Distracted driving is a growing problem in Northern Virginia. To combat the problem in Arlington and the entire state, Virginia passed a hands-free law that went into effect on January 1, 2020. If you or someone you know has been injured because of a distracted driver, the personal injury attorneys at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP can help.
What is distracted driving?
Stated simply, distracted driving is driving while you’re engaged in another activity that diverts your attention from the road, your car, and your surroundings. Distractions are divided into three categories.
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: removing your hands from the wheel
- Cognitive: distractions that take your mind off driving
Driving is a complex process that requires complete attention. A car traveling at 55 miles per hour can travel the length of a football field in five seconds. That’s about the same amount of time it takes to read a text message. A lot can go wrong in five seconds.
Common Driving Distractions
Many car accidents can be avoided by eliminating driver distractions. All drivers must be aware of potential distractions and take steps to minimize them. The most common distractions include:
- Texting while driving
- Using a GPS
- Talking to passengers
- Tending to kids or pets
- Adjusting the radio or climate controls
- Eating and drinking
Other drivers have reported that daydreaming, applying makeup, and simply being drowsy are also problematic. If you’ve been injured because of someone was driving while distracted, you could be entitled to compensation.
Distracted Driving by the Numbers
According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, 3,142 people died in 2019 because of accidents caused by distracted driving. The CDC says that an estimated 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving cases in 2018. In 2019, 39% of high school students who drove in the previous 30 days sent a text or email while driving, according to the same CDC report.
What to Do If You’ve Been in an Accident Caused by Distracted Driving in Arlington, VA
There are some steps you should take if you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, no matter the cause. If you’ve been involved in a car crash you should:
- Check yourself and your passengers for injuries, and call 911 if anyone is injured;
- If able, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic;
- Move yourself to safety;
- Call the authorities to report the accident;
- While waiting, exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers involved in the crash;
- Take photos of the crash scene and any damage;
- Get contact information from any potential witnesses;
- Call your insurance agent to report the accident and start the claims process;
- Call a personal injury attorney.
Make sure you tell the police who are writing your accident report if you suspect the other driver was distracted. Be prepared to tell them your observations so they can note them in their report.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help After an Accident
It’s not uncommon for people to think that after a crash the insurance companies will simply pay the claims. Often that’s not true. This is especially the case in circumstances where fault is not clear.
Remember, insurance companies are for-profit businesses and would prefer to keep as much money as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer can be of benefit for many reasons. Some ways an attorney can help include:
- Initiate a thorough investigation of your accident;
- Provide access to great medical providers;
- Utilize medical and accident reconstruction experts;
- Negotiate with insurance companies;
- Represent you at trial, if necessary;
- Expedite the payout of your compensation as much as possible.
Working with a personal injury attorney offers many benefits. When you’ve been injured, let your attorney navigate the legal process so you can focus on getting well.
When you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, the law provides for you to receive financial relief. The legal term for this kind of compensation is “damages.”
As the result of injury and property loss, you could collect damages to cover:
- Current and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages and lost earning potential;
- Property damage;
- Loss of companionship or consortium;
- Pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one was injured in a distracted driving collision, you have a limited time in which to file a claim for these damages. Under Virginia law, any legal action must be taken within two years from the date of the accident.
If You Were Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident in Arlington, Call Us
The attorneys at Koonz McKenney Johnson and DePaolis in Arlington, VA, will work to get you the compensation you may be entitled to under the law.
Our proven track record of compassionate and effective representation for our clients helps assure you of our commitment to your case. Contact us as soon as possible to make sure your rights are protected.