What are My Rights if I Was Injured by a Distracted Driver?
Distracted drivers kill thousands and injure hundreds of thousands of people every year. In fact, distracted driving is widely acknowledged to be the leading cause of car accidents in the United States. In Texas, distracted drivers caused 460 fatalities and over 50,000 serious injuries – roughly 19,000 of which were serious – in 2013 alone. That means that someone dies and more than 50 people are seriously injured every day in our state as a result of distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Statistics
These statistics are even more sobering when you compare them to the national numbers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 suffered injuries in accidents caused by distracted driving in 2013. Comparing NHTSA’s figures to the ones published by the Texas Department of Transportation, we see that almost 12 percent of all injuries and almost 15 percent of all deaths caused by distracted drivers nationwide happen in the State of Texas.
Many of these accidents happen in Houston and other metro areas. The data also shows:
• Americans send 153.3 billion text messages every month.
• At any moment during the day, as many as 660,000 drivers are using handheld phones to talk, text, and check status updates.
• Roughly 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of adults admit to having extended texting conversations behind the wheel.
• Handheld cell phone use triples a driver’s likelihood of causing an accident.
• The number of distracted driving-related deaths fell slightly from 2012 to 2013; however, injuries resulting from car accidents caused by distracted drivers are on the rise.
The fact that the number of injuries has climbed while the number of fatalities has fallen may reflect the simultaneous increases in both distracted driving and vehicle safety.
Most Common Forms of Driver Distractions
As Houston car accident lawyers, we see all kinds of cases involving distracted drivers. While much of the recent research focuses on cell phones, these are by no means the only cause of drivers losing focus behind the wheel. Some of the most common causes include:
• Texting and emailing
• Talking on the phone (research has found little difference between accident rates for handheld and hands-free cell phone use)
• Talking to passengers and interacting with children
• Eating and drinking
• Setting GPS directions and playlists
What to Do if You Have Been Injured by a Distracted Driver
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. Distracted driving collisions are just like any other car accidents in this regard. If you are able to demonstrate that a distracted driver is responsible for causing your injuries, that driver (or, more likely, his or her insurance company), can be held liable for your vehicle damage, medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages.
It is important to act quickly following an accident. First and foremost, you need to seek prompt medical attention for your injuries. If possible, you should also take photos of the accident scene and gather any other information (such as insurance information and police reports) you can. If you hire a lawyer, the firm will also be able to conduct an investigation to find any available evidence of distracted driving to support your claim for compensation.
Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer Today
Morrow & Sheppard LLP provides experienced and aggressive representation for victims of distracted driving accidents. To speak with an attorney about your case, for free, call (800) 489-2216 or contact us online today.