Recovering from a serious injury, or multiple injuries, after an auto accident is a full-time commitment that can involve significant pain, suffering, and rehabilitative therapy. While many individuals can make a recovery from their serious injuries sustained in a car crash, others will never fully recover from their serious injuries. Whether you or a loved one have suffered a life-altering injury or a loved one has been killed due to the negligence of a distracted driver, dealing with the aftermath of an accident demands patience, courage, and strength. It may not be easy to cope with the many financial, emotional, and physical consequences of a car crash caused by another person’s negligence, but it is possible. For more than 36 years, the attorneys of Reiff & Bily, have helped injured people seek the compensation they need to recover from serious injuries or the death of a loved one. We always work diligently and strategically when assessing how to prove that a driver was distracted at the time of a collision. While building an effective case for a successful outcome is unique in every matter, . Our experienced Philadelphia car accident attorneys always offer free consultations. Call (800) 861-6708 today for more information about how we can fight for you.
What Are Common Reasons for Distracted Driving Car and Truck Crashes?Distracted driving is a common cause of Philadelphia car accidents. There are many forms of distracted driving and all of them significantly increase the risk of an injury accident. Essentially a driver is distracted from his or her duties as a responsible motorist when a visual, manual, or cognitive distraction focus the driver’s attention on anything but the road. An example of a visual distraction could include texting and driving, changing the radio station, or using a GPS navigation system while driving. Many of these same activities would also include a manual distraction component because the driver must remove his or her hands from the wheel to perform these task. Finally, mental distractions involve any activity or distraction that takes the driver’s mind off of the road. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it involves all three types of distracted driving. Despite the danger of texting and driving, a 2011 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study indicated that 31% of U.S. drivers state that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed. It is highly likely that this figure understates the problem because many drivers are understandably hesitant to reveal that they engaged in practices that are illegal in their state or extremely dangerous. Nearly 70 percent of drivers indicated that they had placed or answered a phone call while driving over the previous 30 days.
Distracted Driving Collisions Can Cause Life-Altering and Fatal InjuriesDespite the well-known dangers of distracted driving, many people feel an irresistible impulse to take their eyes of of the road and focus on distractions. According to distracted driving statistics provided by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and published in April 2015, distracted driving is a factor in nearly one-in-five crashes causing a fatal injury. A distraction also plays a role in 10 percent of all fatal crashes. Unfortunately, teenage drivers appear to be particularly at risk for distracted driving crashes. Potential explanations for this fact include a lack of driving experience and the central role cell phones and electronic communication plays in the life of a high school or college-aged individual. In fact, ten percent of all drivers aged 15 to 19 years old who were involved in fatal crashes were involved in distraction-affected collisions. This cohort has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted when they collided with another vehicle.
Pennsylvania State Law Bans Drivers from Texting while DrivingIt is important to note that there is a statewide ban on texting while driving in Pennsylvania. The law, 75 Pa. C.S. §3316(e), went into effect in March of 2012. While it is a positive development that the entire state of Pennsylvania now prohibits texting and driving, the law did preempt a much stricter Philadelphia ordinance. As a primary law, police officers have the right to pull over any driver who is texting while operating a vehicle. Drivers who violate this texting ban will face a fine of $50. And more importantly for a distracted driving injury victim, the other driver is likely to be able to be held legally and financially accountable for any injuries or damages they cause while driving distracted.
Is Distracted Driving Negligent Driving or Negligence Per Se?According to Pennsylvania Statute 3714: “Any person who drives a vehicle in careless disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of careless driving.” A driver does not, however, need to face citations for careless driving in order to be held accountable for the crash. Injured victims can file personal injury claims seeking damages. A case based on a negligence theory alone would need to prove the four basic element of negligence. These are:
- Duty – Individuals often owe a duty to other people to behave reasonably in the circumstances. Duties to behave in a reasonable manner exist in an array of circumstances including the operation of a motor vehicles, the maintenance of one’s property, and many other situations.
- Breach – One the existence of a duty is established, the injured party must prove that the other party breached his or her duty to behave in a reasonable manner. Distracted driving, speeding, and failure to yield are but a few of the carless or reckless behaviors that can result in a breach of one’s duty.
- Causation – An injury victim must also be able to prove that the other party was both the actual “but for” cause and the legal (proximate cause) of the injury.
- Injury – While it may seem somewhat self-evident, for there to be damages to recover the individual must have suffered a personal injury and other consequential damages such as lost wages and medical bills.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Distracted Driving Accident in Philadelphia?At Reiff & Bily we believe that all losses suffered in a Philadelphia car accident should be borne by the responsible party and not the victim. Therefore, part of our work-up for a case always includes assessing all injuries, damages, and losses you have suffered. Injured victims of distracted drivers have the legal right to pursue compensation for their:
- Medical bills
- Hospital expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
What Should I Do if the Distracted Driver’s Insurance Company Contacts Me?Following a car accident, it is common for insurance companies to offer inadequate settlements that do not fully cover the losses suffered in the crash. Insurance companies bet on the fact that while they have significant experience negotiating these matters, most drivers do not. Thus, the insurance company frequently has a better idea regarding the true costs of the accident, but will nevertheless offer settlements that will not cover these costs. Remember, regardless of whether you are working with your own or the other driver’s insurance company, the insurance agent or adjuster works for the company; not for you.
How Do I Know if I Have a Case Against an Inattentive Driver?In most distracted driving accidents, the injured party should at least explore whether they have a good case. While in many scenarios a distracted driving accident is actionable and likely to result in a recovery, the outcome is dependent on the unique factors and circumstances present in each case. For instance, an injured motorist who is also distracted or otherwise contributes to causing the accident may be barred from bring their suit or their potential recovery may be reduced. Thus, if you have been in Evidence from the scene of the accident as well as medical records are also indicative of whether you have a case that warrants the other party to pay you money to offset hospital bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Philadelphia Distracted Driving Accident Injury AttorneysIf a distracted driver has injured you or someone you love, please contact the knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Reiff & Bily for a free consultation. Our attorneys work to hold negligent parties liable through the highest professional standards of ethics and conduct. The lawyers of Reiff & Bily have been featured in Philadelphia Magazine as Top Attorneys in Pennsylvania for excellence in personal injury litigation and are internationally recognized as preeminent lawyers. To schedule your distracted driving accident consultation, call our Center City Philadelphia law firm at 800-861-6708 today.
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