Glendale Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents in the USA and results in daily tragedy. You may be a competent, safe, and defensive driver, but you can still be the victim of a negligent driver who makes the decision to text and drive. Even if your insurance claim covers a portion of your damages, you may need to file a civil lawsuit against a distracted driver to recover the level of compensation you deserve.
Thankfully, an experienced auto accident attorney can guide you through the legal aspects of your personal tragedy and help you put your life back together. The process involves gathering evidence to support your claim and may require calling upon professional resources such as accident investigators, medical experts, and financial experts to provide information for your claim or lawsuit. For a successful claim, you need to work with a team that has experience, compassion, and skill. To speak with one of the best legal teams in Glendale, call Aghabegian & Associates, PC, at (818) 507-4311 today.
One of the critical legal questions asked after an auto accident is “Was either of the drivers distracted?” Distracted driving is not only dangerous, but it is often illegal, as there are traffic laws in many states against eating, grooming, and rubbernecking. In fact, it is explicitly illegal to use a handheld phone to call or text while driving in California, unless doing so with a wireless headset or built-in audio system. However, other activities (while not expressly illegal in California), can also be considered "distracted driving" and be actionable if any accident occurs as a result:
- Eating or drinking while driving;
- Taking eyes off the road to read or use any device, book, or paper;
- Failing to keep eyes and attention on the road due to distraction caused by a phone (even if the phone belongs to the passenger);
- Heated or emotional discussion while driving; and
- Being on a distracting phone call while driving (even with a hands-free device).
In the event of an accident, the police will work to identify any evidence of distracted driving. Their findings usually show up in the police report and can be a critical piece of evidence in support of your case. However, never assume that police will immediately spot the telltale signs of a distracted driver. If you noticed that the driver responsible for your accident was distracted right before the collision, be sure to share that information. If needed, phone records can be subpoenaed to help support an injury case.
When most people are first learning how to drive, they are taught to keep their eyes and mind on the road. Sadly, as drivers gain experience, they often relax, thinking that they are skilled enough at driving to avoid collisions. This simply isn’t true, and a distracted driver is a dangerous one.
When a responsible driver comes to a red light, stopped traffic, or a pedestrian crossing the road, she slows down and comes to a complete stop, in order to avoid an accident. However, a distracted driver, whether he is looking at his phone or fiddling with the radio, won’t notice the obstruction in front of him, and won’t begin to slow down until he has already caused a collision. This makes a distracted driver dangerous for two reasons. The first is that he caused a collision in the first place, whereas a driver paying attention would not have. The second is that he didn’t slow down before the accident. The faster a car goes, the more force the impact will have. A distracted driver traveling at a high speed will cause catastrophic damages, including:
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Brain damage
- Severe burns
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Spine injuries
- Loss of limb
Even more horrifying, however, is the fact that distracted drivers can, and often do, cause wrongful deaths. A wrongful death is a fatality caused by someone else’s negligence, and they leave families heartbroken, as well as in a tough financial situation. Thankfully, there are options for people who have lost their loved ones to distracted drivers, just as there are options for those who have been catastrophically injured by distracted drivers. The first step in recovering damages is determining just who is liable.
In most cases, the distracted driver is the responsible party. However, in cases where employees are on work-related calls or sending work-related texts, an employer may also be liable. For an injury suit to be successful, a great deal of care must be put into how your case is developed and presented. If you’ve suffered serious injury caused by a distracted driver, get an experienced trial lawyer with a record of success on your side.
As with all car accidents, you should start by exchanging information with the other driver, filing a report, and taking photos of the scene and any damage done to your car. From there, you should seek medical attention and get an assessment from a doctor who can note any injuries you or your passengers suffered. After that, it will come time to calculate how much you want to recover in compensation.
There are two different categories of damages that you need to factor into your calculations. The first is economic damages, which cover financial losses that you suffered from the accident. That can include medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. If you are filing a wrongful death claim, it can also include funeral expenses and loss of benefits. Start by gathering up all bills, receipts, and paystubs related to the accident, and calculating the total cost. That final amount is your economic damages, and should be the bare minimum that you get from your claim.
Once you have economic damages figured out, you can move on to non-economic damages. That category covers all non-financial losses, such as your emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and decreased quality of life. For a wrongful death claim, you can also recover damages for loss of companionship. It is hard to put a price tag on non-economic damages, as there is no receipt to figure out how much your suffering has been worth. What you choose to demand for non-economic damages is up to you, and what the court feels is fair.
On top of your calculations, you should also file your claim as soon as possible. In California, car accident claims have a statute of limitations (a time limit) of two years. For a wrongful death claim, you also have a limit of just two years. While that may sound like a lot of time, when you have to deal with supporting your family, recovering from severe injuries, and overcoming emotional trauma, two years can pass quickly.
Finally, the most important thing you can do after a distracted driver accident is contact a Glendale auto accident attorney. Every case is unique, and figuring out how to handle yours will not be easy. If you are already dealing with a severe injury, filling out paperwork and gathering evidence is the last thing you want to do. Thankfully, a skilled attorney can help you through the entire process.
Working with competent legal counsel is vital to the success of your claim, as insurance companies will attempt to minimize the amount of compensation. If you are without an attorney, they will try to buy you off with a low settlement offer. Without legal counsel, you may find yourself without enough money to provide for yourself and your family after a serious injury.
At Aghabegian & Associates, PC, we scrutinize each case to establish the maximum compensation deserved – and then pursue it with the full force of our decades of experience and knowledge. We have successfully recovered millions for our clients. Serving clients throughout Los Angeles County, we are a multilingual (English, Farsi, Spanish, and French) firm that is here to help you through this challenging time. Call us today at (818) 507-4311 for a free consultation.
- The Types Of Distracted Driving And How To Avoid Them
- Distracted Driving And Teens: Educating Your Child
- Distracted Driving - CA Office of Traffic Safety
- Distracted Driving - CDC
- Distracted Driving - NHTSA
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