Distractions abound today, whether it's on the road or the sidewalk. They can be a serious problem for drivers. If a driver's distraction on the road causes an accident, and you get injured, you may have a personal injury claim to file. At Law Offices of Paul L. Schneiderman, our personal injury lawyer in Washington can review your case, help identify if a distraction was the cause or a contributing cause to an accident, and then lay out your options for you. Making sure you get the compensation you deserve is the best way you can recover and regain your life. Contact us online or at 206-464-1952 to learn more.
Is Distracted Driving in Washington Considered Negligence?
The short, unsatisfying answer to this question is: maybe. In order to understand when and how distracted driving can be considered negligence, it is important to understand what, exactly, comprises negligence.
Negligence is a theory in tort law that allows people to obtain compensation if four specific elements are present and proven: duty, breach, causation, and damages. First, the other party must have a duty to act in a certain way. Next, they must have breached this duty and the breach must have led to your injury and the damages flowing from the injury. Finally, the party seeking compensation must have actually incurred damages.
To apply negligence to distracted driving, you have to consider if the driver or another person owed you a duty of care. Drivers owe everyone on and around the roadways a duty of care to drive safely and in accordance with the law. If the driver was distracted and, for example, struck your vehicle and you suffered whiplash, then that's negligence only if your vehicle was damaged and/or the whiplash was real and required medical attention that resulted in medical bills. If your car was not damaged and you suffered no injury, then though the driver may have been negligent, it will not qualify you for compensation.
Common Distractions while Driving in King County/State of Washington
Anything that takes your attention away from the road while driving can be considered a distraction. However, different types of distractions can impact drivers in different ways.
Visual distractions are anything that takes a driver's eyes off of the road. Some examples of visual distractions include texting, changing the radio station, or turning around to communicate with someone in the backseat. It is obviously critical for drivers to be able to see what is going on on the road in front of them, which means that seemingly minor visual distractions can have devastating consequences.
Manual distractions are anything that makes a driver take their hands off the wheel while driving. Manual distractions may seem less dangerous than visual distractions if a driver still has their eyes on the road, but some situations require split second reactions, and not having hands on the wheel to be able to immediately react can be the difference between a close call and a serious accident.
Cognitive distractions are anything that take a driver's mind off of the road. They are similar to manual distractions in that they can seem more benign than visual accidents, but can have the same catastrophic consequences. Cognitive distractions can be anything from chatting with a friend to simply thinking hard about an emotional situation.
Compensation You Can Expect after a King County/State of Washington Distracted Driving Accident
One of the main concerns many car accident victims have is being made financially whole after their accident. There are many things that an accident victim could potentially be eligible to seek compensation for, and they generally fit into a couple of main categories.
Economic damages are financial losses that victims incur, which include things like medical bills, replacing a car, and even lost wages from being unable to work. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intended to compensate a victim for the pain and suffering that they experience as a result of their accident.
Why You Need a Auto Accident Attorney in King County/State of Washington
After making sure that your medical needs are taken care of, it is important to make sure that your legal interests are protected. The other parties in your case will try to take advantage of you while you are in a vulnerable state. Having an attorney by your side is critical to make sure your interests and rights are upheld.
In distracted driving cases, it is also important to have an auto accident attorney represent you who has experience with such cases. The evidence can fall on highly technical or hard to prove claims, and so you want the experience an attorney has to offer. You do not want to settle for less than what is owed, especially if your injuries are significant.
Contact an Auto Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer in Washington Today
At Law Offices of Paul L. Schneiderman, it is our job to make sure you get the representation you need in your personal injury claim. Distracted driving cases can be straightforward or complex––regardless of the latter, we are here to help. Contact our auto accident and personal injury legal team at 206-464-1952 to schedule a free consultation and to get the advocacy you deserve.