How to Win Your Distracted Driving Case
by Christian Scranton
In many ways, a personal injury case caused by distracted driving is the same as any car accident personal injury case. In others, however, it can be very different. Let’s take a look at how you can maximize your chances of a successful settlement or court case after being injured by a distracted driver.
Distracted driving is an increasingly serious problem on California’s roads. Even though the Golden State has made it illegal to hold a cellphone while driving, there are many ways for drivers to be distracted without necessarily doing anything that is clearly illegal. It is possible for a driver to be distracted from the road while not breaking a law so specific as the cellphone ban while driving. But at the end of the day, all drivers on our roads have to ensure that they are capable of reacting quickly and paying due attention to road signs, other road users and any hazards.
If you are hit by a driver texting while driving, you may think that the case could be cut and dry as this action is illegal. But all personal injury cases come down to evidence. We have to prove that the driver was distracted, making them liable for your injury as their duty of care towards you was not fulfilled. There are ways to prove that a driver was using a cellphone at the time of a crash, though. For example, you or an eye-witness may manage to take a photo of the driver with their phone still in their hand at the wheel. But even if there is no evidence gathered at the scene, the phone itself and call or texting logs can be used to establish whether the device was in use at the time of the accident.
But things can get much more complex if the driver is distracted by something less obviously illegal. It is perfectly allowed to grab a water bottle or take a sip of coffee while driving as long as this can be done without endangering other people or property. But drivers can get complacent and try to take on too much while driving. We live in a fast-paced time, where multi-tasking is the norm. It might not sound unreasonable for a driver to be taking a hands-free work call while mentally scrolling through their day’s schedule, reaching for the cup holder to grab their coffee. But this scenario involves all three kinds of distraction: cognitive (the brain’s processing power is being used up thinking about that daily schedule), visual (the eyes flick to the cup holder) and manual (both hands are not on the wheel).
It is up to us to prove that the driver was not giving the road their full attention at the time of your accident. If you can do so safely, taking pictures of the accident scene can be very helpful. A photograph of a car littered with distractions can be powerful evidence. Eye-witness statements are also very helpful, as are statements from the police. Traffic police are very experienced in dealing with distracted driving cases, so may be able to tell what has happened at the scene. It may sound strange but it is actually very common for distracted drivers to admit to the police that they were distracted. This might be because actions like reaching into your bag for a snack are not illegal in themselves, so distracted drivers can be more generous with the truth than drunk drivers, for example.
At Scranton Law Firm here in California, we have extensive experience in dealing with car accident personal injury cases. We handle our fair share of auto accident cases caused by distracted driving, so can help you through all phases of your case. We are able to achieve an out-of-court settlement for the majority of our clients, so may help you avoid all the stress and hassle of a court case. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can come to you, wherever you are in California: from Port Costa to Walnut Creek. We can even arrange a video call with you if you’d prefer.