Holding Negligent Drivers Liable for Injuries
Distracted driving: most people know exactly how dangerous it is. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped countless drivers from checking their phones, putting on makeup, or even eating while behind the wheel. These negligent drivers are responsible for thousands of victims. Many will try to defend their actions, or even pin the blame on their victims to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Even worse, their insurance providers will back them up. That is why you need a skilled attorney by your side.
If you were injured in a distracted driving accident, then we want to help. We at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, understand that this must be a traumatic time for you, but we have the skill to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact a Boulder car accident lawyer at Tenge Law Firm, LLC today at (303) 665-2929 to schedule your free consultation, and learn more about how we can help you.
Injuries in Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving injuries occur when a distracted driver, whether one who is texting and driving or one who is engaging in other distracting behaviors behind the wheel, causes an accident. This accident can involve the distracted driver and another car, or multiple cars, pedestrians, or cyclists. Due to the fact that distracted drivers rarely see the oncoming traffic or pedestrians before the collision, they rarely slow down, which can make the accident all the more catastrophic. Injuries caused by distracted drivers can include:
- Spinal cord trauma
- Broken bones
- Strains and sprains
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Loss of limb
Recovering from a damaged spine, a brain injury, or an amputation is not easy. It requires a long stay in the hospital, multiple surgeries, and non-stop appointments with a physical therapist. Of course, even debilitating injuries are better than the alternative. Countless people are killed every year due to distracted drivers, who are a major source of wrongful death cases, and the reason why so many families lose those they love. If you have lost a loved one to a distracted driver, it is important to remember that justice is possible.
The Different Types of Distraction
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three types of distraction that a driver can suffer from, all equally dangerous:
Visual distractions: This kind of distraction involves a driver looking away from the road. Visual distractions can last just a few seconds, but that is more than enough time to result in an accident. Kinds of visual distractions include looking at a phone, rubbernecking, or being distracted by something on the side of the road, as well as looking at a hands-free device such as a GPS.
Manual distractions: A manual distraction occurs when a driver has taken one or both hands off the wheel. Given that the wheel is what a driver uses to move the vehicle, being manually distracted is incredibly dangerous, as a driver may lose control of the car, or may not have enough time to react to sudden objects in the road. A driver can become manually distracted by fiddling with the radio, eating while driving, or texting.
Cognitive distractions: This means that someone’s mind is not on the road. A driver could look as though he is paying attention, with his eyes on the street, but his mind is somewhere else. This means that the driver could easily overlook clear dangers in the road, such as pedestrians. There are many ways to become cognitively distracted, such as by becoming too involved in a conversation with a passenger, daydreaming, or talking with someone over a hands-free device.
Cellphones are incredibly dangerous when it comes to driving. Drivers will take their hands off the wheel, look away from the road, and focus on what’s on the screen, rather than what’s in front of the car – all three types of distraction in one! When drivers become distracted, there is no one to blame for the resulting accident but the distracted driver.
Who Is at Fault for Distracted Driving Injuries?
Drivers have a responsibility to those on the road around them to behave responsibly. If a driver becomes distracted, even if it’s just for a second, then that driver is the one at fault. Every driver should know better than to let himself become distracted on the road, and if he doesn’t, then he should not have been issued a driving license.
That being said, it is possible that the driver or his insurance will try to blame you for the accident. Perhaps you crossed the street where there wasn’t a crosswalk, or you stopped suddenly without giving proper warning. Whatever the reason, you should always keep in mind that Colorado is comparative negligence state, which means that so long as you are less than 50% responsible, you can still recover compensation. While that compensation will be reduced, it does not mean your claim will fall apart, as you will still be able to recover some damages.
What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Distracted Driving Injury?
After a distracted driving accident, you may have been left with a great deal of medical debt and financial hardship. It can be difficult to see how you will ever recover. However, with a successful claim, there are several types of damages that can often be recovered depending on the injuries sustained. These include:
- Lost wages
- Past and future medical bills
- Loss of employment
- Loss of job opportunities
- Lowered quality of life
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
With a personal injury claim, you can get enough in compensation to pay off any bills you have been left with, and perhaps have enough left over to take the time you truly need to finish healing. If you have lost a loved one to a distracted driver, you can still file a claim to recover damages for funeral expenses, loss of financial contribution, and loss of companionship. However, you will only be awarded these damages if you have a successful claim. While the distracted driver is at fault, they will also do what they can to defend their actions.
How Do Distracted Drivers Defend Against Claims?
Proving that a driver was distracted at the time of the accident can be difficult, especially without images or video of the accident itself. Many cases rely on witness testimony, which can often be unreliable. The primary defense in distracted driving cases is often to attempt to prove that the driver was not distracted at the time of the accident. However, defendants may also attempt to shift blame for the accident to the plaintiff, which can help reduce legal consequences and decrease or eliminate the penalties the driver could experience as a result of the accident.
Insurance companies may also try to reduce the amount of the settlement you might receive by making a low settlement offer in the initial days following the accident. In this case, working with a lawyer is the most effective way to ensure that you don’t sign a low settlement offer that will prevent you from getting the funds you need to pay for recovery from your injuries.
What Will a Distracted Driving Lawyer Cost Me?
When you’re injured in a distracted driving accident, the last thing you want to worry about is an additional expense for an attorney. When you contact Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we’ll set up a free consultation to discuss your accident, and any settlement offers you may have received. In many cases, we may be able to take your case on a contingent fee basis: this means our fees are calculated only as a portion of any settlement or judgment obtained, and we don’t get paid until you do.
After a distracted driving accident, you need a competent legal team that will be at your side whether you’re settling out of court or presenting a case before a jury. Contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC online today or call our office at (303) 665-2929 to set up your free consultation or to learn more about how we can help you.