In California, distracted drivers are responsible for thousands of accidents every year. In 2019, California saw 108 distracted driving-related deaths and more than 13,500 injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured by a distracted driver, contact the professionals at eAccidents at 844-400-0123 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will provide you with all the information you need to determine the best way to proceed with your car accident case, and will explore with you every legal angle to ensure that you recover the most compensation possible for your injuries and losses.
How is Distracted Driving Defined in California
California defines distracted driving as the practice of engaging in activities that take your attention away from the road when driving. Distractions can be broken down into three main types:
1. Manual – a distraction that causes a driver to take their hands off of the steering wheel;
2. Cognitive – a distraction that causes a driver to take their mind off of the road; and
3. Visual – a distraction that causes the driver to take their eyes off of the road
Common forms of distracted driving include:
• Eating and drinking;
• Talking with passengers;
• Attending to children in the back seat;
• Reading billboards;
• Adjusting the radio;
• Grooming oneself;
• Looking at passing scenery; and
• Using a cellphone or other electronic devices
Any of these activities can take a driver’s attention away from the road in front of them and result in an accident.
California’s Distracted Driving Laws
California’s distracted driving laws prohibit the following:
1. Handheld cellphone use for all drivers;
2. Texting for all drivers; and
3. Both handheld and hands-free cell phone use for bus drivers and drivers under the age of 18.
Although there are no laws against a driver doing things like setting a GPS device, changing the radio dial, or eating and drinking while driving, these activities may result in a ticket for “reckless driving” or “speed unsafe for conditions.”
Moreover, these activities may also be a factor in determining liability for a car accident. For instance, although the driver may have been lawfully using a hands-free device, it may still be argued that it was a distraction that led to the accident in which you were injured.
Suing a Distracted Driver
In most municipalities in California, there is a fine of $159 for anyone caught texting while driving. But that fine goes to the state, not to their victims. So, for a victim of distracted driving to receive compensation, they will need to file a claim against the distracted driver and possibly sue them to recover the compensation they deserve.
If you have suffered bodily injuries as a result of a car accident, your private health insurance or Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay), may cover your medical expenses. But you may also be entitled to file a claim against the at-fault driver to recover compensation for medical expenses and economic losses that are not covered by your private health insurance or Med Pay coverage, as well as for noneconomic losses, such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, and more.
However, you will first need to consider if a lawsuit is necessary. Car accident claims are most often settled outside of court rather than going to trial, especially when the liable party accepts fault.
Nevertheless, if the at-fault party refuses to settle or disputes their fault for the accident, then you, with the assistance of the amazing team at eAccidents, may need to file a lawsuit and take your case to court to oblige the at-fault party to pay you compensation.
How to Prove That the Driver Was Distracted
Distracted driving cases most often rely on eyewitnesses, police reports, and surveillance cameras to prove that the driver was distracted. An eyewitness, such as a passenger or pedestrian, could have observed the driver’s negligent behavior.
The driver might also have mentioned that he or she was engaged in a distracting activity when giving information for the police report. Street and store security cameras may also have caught the driver engaging in distracted driving. Finally, the driver’s phone records may indicate that he or she was talking or texting at the time of the accident.
In some cases, your California car accident lawyer will need to hire forensic experts to reconstruct the accident for the jury. These experts may be able to show, for example, that because the driver was distracted, he or she did not apply their brakes early enough to avoid the collision in which you were injured.
Consult with an Experienced California Car Accident Lawyer
When you are injured by a distracted driver, auto and health insurance may not cover all the damages that you have suffered. Fortunately, with the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver to recover full compensation for your injuries and losses.
If you or a loved one was injured by a distracted driver in California, contact eAccidents at 844-400-0123 to consult with one of our expert California car accident lawyers. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation, and charge no fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf