Each year, thousands of motorists are injured due to distracted drivers who take their attention away from the road for just a few seconds too long. Distracted driving not only puts those behind the wheel at risk, but also endangers pedestrians and other drivers on the road.
The consequences of this hazardous behavior can be devastating. If you are harmed financially, physically, or psychologically in a collision with a distracted driver, you need to contact a car accident lawyer now. Contact a Santa Ana distracted driving accident attorney at Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers today.
Common Distractions Behind the Wheel
There are several ways that a driver can be distracted while driving, including but not limited to using a mobile phone:
- Visual distractions: This can include looking away from the road to check phone notifications or read a conversation, or glancing at billboards or other roadside things.
- Cognitive distractions: Engaging in conversations with others can prove distracting, whether it is on the phone or with other passengers. Any time thoughts drift off to work, family, or personal issues, it can be hazardous.
- Auditory distractions: Loud noises such as horns, construction, sirens, and other traffic noises can break a driver’s concentration off the road for a moment.
- Manual distractions: Adjusting mirrors or fiddling vehicle and phone settings can take one’s hands off the wheel, as can reaching for items that have fallen onto the floor.
California Laws on Distracted Driving
Understanding what constitutes distracted driving as well as gathering evidence of the other driver’s behavior is invaluable when building a case.
According to California Vehicle Code § 23123.5(a), it is illegal to operate a vehicle while holding a mobile phone. Although the code is commonly understood to regulate texting or talking while driving, it makes no mention of specific activities, only in how the device is held in the hand.
An exception is given if the phone is mounted on the vehicle’s dashboard or center console such that it can be operated with a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger. The first violation will cost a minimum of $162 and will increase with each subsequent violation.
In addition, under CVC § 23124, drivers under 18 are expressly forbidden from operating a vehicle while using a mobile phone, even if using a hands-free function. The first violation will cost a minimum of $20, and also increase with each subsequent violation.
How to prove the other driver was distracted
If you are involved in an accident, there are several ways to tell if the other driver may not have been focusing on the road.
Observe their driving habits
The other driver may display symptoms of distraction, such as not being able to maintain their lane, swerving, or not holding a constant speed. They may also brake suddenly out of reflex, even if there was no reason to do so.
Examine their posture
A driver holding something in their hand is a telltale indicator that they are distracted, whether it’s an electronic device or food or drink. You might also observe them leaning down to reach for something in their vehicle.
Go to any surveillance footage available
Dashcam footage can be invaluable in determining whether the other driver was distracted, as it provides an indisputable record of their driving habits. Depending on where the collision occurred, surveillance footage from a nearby residence or business may have observed it and is worth investigation.
Refer to the police report
If a police report was taken, it may indicate that the other driver may have been at fault. It’s vital that police are called at the time of the incident, as they may be able to conduct an accident reconstruction and more conclusively state what had occurred.
If there were any witnesses that may have seen the accident, they can provide testimony as to how the other driver was operating their vehicle.
Compensation Available for Distracted Driving Accident Victims
If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you should seek compensation to cover any damages, injuries or psychological trauma that may have resulted.
This may result in compensation for lost wages and time away from work, pain and suffering, and the medical attention or counseling you received.
Hire an Attorney After a Distracted Driving Accident in Santa Ana
If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can help you gather evidence to support your claim and build a case.
A skilled lawyer can determine whether there is sufficient evidence of negligence on behalf of the other driver, and what kind of compensation may be available for any resulting damages or injuries. An attorney also can also provide invaluable guidance throughout the legal process and ensure that all relevant parties are held accountable for their actions. Ultimately, seeking legal advice is key to receiving justice and securing fair monetary compensation for your suffering.
Car Accident Case FAQs
What if I feel I don’t have a case?
Even if you are missing key evidence like dashcam footage, it’s always worth a consultation with an attorney. Building a case is more than the sum of its parts, and all available items will be considered.
Do vehicles contain any recording information?
Yes! Some newer models contain event data recorders that collect information about speed, acceleration, steering, and braking. This information can be shown that you employed all due defensive driving techniques prior to a crash. Consult your vehicle documentation for further information.