Quiz: Have you ever done one of these acts?
- Dialed someone’s number on your phone while driving?
- Sent that quick “okay” text at a red light?
- Unlocked your phone to put on the perfect song?
- Been so engrossed in a conversation you weren’t really focusing on the road?
- Been in such a hurry you had to eat lunch on your way to a meeting?
If you said yes to any of the above, you should know that ALL of those actions are considered “distracted driving.” Would you argue and say, “I only looked away for a second; how was that distracting?” Or would you argue that you “kept your eyes on the road the whole time” when questioned?
Types of Distracted Driving
Let’s break down the three types of distracted driving that increase the risk of accidents:
- Cognitive Distraction – this is when you let your mind wander and you’re not paying attention to driving.
- Visual Distraction – this occurs when you take your eyes off of the road even for a quick movement.
- Manual Distraction – this is simply taking your hands off the steering wheel, even for moment.
Let’s face it. Any of those distractions can cause accidents. However, what happens next depends on whether or not you are the distracted driver.
9 Steps to Take Following an Accident with a Distracted Driver
If you are involved in an accident, you should take the following steps immediately:
- Call 911 if necessary
- Take pictures of the accident scene
- Document your injuries in pictures
- Ask for the other driver’s contact information and insurance card
- Obtain the contact information for all eyewitnesses to the crash
- Provide a statement to the police
- Request a copy of the police reports
- Keep all documentation of your medical expenses
- Call a lawyer if necessary
If you have been hit by a distracted driver, you may be able to obtain punitive damages. Punitive damages may be awarded in some accident cases depending on the circumstances. In most cases, punitive damages are only awarded to those who were the victim of gross negligence. Punitive damages are meant to be severe, so the defendant is discouraged from repeating his or her mistakes and hurting someone else in the future. Whether or not you will obtain punitive damages depends on the laws in your state.
If you have been hurt at the hands of a distracted driver, contact a personal injury attorney today. After speaking with you, your attorney will let you know if you should move ahead with a lawsuit. While obtaining a monetary settlement will not reduce your injuries, it can help provide important financial resources needed for your future health care and income needs.
Were you injured during a motor vehicle accident that did not involve distracted driving? These other blogs on motor vehicle accidents may help with your situation:
- How to handle accidents inside construction zones
- What happens if you’re in a car accident with someone who’s uninsured?
- What happens when you’re in a car accident at work?
- What to do if you’re injured on a motorcycle
- What to do if you’re a passenger with a drunk driver and involved in an automobile accident
About the author: Brandon Duber, a Partner with Bentoff & Duber Co., LPA, is a lawyer with proven experience in the courtroom and expertise in the areas of workers’ compensation, criminal defense, personal injury and medical malpractice law. He received his B.A. from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY and his J.D. from The Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, OH.