When Do You Need a Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyer?
What is distracted driving? What happens if someone crashes into you or your car because they were distracted? When do you need a distracted driver car accident attorney?
We at the law offices of Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann have compiled this primer (with accompanying video) on what distracted driving is, and how you might identify it after an accident has occurred. We’ve also created a checklist to assist you in case an incident of distracted driving becomes a legal matter.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident where you believe the other party was responsible, distracted while driving, or negligent, call our offices at (205) 322-8880 with your questions and concerns.
In the meantime, here are the basics about distracted driving.
Table of Contents:
- Distracted Driving: Definition and Explainer Video
- What Distracted Driving Might Look Like After a Car Accident
- Checklist: What Should You Do or Document After a Distracted Driving Accident?
- What a Car Accident Settlement or Damage Award Could Mean for You
- Client Reviews and Testimonials for Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann
- Contact a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
- Distracted Driving FAQ
Distracted Driving: Definition and Explainer Video
What is distracted driving? Is it driving over a beautiful new bridge and looking up to admire it? Is it texting while driving? Is it both? Here are some definitions and examples of distracted driving, as well as an explainer video that can help you identify a distracted driver after an accident.
Distracted Driving: Definition
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is “any activity that diverts attention from driving,” including:
- Talking or texting on your phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to people in your vehicle
- Fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system
- Reaching for items in the glove compartment, back seat, or sun visor
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides broad categories of inclusion:
- Visual distraction (taking your eyes off the road)
- Manual distraction (taking your hands off the wheel)
- Cognitive distraction (taking your mind off driving)
You may see these definitions and think, “Can I even scratch my nose while driving? What happens if I sneeze?” However, these guidelines are in place for the safety of all drivers and passengers. One moment of distraction could result in a lifetime of guilt, pain, or anguish.
How to Identify a Distracted Driver After a Car Accident: Explainer Video
Distracted driving is dangerous, just like driving under the influence or driving when extremely tired. If you’ve been involved in an accident with another driver whom you suspect wasn’t paying appropriate attention to the road, what should you do?
A PDF of the video content can be downloaded here.
What Distracted Driving Might Look Like After a Car Accident
When you pull over to exchange information with another driver after a rear-end collision or car accident, signs of distracted driving may include:
- An unrestrained pet (a dog, cat, or bird) or unbelted children
- Reflective danglers on their rearview mirror (crystals, disco balls, flashy metallic objects)
- Active electronic devices on their passenger seat (an open laptop or tablet)
- Open snack bags or fresh fast food in their center console
- A blaring radio or backseat movie
- Objects cluttering the dashboard or driver’s side seat well (thermoses or trash items that could interfere with the foot pedals for gas and/or brake)
One of these circumstances could have distracted the other driver for enough time to cause an accident, and two or more may indicate an unsafe driver.
Checklist: What Should You Do or Document After a Distracted Driving Accident?
Once you are safe and have received any necessary medical attention, here are a few things you can do if you think the other driver may have been distracted behind the wheel.
- Take pictures: If there’s an opportunity to take pictures of the exterior damage of each car, also try to include the state of the other car’s interior. If the other driver seems aggressive, it may be wise to do this discreetly.
- Report observations to police: Include what you noticed about the other car in the police report, as this may serve as strong, witnessed evidence later should this car accident become a legal matter.
- Record a message to yourself: A voice memo or email sent to yourself at the time of the accident would show the time stamp of these recollections. If the police aren’t called, or if you remember information later that you forgot to include, the closer these recollections are to the accident, the more trustworthy they are (since memory alone is not always reliable).
- Contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible: A car accident lawyer with a proven history of well-handled cases likely has a wealth of information on distracted driving. Specifically, an accident attorney knows what qualifies as distracted driving in a legal setting and how to prove it. They can advise you on what to look for and how to best document it.
The lawyers at Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann have a long list of successful case results in the areas of car accidents, trucking and motorcycle collisions, and other vehicular incidents. Call us at (205) 322-8880 to discuss your situation today, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation to get specific answers to your questions.
What a Car Accident Settlement or Damage Award Could Mean for You
If you’ve suffered any injuries due to a car accident, it is wise to speak to an attorney at your earliest ability. Your injuries need your attention to heal, while seeking compensation for those injuries is the job of a distracted driving car accident lawyer.
Should you receive a settlement or damage award, here is what that amount could cover:
- Medical costs: Whether your injuries are severe (broken bones, scarring injuries, damage done to joints/ligaments), or relatively mild (bruises or whiplash that completely heal over time), any cost associated with care or treatment of your injuries deserves to be compensated.
- Property damage: Your vehicle, and any items inside of it (including perhaps the clothing you wore during the accident) may need to be repaired or replaced. If the other driver was at fault for this accident, these costs should belong to them and not to you.
- Pain and suffering: Car accidents are often upsetting. Even accidents where there are no impact injuries can cause psychological harm in the form of stress, panic attacks, depression, and anxiety. The pain associated with broken bones is well established, but an experienced car accident attorney may know ways to show emotional pain as well. For example, physical symptoms that result from emotional damages could include ulcers, hair loss, skin reactions, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, faintness, or nausea and vomiting. These are sufferings that can be seen by outside observers, and thus may be easier to prove legally.
- Punitive damages: In cases involving a car accident, distracted drivers may be required to pay “punitive” or punishment costs. This is something a judge may decide is appropriate if the other driver was behaving recklessly and endangering others. An extra penalty for bad behavior while driving is meant to teach a lesson. These damages may be awarded to you on top of your support/recovery/repair needs.
- Loss of income: If you’ve had to take time off work to deal with this accident, that loss of income may be accounted for. This could include the time spent to report the accident, get medical treatment, and/or pursue legal redress.
A call to a distracted driving attorney may help you understand just how much damage one accident has caused to your life. In time, money, and energy, you’re paying for someone else’s mistake if they were driving while distracted and caused a crash. Allow the car accident lawyers at Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann to share our knowledge by contacting us today.
Client Reviews and Testimonials for Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann
Hear the experiences of previous clients at Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann.
I hired this firm to handle my personal injury case. They were upfront and the communication was exceptional. They were able to negotiate a fair and just settlement on my behalf. My initial conversation was with Jon Mann, who was very patient, answered ALL of my initial questions, and gave me confidence to hire the firm. Austin Whitten (who ended up being my attorney) and Lindsey Adkins were absolutely amazing. I would highly recommend this firm. They are professional, thorough, empathetic, and very honest.
I was very pleased with the work that Mike Bradley did for us. I had been injured in an accident and was in quite a bit of pain for some time. Mike always treated me like a person and not a case. He never failed to return a call and kept us apprised of what was going on. I had a time when I had to be totally focused on recovery, he was able to take care of the situation and I didn’t have to worry about it. I owe him a lot of thanks.
I had a great experience working with Mr. Jon Mann and his team! Ms. Rebekah Hicks was always ready to answer any questions that I had throughout the process! They were completely transparent and open about the process of my case! The whole team operated in a very professional and respectful manner. If you ever find yourself in need of a team of attorneys, I would highly recommend using this firm! Such a great group of professionals to work with!
Jon Mann changed my opinion about lawyers. He is an honest, sincere, and very personable attorney that worked diligently on our case. Jon made a very unpleasant experience almost a pleasure. He truly has impacted my life and I feel honored that he represented our case with such drive and compassion, which helped get the most from a very unfortunate situation. The personal touch he added made me feel he truly cared about me. Thank you for being the person you are.
Contact a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Located in Birmingham, Alabama, the offices of Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann work on cases nationwide. We are zealous in our advocacy for clients, and unafraid of contentious or difficult cases if that is what justice demands.
Please do not hesitate if you’re involved in a car accident case where distracted driving may be the cause. We are happy to do the work to make sure the poor decisions of someone else don’t continue to impact your health and well-being.
The poor decisions of someone else should not continue to impact your health and well-being. Reach out to Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann at (205) 322-8880 with your questions about a potential distracted driving car accident.
Distracted Driving FAQ
What is the definition of distracted driving?
Any activity that diverts attention from driving is considered distracted driving, including behaviors like:
- Texting, talking, or typing on electronic devices
- Eating or drinking
- Engaging with passengers
- Adjusting the radio, navigation, or in-car entertainment
- Reaching for items in the back seat, glove compartment, or sun visors
After an accident, how can I tell if the other driver was distracted?
After a car accident, evidence of distracted driving may be present, such as:
- An unrestrained pet or unbelted children
- Reflective danglers on their rearview mirror
- Active electronic devices on their passenger seat
- Open snack bags or fast food in their center console
- A blaring radio or TV
- Objects cluttering the driver’s side seat well or dashboard
What does a distracted driving settlement look like?
If the other driver is proven to have caused the accident due to preventable distractions, your compensation could include coverage for:
- Medical costs
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive or “punishment” damages levied against the other driver
- Loss of income
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