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When Do You Need a Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyer?

Car accidents are hectic events, no matter how minor the incident. In serious circumstances, the injuries caused by vehicular collisions can permanently change or end a person’s life. Distracted driving car accidents are some of the most preventable collisions, and those who cause them need to be held accountable. One way to do that is by exercising your right to file a lawsuit.

The car accident attorneys at Osborne & Francis have extensive experience in helping our clients find justice and compensation after auto accidents. Distracted driving accidents are extremely common, and yet present unique challenges for proof in a legal setting. Having a lawyer with proven success on your side means walking in with the strongest possible case.

Call Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600 to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer today—we may be able to start gathering evidence on your behalf right away. For more information on what you can do immediately following a distracted driving car accident, read on.

An unconcerned man behind the wheel is scolded by his worried girlfriend in the passenger seat for texting while driving.

What Is the Definition of Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving can describe any behavior or stimuli that takes a person’s attention away from the act of driving. This includes obvious distractions like ducking below the dashboard or taking both hands off the steering wheel to eat. It also includes smaller acts of distraction, like changing the radio station, interacting with a navigation screen, or checking a watch or phone.

The rules of the road are in place for a reason. At 55 miles per hour on an interstate highway, just five seconds of distraction means you’ve traveled the length of a football field without paying attention. At such high speeds, and on roads with vehicles as heavy as fully loaded tractor trailers, there is no room for error.

Distracted Driving infographic

Download a copy of the “What Are the Three Main Categories of Distracted Driving? here.

What Are the Three Main Categories of Distracted Driving?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the three main types of distracted driving are:

  • Visual: Distractions that draw a driver’s eyes away from the road can cause deadly vehicle crashes. Such distractions include electronic devices, danglers on a rearview mirror, other passengers in the car, or outside distractions (like wildlife or busy streets). It’s important to limit the amount of visual distractions as much as possible.
  • Manual: Taking one’s hands off the steering wheel is extremely hazardous while a vehicle is in motion. Whether it’s done to eat, multitask, or reach for items in the glove compartment or back seat, manual distractions lead to dangerously delayed reaction times. While it’s tempting for many to take breakfast on-the-go, or finish personal grooming (hair and makeup) while at a stoplight, the potential for catastrophic injury is too high a risk.
  • Cognitive: If a driver’s eyes are on the road, hands are on the wheel, but their head is not in the game, that’s still considered distracted driving. Cognitive distractions could include drowsiness from lack of sleep, paying too much attention to music or podcast input, worrying over the day’s to-do list, or talking with others. Holding conversations with passengers or through a hands-free headset distracts from the priority of driving.

It is easy for drivers to become too comfortable in their cars. Especially for those with long commutes, the car begins to feel like a home away from home. However, what’s understandable is not excusable when you and your family are injured because someone else wasn’t treating driving with the responsibility it requires.

A teenage girl looks away from the road while driving, distracted by her friend’s cell phone use in the passenger seat.

What Are the Distracted Driving Statistics?

Thousands of people die each year in the United States due to distracted driving. Here are the most relevant statistics on distracted driving accidents:

  • Distracted driving causes roughly 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, and over 200,000 injuries annually—that’s over 8 fatalities every single day.
  • Of all vehicular accident fatalities, distracted driving is the top cause of death, outpacing other causes like drunk driving, speeding, and hazardous weather conditions.
  • The age group 16-24 is consistently highest in the manual use of cell phones while driving.
  • The age group 20-29 comprises a full quarter (25%) of distracted driving deaths.
  • The District of Columbia (D.C.) along with 48 states have laws banning texting while driving, and 36 states along with D.C. have even more specific phone use bans for young drivers.

Because distracted driving seems relatively harmless to those who engage in it, and because cell phones are in higher use each year, these numbers tend to increase annually. If you or your loved one is harmed by an incident of distracted driving, contact Osborne & Francis for help as soon as possible—we’ll take over the work, so you can heal in peace.

The statistics showing distracted driving incidents tend to increase each year. Call the car accident attorneys at Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600 for help if you or your loved one has been harmed by a distracted driving accident.

What Should You Do After a Distracted Driving Car Accident?

Here is the short list of what your priorities should be after any car accident, including one you suspect was caused by a distracted driver.

  • Seek medical help for any injuries you have, even if they seem mild. Wounds like internal organ damage or brain injuries can be invisible at first, but cause life-threatening damage if they’re not treated immediately.
  • Report the accident to police, and be sure to mention any evidence you see that indicates the other driver was distracted, such as partially eaten food, unrestrained pets, loud radios, active electronic devices, or an otherwise chaotic environment.
  • Gather information like the name and insurance info of the other driver, the names and contact information of any witnesses, and make note of any nearby surveillance cameras that may have captured the accident.
  • Record evidence yourself if you can, including snapping pictures, taking videos, or sending time-stamped messages or voice memos that can be used as first-hand evidence later.
  • Contact an experienced car accident lawyer like the attorneys at Osborne & Francis at your earliest opportunity. We may be able to advise you on your rights, gather evidence and witness statements while they’re fresh, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you’re treated fairly.

If your insurance compensation isn’t enough to cover all of your injuries, we are also fully prepared to file a lawsuit on your behalf.

How Can a Distracted Driving Lawsuit Settlement Help You?

A successful verdict or settlement offer could help cover the following costs surrounding a distracted driving car accident:

  • Medical bills including emergency and follow-up care
  • Lost wages, employment opportunities, benefits like insurance, or loss of future work if your injuries compromise your skills and abilities
  • Property costs for your car and any other possessions damaged in the accident
  • Pain and suffering like the mental and emotional toll caused by stress
  • Punitive damages, aka “punishment” fees charged to a distracted driver and then awarded to you
  • Wrongful death expenses like funeral services and the loss of companionship after a fatal distracted driving accident

Car insurance is often inadequate for the full amount of losses endured after a car accident. Your lawyer from Osborne & Francis can translate your circumstances into terms the law understands. By presenting the strongest possible case, we may help you recover the maximum amount of support available.

A woman reaches for her purse in the back seat while driving, illustrating both manual and cognitive distraction.

How Can You Contact Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyers?

Distracted driving is statistically the most preventable cause of car crashes, above drunk driving accidents and those caused by defective vehicle parts. If drivers could control the impulse to interact with their phones, and follow the basic rules of driver’s education all must learn to get a license, so much pain and suffering could be prevented.

One silver lining associated with pursuing a car accident lawsuit is to help bring awareness to the issue of distracted driving. By holding wrongdoers accountable, you may help change bad behavior and create a disincentive for carelessness. This could help save lives and prevent harm from happening to others.

After a car accident, the most pressing concern is seeking medical attention for your injuries. However, contacting an attorney as soon as possible can help protect you and your rights as you recover. Reach out to Osborne & Francis by calling (561) 293-2600 or by filling out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation. Whatever the severity of your injuries, having a lawyer on your side will keep you safer, and provide peace of mind as you recover.

Client Reviews and Testimonials for Osborne & Francis

"The Osborne & Francis staff were amazing! Our case was HUGE and required tender loving care. Everyone on our case did their part by putting all the puzzle pieces together. We were given step by step updates and put at ease when our nerves got the best of us. Thanks for your diligence and attention, you are appreciated!"

-Emily H.

"The attorneys at Osborne & Francis represented me in my personal injury case. The defendant drew a line in the sand and was adamant on a settlement amount I was almost willing to accept. After the dust settled and the smoke cleared we settled for 3X's that amount! When they say "Real Tough Lawyers" they mean it. Thank you for fighting with me."

-T'Angelo A.

"I couldn’t have asked for a better law firm. Everything was done professionally exactly how I wanted. I’m happy with how my case turned out and I would recommend this law firm to anyone, 100% satisfied."

-Jason D.

Distracted Driving FAQs

After an accident, you can still find indications of distractions that may have caused the crash. Evidence of distracted driving could include:

  • Noise distractions: A blaring radio, rowdy passengers, or backseat entertainment for children.
  • Visual distractions: Active electronic devices, flashing danglers on the rearview mirror, or work materials open on the passenger seat.
  • Manual distractions: Fresh food, personal grooming items (makeup, hair brushes, lint rollers), or lighters/cigarettes for smoking while driving.

By noting these details in a police report or taking pictures of the other car’s interior, you may help strengthen your case regarding what caused the accident.

Car insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. They are businesses that have a financial incentive to take in as much money as possible in premiums, and pay out as little as they can for coverage.

Hiring an experienced car accident attorney means there is an authoritative advocate on your side to negotiate a settlement or, if necessary, take a lawsuit to trial. It is the responsibility of the other driver’s insurance company to cover your injury costs, and a lawyer can help hold them accountable.

To hold someone else responsible for the damage you’ve suffered, a lawyer must provide proof for four elements of negligence:

  1. A duty of care was owed, meaning the other driver knew they had a responsibility to drive safely.
  2. That duty was breached, whether due to illegal cell phone usage, careless distraction, or a reckless disregard of proper driving safety.
  3. A causational link between the breach of duty and your injuries and/or property damage.
  4. The economic and non-economic cost of those injuries and damages, including physical, financial, and psychological harm.

Every state in the U.S. has a statute of limitations for car accidents, meaning there is a limited time to file a lawsuit after an accident. The time limit for personal injury car accident lawsuits is between 1-6 years depending on which state the accident occurs in.

If you miss this window of opportunity, you lose out on your right to seek legal compensation, no matter how legitimate your case. Reach out to Osborne & Francis as soon as possible at (561) 293-2600 to give your rights a fighting chance.

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