All drivers are expected to apply care and skill when driving as a minimum requirement while on the road. However, distractions are a common factor resulting in multiple car crashes per year. Notably, most instances are avoidable if the liable driver remains focused on the road by avoiding distracting elements. Thus, victims of a car accident caused by distracted driving can seek remedies against the responsible party for the losses and damages they suffer. You want to partner with a car accident attorney who can help you present a solid case and increase your chances of success. At Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, we work with many different clients aggrieved by car accidents in Las Vegas, Nevada, to help them seek compensation for the accident. Our team comprises highly skilled and experienced lawyers who are keen on delivering the best-case outcome for you.
The Nature of Distracted Driving Accidents
Road accidents occur for many reasons, including distracted driving. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, this is among the most highly recorded cause of car crashes reported in Las Vegas. Therefore, many accident victims base their claims on involvement in collisions resulting from a lack of attention while on the road, meaning that civil courts are conversant with the case procedures.
Subsequently, you want to understand the elements associated with distracted driving and the main types of distractions causing road crashes for both minor and catastrophic accidents.
Moreover, you should note that these types of accidents can occur anytime, as long as the driver in question loses focus on the road for even a short duration. Notably, some of the most severe collisions after a distracted driver report that the driver only lost focus for a few seconds.
Despite the elusiveness of distracted driving, the motorist whose actions caused a collision is still held liable under negligence laws. The accident causes damaging outcomes for the victims, whose lives may never be the same. Hence, if you are a victim of this type of road accident, you want to partner with an injury attorney to help you navigate the best legal presentation against the liable party.
Further, accidents caused by distracted driving may have multiple parties at fault, depending on case circumstances. Due to this, an affected victim should ensure they understand each party's liability percentage to help them receive the necessary damages. Failure to do so may result in an inconclusive case that could exclude you from accessing the full benefits you are entitled to.
Different Forms of Distractions on the Road
Driving requires you to apply your body and mind to find the required concentration in operating the vehicle correctly. Therefore, your hands and feet should be well engaged to steer the car and engage brakes or accelerate according to the surroundings on the highway. Similarly, it would be best to be well-positioned to observe the road on a clear line of vision and hear any oncoming vehicles or hooting sounds, especially when made as a warning.
A distracted driver can lose one or several of these required abilities based on these requirements, thereby reducing their concentration. As a result, their lack of focus may yield unforeseen collisions that affect them and other unsuspecting drivers and passengers. The four primary forms of distractions are:
Loss of Cognitive Presence
Your mind plays a pivotal role in helping you drive safely, as mental engagement enables you to observe your surroundings and react accordingly. Moreover, having a cognitive presence is essential in helping you strategize on the best driving maneuvers to undertake in compromising situations. Therefore, losing mental focus can be dangerous, as it essentially means you cannot process information from your surroundings to guide your driving.
There are numerous reasons for losing cognitive involvement when driving, depending on each driver's case. Nevertheless, they all have the same characteristic of making the driver's thoughts wander or hyperfocus on one issue. For example, if you argue with a loved one, you may replay it repeatedly while on the road, resulting in the reduced cognitive application.
Similarly, receiving upsetting news while on the road may make a driver lose focus as they try to make sense of the new information or find ways of resolving the issue. Daydreaming is also common, especially where drivers are familiar with a route and are comfortable thinking of other things extensively.
Based on these examples, reduced cognitive application while on the road is dangerous, as it reduces a driver's ability to recognize potential safety hazards and react accordingly. Consequently, an accident may occur within a short period, despite the perceived avoidance of any danger.
Moreover, the proper visual focus is crucial to proper driving, as you observe your surroundings as required. Maintaining good visual awareness is arguably the most crucial factor when driving. You want to ensure that you only take your eyes off the road for a short period, if at all.
Despite this, most drivers will succumb to visual distractions as soon as they begin driving based on multiple factors. For example, facing behind to check on your child is a serious risk, regardless of the need to ensure your child remains safe. This is because you may miss a lot of elements in a short time where your attention is focused elsewhere.
Additionally, visual distractions reduce your traction time, limiting your accident avoidance rate. Thus, you may be unable to reduce the impact suffered by an accident victim even where you did not intend to cause the accident. Therefore, you want to understand the various visual distractions that may affect you to ensure you avoid them and ultimately avoid involvement in an accident. On top of this, knowing how these distractions may cause an accident is important for a victim looking to seek compensation for the damages suffered.
Interference With Manual Functions
Although your eyes and mind play an important role in promoting safe driving, your motor skills are also essential in ensuring you control the vehicle safely. This is because your hands control the steering wheel and, ultimately, the direction in which the vehicle moves. Apart from that, your legs will control your speed by accelerating or braking.
Therefore, your manual application is important, and any distractions could cause extreme consequences, including fatalities. All drivers are expected to uphold proper vehicle control by avoiding extra activities that could limit their ability to act and react accordingly. Similarly, an accident victim will be better empowered to file a successful lawsuit by understanding the factors that caused the liable driver's manual distractions.
Limited Auditory Focus
Lastly, your ability to hear what goes on when driving is important, as it helps you determine how to act. Therefore, your car environment should allow you to hear any external and internal sounds to help identify possible problems or emergencies.
For example, if an ambulance or fire truck is on the road, the siren will alert other road users to give way or avoid using the road until it is cleared. Hence, a driver with limited hearing capacity because of a loud car music system, noise-canceling headphones, or any other element is at risk of endangering others and themselves.
Your auditory senses are also important in detecting potential vehicle problems like loose parts or failing brakes. Ultimately, seeing these factors early enough can mean the difference between an accident occurring or not. As a result, drivers should be intentional in listening out for unusual vehicle sounds to promote safe driving.
Common Types of Distractions Affecting Drivers
Having identified the various forms of distractions resulting in road accidents, you also want to learn about the specific actions that put drivers at risk of accidents. Through the information, you can determine whether the liable party involved in your case is answerable for negligence and subsequently to issuing you with a compensatory amount.
Calling or Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is among the most highly reported causes of distracted driving-related accidents. This is because texting involves redirecting your cognitive, visual, and manual functions to the phone as you look at the text, think of what to reply with, and use your hands to write it up.
Consequently, drivers are warned against using their phones to text while driving, owing to the serious risk to multiple road users. Sometimes, a civil court judge may impose harsher guidelines when issuing compensation orders to the respondent upon discovering that they were texting and driving. This happens because courts try to discourage motorists from practicing based on the high accident levels reported every day.
Navigating Using the GPS or Map System
Understandably, drivers may lose their way to new locations, leaving them to determine the correct directions using maps or GPS systems. Due to this, their eyes will often wander off the road onto the paper map or GPS on the screen, especially if the driver is alone. Notably, losing sight of the road can result in a sudden accident, even if the driver only made a glance at the map. Thus, it is advisable to stop the car and find your way instead of constantly checking for directions while steering the vehicle.
Handling Pets or Young Children
If you do not have a pet basket and someone to watch your children in the car, you become prone to recurrent distractions. You may shift glances from the road to the pets or children in the backseat to ensure they are safe, but you will still jeopardize everyone's well-being. Thus, stopping the vehicle when needed is better, as it allows you to establish that everyone is fine before proceeding. Alternatively, you may request a family member or a friend to watch the children or pets when you drive.
Additional distractions resulting in accidents include:
- Touching Upon Styling or Makeup.
- Adjusting the Car's Radio or Audio Settings.
- Handling Meals and Drinks.
- Looking at Commotion or Roadblock Activities.
- Engaging Your Passengers in Animated Conversations.
While the actions discussed above are often linked to accidents, it is also noteworthy that drivers may have different needs while driving. Regardless of this, the safest thing to do is park your vehicle away from the road or stop at a convenient station to follow up on what you want to do. For example, hungry drivers should stop their vehicles entirely to eat to avoid risking their and other motorists' lives.
How to Establish the Liable Party's Negligence
Distracted driving accidents require the claimant to show that the liable party acted negligently before the court can award damages. Therefore, this calls for intensive preparation processes to ensure you meet all the minimum requirements in the case.
Usually, the law of Torts specifies that negligence is established if the claimants prove that the liable party:
- Had a duty of care to uphold.
- Breached the duty.
- The accident occurred because of a duty breach.
- You suffered damages because of the accident.
In establishing the four elements, you want to support each factor with relevant evidence. Further, your arguments should be legally correct to avoid reducing your credibility before the court.
Remedies to Seek When Presenting Your Case
Upon concluding your case presentation on negligence, the judge will request additional specifications on the type of damages you seek compensation for. The details are essential because they justify your experience as the accident victim, helping to verify that you were an aggrieved party entitled to exercise their rights.
Your injury attorney may request a meeting to establish the strength of your claims, particularly the evidence available to support the damages you suffered. Attending the meeting and providing all the necessary details regarding your experiences since the accident. The following are commonly presented claims for damages:
Compensation for Medical Expenses
As mentioned, accidents arising from distractions may result in severe outcomes where the liable driver was oblivious of the impending danger. Consequently, the victim may be at risk of sustaining serious injuries that require extensive medical attention and continuous treatment. As a result, medical expenses will quickly pile up and impose unforeseen financial constraints on the affected persons.
For example, if you had to remain in hospital as an in-patient, the total medical expenses for your complete duration may surpass the limit available in your insurance cover. Some victims may also lack an insurance provider, meaning that they would have to meet the costs out of pocket.
Further, a car accident can cause many undetectable problems, so scans and imaging tests are often prescribed. You should note that most hospitals offer these services at a high cost, so patients often have to find alternate monetary sources or forgo the services. Therefore, incurring the cost will increase your financial load and pressure to pay the bills.
Similarly, prescription medicine is often expensive, particularly when needed in large quantities. Thus, accident victims with extended recovery durations will need reliable financial sources to cover the costs, increasing their monthly expenditures.
When presenting a claim on the costs incurred for medical expenses, you want to provide evidence to support your claims and improve your credibility. Presenting original receipts, doctor's reports, and images, among other documents, is an excellent choice, as the court can easily verify their validity and be better persuaded to issue a decision in your favor.
Expenses for Homecare Services
Further, although you may recover significantly after sustaining injuries in the accident, you may require home care services from professional caregivers. This is common where the victim's ability to move becomes limited or changes entirely after suffering a serious bone or spinal injury. Therefore, the caregivers will step in to help you live more comfortably, as your condition is unlikely to improve in a long time.
Due to this, you will need to factor in the additional cost of having the caregiver attend to you daily. Over time, the amount payable to them will increase to meet the minimum wage requirements, meaning that you will need compensation for the expenses. The basis for requesting monetary compensation is that you would not have considered the cost if the accident had not occurred.
Presenting evidence of your need for caregivers is important because it increases your chances of success. Therefore, you can compile all payment slips made out to the caregiver so far to help build your credibility.
Medical Equipment Costs
Some injuries may also leave you needing additional medical equipment to navigate everyday life. The equipment includes wheelchairs and crutches, especially after a spinal fracture.
While some equipment is readily available at an affordable price, your case may require you to seek specially made models that cost more to optimize your care. You will have to factor in additional costs that the liable party can meet when paying compensatory fees.
Loss of Wages and Earning Capacity
Additionally, an injured accident victim becomes incapacitated after the incident, meaning they cannot work for an unspecified duration. Due to this, they lose out on essential work opportunities to earn more wages or expand their experience. Therefore, the courts will consider your claim to have the party liable for your accident compensate you, as long as you have the relevant evidential sources.
For example, you can present a letter from your employer stating that you are no longer entitled to a salary because of months of missed work. Alternatively, you may present your statement of accounts for a personal business showing a decline in profits since you became unable to work. Thanks to these evidentiary sources, you have better chances of securing a favorable case outcome.
Pain and Suffering
Further, the pain and suffering experienced after the accident is valid claims in seeking compensation. The difficult experience will reduce your quality of life, meaning you will have lost chances to undertake new goals and opportunities.
When calculating the amount to award for pain and suffering, the court will allocate a number to your experience at their discretion. For example, if you underwent an invasive surgery, your pain scale maybe eight out of ten. After choosing a number, it will be multiplied by the number of days you genuinely experienced the pain and suffering or until a certified doctor certified that you had recovered.
Accident victims who suffer from permanent disfigurement after amputation or severe injuries to other body parts can also seek compensation for their conditions. Their justification may focus on the need to obtain prosthetics or surgical procedures that may help deal with the disfigurement. Usually, courts will award the victim damages for the condition provided you prove that you intend to use the money to seek assistance to improve your life after the disfigurement.
For example, you can receive a doctor’s report justifying the importance of a prosthetic device or a minor surgical procedure that may help improve your disfigurement. You can also testify to the challenges that would be eradicated by obtaining the required devices or medical procedures. The need for proper planning is that the respondent may argue your claim is based on cosmetic needs that are often secondary requirements. Despite this, the judge should reasonably consider your position, primarily because you ended up in the situation because of the accident.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Near Me
When you or a loved one suffers from an accident caused by distracted driving, you may have to deal with various challenges and setbacks. Moreover, your life may change significantly, especially after sustaining severe injuries. Therefore, you want to seek legal redress for the harm caused by seeking compensation from the liable party in court. If you successfully prove the responsible party's wrongdoings, you can look forward to receiving damages and any additional support necessary. With Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, you will receive the best legal services to help you obtain the required monetary compensation to rebuild your life. Our attorneys are well experienced and understand the importance of personalizing each case for accident victims in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information on distracted driving and avenues for compensation, call us today at 702-576-0010.