Seattle Distracted Driver Accident Lawyers
Injured by a Distracted Driver in Washington? Call Us
Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents. With the ever-growing popularity of cell phones and other devices, distracted driving is only becoming more prevalent. Washington officials are doing their part by enforcing cell phone use laws but that is not enough to deter all distracted drivers. If a distracted driver has injured you or a loved one in a car crash, do not hesitate to seek the help and counsel of an experienced Seattle car accident attorney.
The Three Types of Distracted Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) breaks down distracted driving into three parts:
- Visual: This is when a driver takes his or her eyes off the roadway
- Cognitive: This is when a driver loses focus
- Manual: This is when a driver takes his or her hands off the wheel.
One of the most common forms of distracted driving is cell phone use. Holding a cell phone is an act of manual distraction, as you have removed one hand from the steering wheel to pick up the phone. It is a visual distraction as you look at the phone to enter a number. Finally, it is a cognitive distraction as you focus on both your conversation and driving.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) surveyed over 22,300 vehicle drivers and discovered that nearly 1 out of 10 drivers in Washington State are distracted while driving. Of the drivers surveyed, 71% were engaging with their phones. Statewide, deaths from distracted driving increased by 32% from 2014 to 2015. The state government is responding strongly to this troubling trend.
Does Washington Allow Cell Phones While Driving?
Talking on a handheld phone while driving is illegal in Washington; as is texting. RCW 46.61.667 states: "A person operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to his or her ear is guilty of a traffic infraction." The legislature went further in 2017 with the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act, which virtually bans all use of handheld devices while driving – even when stopped at a red light. Violators can get a ticket for over $100 on the first offense, and over $200 on the second offense.
The exceptions are that drivers may use mounted cell phones with “minimal finger use” for directions (but not video); they may use built-in hands-free device systems; and they may call 911 for emergencies. Using a handheld device while driving is now a primary offense, meaning that Washington police officers can pull someone over just for using a cell phone.
What About Other Forms of Distracted Driving?
Other acts of distracted driving which have been known to cause car accidents include:
- Reaching for a moving object while driving
- Eating while driving
- Checking a GPS
- Changing the radio
- Fiddling with temperature controls
- Putting on makeup
- Talking to passengers
These distractions are considered secondary offenses in Washington and will lead to an additional fine if the driver is given a citation for a primary offense, but they will still come into play in a court of law if a distracted driver crashes into someone and causes an injury.
If a Distracted Driver Caused Your Crash
A life can be destroyed in the seconds another driver takes his or her eyes off of the road to send a text or make a call while driving. Any driver who allows himself to be distracted has made a choice to ignore the law and put others in danger.
If your serious injury was caused by distracted driver, you may pursue compensation through filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The decision to take legal action can seem overwhelming due to the complex nature of the personal injury process. However, with the guidance of a compassionate lawyer, you can rest assured that your legal rights will be protected. A successful personal injury case not only assists an accident survivor with finances, but can also bring emotional healing through closure once the reckless party is held accountable.
Determining Liability for a Distracted Driver Accident in Washington
To pursue compensation for an injury accident, the victim of the crash may have to prove that the other driver's negligence caused the crash. Proving that the at-fault motorist was distracted is not always easy. Drivers afraid of being cited by the authorities for causing a crash may deny that they were distracted. In such cases, an experienced personal injury attorney may be needed to prove the cause of the crash.
What Types of Damages Are Available in Washington?
The damages that may be available to a crash victim depend on the details of the accident and the extent of the injuries suffered.
Car crashes can cause catastrophic injuries that can take years to recover from, and some survivors may spend the rest of their lives with a permanent disability. Depending on the severity of a crash, a person may suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, crush injury, burn injury, or other devastating injuries.
One of the biggest concerns in a personal injury case is making sure that the claimant will receive enough compensation to cover past and future medical care in addition to lost wages. Calculating non-economic damages, such as loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and others, can seem impossible, but an experienced Seattle distracted driving lawyer will know how to do it.
Should I File a Personal Injury Claim?
Distracted drivers should be held liable for damages they cause, such as medical bills, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. It is common for someone who pursued damages without the help of a skilled attorney to either settle for much less or to have the claim denied. A skilled personal injury attorney will give an injured victim his or her best chance at getting the maximum compensation available.
Distracted drivers put everyone on the roadway at risk. The Seattle distracted driver accident lawyers at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., make sure that the injured victims of these negligent drivers are able to get financial compensation for their losses. We provide no-cost consultations and comprehensive case evaluations to injured victims and their families. Call us today at (888) 228-3860.
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