thought to FaceTiming friends, there is a wide range of actions that fall under the category of “distracted driving,” “reckless driving,” and “speed unsafe for conditions.” These include:
- Phone use while driving. Unsurprisingly, texting, video calling, and voice calling, and other phone use are the #1 cause of distracted driving accidents. Here in California, it is illegal to ever touch your phone while driving.
- Talking to passengers. It’s easy to get distracted by conversations in the backseat or by looking over to chat with the person in the passenger seat.
- Tuning a car radio. This requires the driver to look away from the road and take a hand off the wheel — prime conditions for a car crash.
- Eating or drinking while driving. While not explicitly illegal, eating and drinking are extremely dangerous and can result in car accidents, or at the very least, distracted driving citations.
- Applying makeup. Despite how obviously dangerous self-grooming while driving is, California drivers continue to apply lipstick and brush their hair while driving, contributing to our state’s increasing distracted driving statistics.
- Cognitive distraction. While driving, have you ever had the realization that you don’t remember the last mile or two of the road? Spacing out like this is easy when driving familiar routes, but while getting lost in thought can be fun, causing a car wreck is not. Stay focused while driving, avoid cognitive distractions, and keep your eyes on the road.
Out of all these bad driving habits, texting behind the wheel is by far the most dangerous activity and distraction to California drivers.
Texting commands the eyes, concentration, and manual focus of a driver all at once and can delay reaction times in drivers almost as much as a driver with a blood alcohol of .08 percent — making texting and driving as dangerous as drunk driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that texting while driving makes a car crash about 23 times more likely than attentive driving.
Is Texting While Driving Actually That Dangerous?
When accidents occur and serious personal injury is the result, the offending drivers often contend that their messaging “only took a few seconds.”
Looking at the driver’s statement from a scientific vantage point, the cause of the accident becomes clear. Accident reconstruction experts across the country use the same basic formula to convert miles per hour into feet per second. Using the defendant driver’s statement and cell phone records, the experts can determine how far the offending vehicle traveled while the driver’s attention somewhere other than the road.
Consider these examples: A car traveling 35 mph is also traveling 51 feet per second. In three seconds, the car has traveled half of a football field. Place that same texting driver at 50 mph, and the car is traveling 74 feet per second; in the same three seconds at this speed, the car has traveled 222 feet with the driver not paying attention to the road.
At freeway speeds of 65 mph, the car is traveling 96 feet per second or 289 feet in those three seconds. The fact that texting or emailing drivers are causing so many major accidents with severe and catastrophic injuries is easy to understand using these basic principles of accident reconstruction.
Punitive Damages for Texting While Driving
In California, your personal injury lawsuit has access to three types of damages:
- Economic Damages. These cover quantifiable losses like past and future medical expenses, property damage, reduced earning capacity, and lost wages.
- Non-Economic Damages. These cover intangible losses like pain and suffering, disfigurement, scarring, emotional distress, and other tragic effects that accident victims must face.
- Punitive Damages. Distracted drivers are a threat to our roads and often deserve financial punishment for how the accident happened. Punitive damages are awarded to injury victims in order to punish the defendant for their negligence.
Damages are most commonly sought from the other driver who was negligent and distracted, but it may also be necessary to sue insurance companies, as they sometimes refuse to pay full compensation.
Common Distracted Driving Car Accident Injuries
Distracted driving accidents inflict victims with a wide variety of injuries and mental trauma. For example, our personal injury law firm has represented victims with:
- Whiplash injuries
- Internal injuries
- Chest injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Emotional trauma (e.g. PTSD)
We also represent the family members of victims killed in fatal crashes. This kind of case enables you to pursue compensation for the economic and emotional losses you’ve suffered as a result of the wrongful death.
Distracted Driving Laws in California
California’s distracted driving laws are an ally in your pursuit of punitive damages and fair compensation for your injuries or the injuries of your loved one.
As of January 1, 2017, it is illegal to hold or touch a wireless electronic device while driving in California. So while drivers are allowed to mount their phone on a stand and use voice controls, their not allowed to swipe through apps, text, or hold their device.
Drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using communication devices of all sorts, both handheld and voice-controlled.
One exception, for drivers over 18, is mounted GPS devices, which drivers are allowed to use if operation only requires a single tap or swipe.
When a driver explicitly breaks California law (e.g. cell phone use), then it is much easier to sue for compensation, as negligence is presumed. Your case will be especially easy to prove if they were cited for distracted driving by a police officer at the accident scene.
Other actions, like eating while driving, applying makeup, and looking away from the road fall under “reckless driving” and can still be used to demonstrate a breach of duty on the part of the other driver and to pursue compensation for distracted driving accidents.
That said, demonstrating negligence in these cases is more of a challenge and requires the careful coordination of evidence, cell phone records, and accident reconstruction experts.
Get Seasoned Legal Counsel For Your Car Accident Claim
A distracted driver who causes an accident is liable for damages to you if you were injured, whether you were in another vehicle, on a motorcycle, or a pedestrian crossing the street. The personal injury lawyers at Shea & Shea can take the guilty party to court. In some cases, we may have to take the other driver’s insurance company or your own to court if it refuses to pay full compensation.
Our law firm, available by phone at (408) 716-1629, will do whatever it takes to bring you restitution for any injuries you may have suffered in an accident. This can go beyond covering your hospital bills, including damages like emotional distress, pain and suffering, and more.
To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our driver distraction lawyers to discuss your injuries, email us today.