Distracted Driving

February 21, 2024 | Steve Fields
Distracted Driving
Where Do Distracted Driving Car Accidents Occur in Minnetonka?

Distracted driving is one of the driving-related hazards you hear most about in public service announcements and other media campaigns. Yet, the problem has shown no signs of slowing down. Therefore, attorneys frequently represent victims of distracted drivers, helping them obtain fair compensation for accident-related damages.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of a distracted driving accident, a Minnetonka motor vehicle accident lawyer will demand a fair settlement from liable parties. Your lawyer can take your case to trial if liable parties don't offer  the settlement you deserve.

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Common Examples of Distracted Driving 

Authorities define "anything that takes your attention away from driving" as a distraction. Based on this definition, a motorist can be distracted when they:

  • Eat food
  • Drink a beverage
  • Stare at objects that aren't related to the roadway
  • Send or read text messages 
  • Record a video
  • Take photographs
  • Become too engrossed in music, audiobooks, podcasts, or other media
  • Interact with social media
  • Engage in distracting conversation with others in the vehicle
  • Reach for something within the vehicle
  • Engage in any other activity that diminishes their ability to drive safely

Many motorists do not realize how broad the category of distracted driving is. If a motorist's distraction contributes to an auto accident, the motorist may have to pay the cost of their victim's accident-related damages.

The Issue of Distracted Driving Is an Imminent Threat to All Motorists and Passengers

In 2021, 3,522 people died in the United States because of distracted drivers. Even more victims suffered serious injuries. This shows the imminent danger that distracted drivers pose to:

The Issue of Distracted Driving
  • Themselves
  • Other motorists
  • Passengers in other vehicles
  • Motorcyclists
  • Pedestrians
  • Bicyclists
  • Scooter riders

Unfortunately, the issue of distracted driving will not go away soon. We can expect the issue of distracted driving to continue because:

Cell Phones Are Constantly Present in Motor Vehicles

Americans' cell phones have become extensions of themselves. This means that phones are almost always in the vehicle with the driver. Whether they are selecting music, responding to text messages, or using the phone in other ways, the temptation to use a phone while driving is ever-present.

Many Motorists Drive Long Hours

Motorists who drive for hours at a time may be especially susceptible to engaging in distracted driving. These motorists may:

  • Become bored and inclined to use their phone
  • Use the phone to select and change media while they drive for long periods
  • Being prone to fatigue increases the likelihood of distraction
  • Become engaged in deep thought or daydream while driving
  • Encounter many potential distractions outside the vehicle, including scenery

Distractions are inevitable for any driver, including those who are on the road for long periods. Motorists are responsible for minimizing distractions and ignoring them whenever possible.

Younger Drivers Have Grown Up Reliant on Cell Phones

Research suggests that younger drivers are "distracted easily," meaning they are an at-risk group for distracted driving. The youngest drivers today have lived their entire lives in a world where cell phones are ever-present. Therefore, these young drivers may find it difficult to avoid distractions while driving, including using their cell phones.

Years-long Media Campaigns and Laws Have Not Stopped the Distracted Driving Problem

Federal and state governments have invested significantly in combating distracted driving. These campaigns include:

  • Harsher legal penalties for distracted driving
  • Television advertisements 
  • In-school education campaigns
  • Radio spots
  • Community outreach warning about the dangers of distracted driving

Even with these efforts, distracted driving continues to be a significant problem on American roadways. Drivers are ultimately responsible for understanding the risks of distracted driving and avoiding distracting behaviors.

What to Do After a Distracted Driving Accident

If you were involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you should:

See a Medical Professional

Getting medical care is essential for accident victims. When you see a doctor, you should:

  • Explain that you have been in a traffic accident
  • Explain any abnormal pain or symptoms you are experiencing
  • Insist on receiving a clear diagnosis for your injuries
  • Ask if medical imaging can show your injuries
  • Ask the doctor for a detailed recovery plan

If you are unsatisfied with the extent or nature of medical care your doctor provides, consider seeing another. After your distracted driving accident, you must receive comprehensive medical care and related documentation.

Keep Records of Your Treatment

You should request and safeguard copies of all injury-related medical treatment. This can include:

  • Bills from all medical appointments
  • X-rays, CT scans, and other images of accident-related injuries
  • Doctors' written notes about your injuries, symptoms, and treatment needs
  • Any other documentation related to your injuries, symptoms, or medical care

Once you hire an attorney, they will lead the charge in documenting your injuries and damages. Until then, request copies for yourself.

Refrain from Making Recorded Statements or Accepting Settlement Offers

Accepting Settlement Offers

Some accident victims falsely believe that insurance companies are completely on their side. In fact, insurers have their own financial motivations, and you should be cautious whenever dealing with auto insurance companies.

Be especially careful not to make any recorded statements or accept any car accident settlement until you have consulted a distracted driving accident lawyer. These mistakes can be devastating to your case, so always have a lawyer's advice before proceeding.

Hire a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible

A distracted driving accident lawyer will advise you when you hire them. Their most pressing concerns will be:

  • Protecting you from insurers and any other party that may undermine your case
  • Securing any evidence that can benefit your claim or lawsuit
  • Ensuring the insurance process is moving forward promptly
  • Ensuring you are receiving the medical attention you need

A lawyer will be a versatile, trustworthy resource following a distracted driving accident. If you have lost a loved one because of a distracted driver, you should also consider hiring an attorney.

How a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Can Help You

A distracted driving lawyer counsels clients and protects their rights. At the same time, your attorney will fight for the financial recovery you deserve. You may accept the help of an attorney because:

  • A lawyer has a solid background in resolving auto accident cases.
  • A lawyer understands insurance claims and lawsuits and can resolve your case as efficiently as possible.
  • You want to keep your focus on recovery rather than overseeing the demands of an insurance claim or lawsuit.

There are likely many qualified lawyers serving your area. Through research, you will want to find the lawyer and firm whose qualifications and culture best fit your case.

Services Your Distracted Driver Lawyer Will Perform

Your attorney will be responsible for every step in your insurance claim, and any lawsuit you pursue. While each case requires a personalized approach, your attorney's responsibilities will likely include:

  • Building an evidence-based case: Your attorney will immediately move to secure case-related evidence, including eyewitness testimony, video footage, police reports, photographs of vehicle damage, and professional testimony.
  • Detailing your damages: Your legal team will make it clear how your distracted driving accident has negatively affected you. Medical records, historical income statements, professional testimony, and medical bills may be among several types of documentation your attorney uses.
  • Setting a settlement target: Your attorney will consider both your economic and non-economic damages in determining the value of a fair settlement.
  • Completing settlement negotiations: Your attorney will represent you in settlement talks. They will gather all documentation of damages, evidence of negligence, and other relevant information.
  • Taking your case to trial, if necessary: While it is statistically unlikely that your case will go to trial, you must be open to the possibility. If a settlement with the liable party cannot be reached, your lawyer may need to go to trial.

When you hire a lawyer, you trust them to make the right decisions for you and your case. They should be transparent in the advice they give you, including whether to accept a settlement or go to trial.

Your Attorney Will Establish Liability for Your Accident

As part of building your case, your attorney will establish clear liability for your accident-related damages. Liable parties may include:

  • The distracted driver: A distracted driver is the most likely defendant in your case. If the motorist's distraction was the sole reason for your accident, they may be financially liable for your accident-related damages.
  • A distracted driver's employer: If a distracted driver is working at the time of an accident, their employer may be financially responsible for some or all of your damages. 
  • A vehicle manufacturer: Some distracted driving accidents have multiple causes. If any vehicle-related defects played a role in your collision, the manufacturer of the defective components may be liable for your damages.
  • A municipality: When dangerous road conditions play a role in a distracted driving accident, a municipality may share liability for your damages. 

Your attorney will analyze the facts about your collision. They will rely on those facts and relevant evidence to decide who to seek compensation from.

Damages That Distracted Drivers Cause For Their Victims

Your lawyer will evaluate your damages as they determine your settlement demands. Recoverable damages in distracted driving cases can include:

Pain and Suffering

Most auto accidents cause some degree of pain and suffering for victims, which may include:

Pain and Suffering
  • Physical pain 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Other forms of psychological distress and emotional anguish
  • Diminished quality of life

Distracted driving accident lawyers are familiar with the many types of pain and suffering that collision victims experience.

Healthcare Costs

Your medical bills will be some of the most important damages in your case. Your attorney will calculate the cost of all medical services you require, which may include:

  • Emergency transportation and services
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Hospital services
  • Medications 
  • Appointments with injury specialists
  • Rehabilitation services 

Your lawyer will track your recovery, add up medical expenses as they arise, and consult professionals about your symptoms and medical services. This will ensure that your attorney fully accounts for your healthcare costs when it comes time to negotiate a financial recovery for you.

Professional Damages

Your professional damages may be temporary or permanent, depending on whether your injuries are disabling. Such damages may include:

  • Lost income
  • Lost bonuses
  • Missed opportunities to earn (or progress towards) promotions
  • Diminished earning power
  • Lost benefits
  • Loss of the fulfillment you receive from doing your job

When you cannot do your job, it can cause financial instability, and this may worsen psychological and emotional symptoms from your accident.

Vehicle Costs and Other Property Expenses

Your lawyer will account for the cost of repairing or replacing a vehicle damaged by a distracted driver. They will include any other accident-related property costs in your case, too.

If you have lost a loved one because of a distracted driver, you may also deserve compensation for:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial or cremation expenses
  • Grief and other types of pain and suffering specific to losing a loved one
  • Loss of the decedent's financial support
  • Loss of non-economic benefits the decedent provided
  • Loss of the decedent's household services
  • The cost of grief counseling and other treatments for pain and suffering

Your circumstances are unique, and distracted driving accident lawyers understand the complexities involved in such cases. If you are involved in a distracted driving accident, consult with a skilled attorney to thoroughly assess your situation and create a personalized case plan tailored to your needs. With their experience, they will execute this plan on your behalf, ensuring a comprehensive and effective approach to address the needs of your case.

There Is No Time to Waste When Hiring a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Your attorney must secure evidence and file your case before statutory deadlines expire. Don't Delay hiring a law firm, enabling you to proceed with your recovery without unnecessary delays.

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Steve Fields

Founder | CEO | Principal | Attorney

Steve Fields founded Fields Law in 2001 and quickly established a reputation with his Personal Injury clients for being a lawyer who truly cares. After more than 20 years, those clients continue to refer their friends and family whenever they have been injured or become disabled.

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