Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving has long been a serious issue on the nation’s roadways and is now significantly complicated by the use of mobile phones. In 2021 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 14% of all injuries in crashes were distraction-related. While Utah law prohibits using a wireless communication device or text messaging while driving, crashes continue to occur. The problem is not limited to cell phone use. Other types of distraction-affected crashes occur daily on U.S. roadways.
The legal responsibility of drivers operating vehicles is to stay focused on the tasks at hand. If a driver’s negligent actions injure you, it is essential to have an attorney represent you and protect your rights. Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated because you must prove critical elements about a defendant’s obligations to have a viable case. Siegfried and Jensen have experienced attorneys who understand Utah personal injury law and fight to get you fair compensation.
What Are Types of Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention away from the responsibilities of operating a vehicle. In a matter of seconds, a driver whose attention is diverted away from the road can cause serious injuries or fatalities. Sometimes a driver’s actions are clearly negligent, and, at other times, the individual may have caused an accident by responding to a legitimate issue. It is important to speak with a Utah legal professional about the circumstances that caused an accident before proceeding with a case. These are the main categories of distracted driving accidents.
In today’s tech environment, car touchscreens provide a lot of handy features and serious distractions all in one. Many of these displays mirror the technology of smartphones, and people lose track of driving while using onboard systems. People are also distracted by simple things like choosing music selections, adjusting temperature controls and mirrors, or searching for something inside the vehicle. Watching videos or scrolling social media apps are other hazards. There are also numerous visual distractions outside of cars that cause drivers to look away from the road.
Driving is a skill that requires concentration. Daydreaming, chatting with passengers, talking over a hands-free device, or listening to music or programs are all ways drivers fail to maintain attention to detail. Problems occur when drivers don’t notice traffic safety signs, distance from other cars, speed limits, or other essential driving cues which put other individuals in danger.
A common driving distraction is reaching for something inside a vehicle and letting go of the steering wheel. People frequently engage in these activities while at the wheel:
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting onboard GPS, sound systems, and temperature controls
- Retrieving items from different parts of the car
- Giving items to passengers in the back seats
- Managing unrestrained pets
These activities and many more mean people are taking significant risks that cause accidents and hurt other drivers. Attorneys are experienced in handling these issues and can usually determine quickly whether a case has merit. Not all situations are clear-cut, so it’s vital to get consultation on whether your case meets the criteria for negligent harm.
What Do You Need To Prove in a Utah Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury case hinges on proving a defendant’s liability for a plaintiff’s injury. These are four elements necessary to prove standard negligence:
- Duty: You must show that a defendant owed you a duty of care. A driver must follow traffic safety rules (including those governing mobile phones) to keep other drivers safe, which is a duty of care that is owed by law.
- Breach: You must show that a defendant breached this duty creating the potential for harm. This could be that a defendant texted while driving, which is in violation of the law and caused the accident.
- Cause: You must show that the defendant’s actions were the direct cause of your injury. If the defendant had acted differently, you would not have been injured.
- Harm: You must show that the defendant caused you actual harm. If you were not injured, there is no cause for damages.
A Utah lawyer guides you through the entire personal injury lawsuit process. If your case goes to trial, you need legal representation. You may require medical care for years and have to deal with a lifetime of pain and suffering due to your injuries. We care about you and want to help you get the justice you deserve.
Why Does Distracted Driving Carry Such a High Risk of Injury?
The most fundamental aspect of driving is being alert to what’s happening around the vehicle. Many drivers get overconfident about their abilities to multitask and pay attention. When drivers take their eyes off the road, it often occurs for a more extended time than they assume. Even in a partially attentive state, they can lose critical reaction time where a few seconds matter.
Whether it’s a car, motorcycle or commercial vehicle, the injuries are often devastating. The main reason is that a distracted driver doesn’t have to travel at high speed to cause significant damage. A higher speeds, it is even harder to gain control and avoid an accident.
Driving a commercial vehicle while distracted raises the stakes much higher for the likelihood of a tragic event. Truckers get distracted for similar reasons as other drivers. However, the weight, speed and size of semi-trucks make them lethal when out of control. These are some serious injuries to drivers and occupants of vehicles resulting from a trucker getting distracted:
- Crushing injuries (internal and limbs)
- Severe burns
- Loss of limbs
- Traumatic brain injury
- Nerve damage
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prohibits the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving and texting while driving. The FMCSA has numerous regulations truckers must follow while operating commercial vehicles. When truckers’ negligent actions cause injuries, personal injury lawyers know how to use applicable laws to hold defendants accountable.
Is There a Time Limit To File a Utah Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury cases in Utah are subject to a statute of limitations. You are allowed up to four years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to file on time and then decide to pursue your case, it will most likely be dismissed. The laws on these matters are binding, with very few exceptions.
While Utah gives ample time to bring a personal injury suit, it is never a good plan to delay getting legal help. Depending on the circumstances, a personal injury case can take time to resolve. Attorneys must gather evidence and prepare a case. They may require the assistance of accident reconstruction specialists and other experts. Time is on your side if you begin the legal journey right away after you are injured in an accident.
Get Help From a Utah Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident
The law firm of Siegfried and Jensen is ready to help when a distracted driver hurts you in an accident. There are many legal complexities involved in a personal injury lawsuit. If you lose your right to recover, the outcome for you and those you love could be disastrous.
We have a team of experienced Utah attorneys who know how serious injuries can affect your life. We get paid when your case is settled or won, so there are no out-of-pocket costs. Contact us for a free case evaluation and see how our services make a difference.
You Need an Attorney Who Understands Utah Driving Law
When you get into an accident with someone who was driving distractedly, you want someone who will fight for what you deserve. Siegfried and Jensen is here for you.
Siegfried and Jensen is your best choice for experience when it comes to Utah-based distracted driving incidents. Our accident attorneys understand the laws and procedures that encompass distracted driving.
When you team up with our experienced accident lawyers, you can expect the best:
- We’ll answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the entire process.
- We’ll help you get what you need to recover your old life or adapt to a new one.
- We’ll put together the information needed to build your case, including medical records, police reports, insurance policies, expert testimony, etc.
- We’ll make sure the insurance company plays by the rules and treats you fairly.
Whether you were in an accident because of your distracted driving or the other driver’s distraction, contact Siegfried and Jensen today for a free, no-pressure consultation.