It is illegal for drivers in New York to operate a cell phone or other handheld mobile device behind the wheel. However, in spite of the law, distracted driving remains a major problem. Today, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in Albany and the Capital District.
Distracted driving is dangerous not only to the careless driver behind the wheel but nearby motorists, pedestrians, and others in the vicinity. When serious injuries occur as a result of distracted driving, the victim should not have to bear the physical, emotional, and financial burdens by themselves.
If you or a loved one was injured or you lost a loved one in a crash caused by a distracted driver, the car accident lawyers at Dreyer Boyajian LLP can help you pursue maximum compensation for the losses you have suffered. Please call (518) 463-7784 for a free consultation in Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, and other nearby areas of New York.
Safely driving a car requires complete attentiveness to the physical, visual, and cognitive requirements of the task at hand. Any kind of distraction that draws the eyes from the road, the hands from the wheel, or the mind from the task of driving increases the likelihood of an accident.
As such, although cell phone use is the activity most closely associated with distracted driving, a number of different distractions can cause a driver to crash. These include:
Each of these distractions can increase the risk of an accident. However, cell phone use while driving is uniquely dangerous in that it compromises the manual, visual, and cognitive focus drivers need to operate their vehicles safely.
According to the most recent data from the New York State Police, more than 87,000 crashes in 2018 occurred due to “driver inattention/distraction.” In New York, inattentive or distracted driving is the number-one cause of accidents where injury or property damage occurs.
In spite of this, the penalty for cell phone use while driving is relatively mild: a $50-$200 fine and points off of one’s driver license for a first offense. As a result, drivers who are typically glued to their devices are likely to ignore the law – often to a tragic outcome.
If you are in a car accident and you believe the at-fault driver was texting or otherwise distracted at the time of the collision, it is important to take steps as soon as possible to start building your claim. These steps include:
When you call 911 after the accident, be sure to ask for the police to respond. An officer will arrive at the scene to document the accident and take statements from those involved.
It is important to be honest about what you recall before, during, and after the accident. When you give your statement, be sure to tell the officer if you saw anything that makes you suspect distracted driving, such as:
Before speaking to the officer, take a moment to gather your thoughts. Report what you saw in a measured, even tone without engaging in hyperbole. The more matter-of-fact you are in making your statement, the more credible your claim.
If anyone witnessed the accident, their account can help substantiate your version of events. Bystanders such as pedestrians and other motorists may have seen the at-fault driver using a cell phone or driving recklessly due to distraction, and it is important to speak with them about what they saw.
When speaking to witnesses, it is important not to lead them into agreeing with you. Simply ask what they saw, then take down their name and contact information.
Once you have received treatment for the injuries you sustain in the accident, your next priority should be seeking legal representation. Experience is key in any legal claim, so be sure to ask what experience the lawyer or firm has with distracted driving accidents.
When you contact an accident lawyer, be sure to share all of the information you have about the accident. This includes:
Once you hire a lawyer, he or she will act as your advocate going forward. This includes acting on your behalf in communications with the insurance company, handling negotiations for a settlement, and preparing your case should it go to trial. The lawyer you choose should communicate with you consistently on the progress of your claim and discuss your options to attain the best outcome.
No matter how sure you are that the driver who caused the accident was distracted, do not make accusations at the scene. Focus instead on just exchanging contact and insurance information.
Distracted driving is inherently irresponsible. It is natural to be upset and want to hold the driver accountable. However, getting into an argument at the scene won’t help. The best thing you can do is follow the steps above so your lawyer has all of the information to build an effective claim on your behalf.
Eyewitness testimony, including your own, may not be enough to prevail in your claim. The lawyers for insurance companies have extensive experience finding holes or inconsistencies in accident claims and exploiting them to call into question even the most credible witnesses.
To prove that distracted driving caused the accident, our lawyers will gather additional evidence to support your claim. This may include:
Gathering and interpreting these types of evidence requires specialized training and skill. Lawyers at Dreyer Boyajian LLP will arrange for experts to perform these investigations and provide testimony in court as necessary.
Serious injury is a common outcome in accidents caused by distracted driving. Victims in these cases may suffer brain and spinal cord injuries, broken bones, injury to the neck and back, and other forms of trauma that can forever alter their lives. In the most tragic instances, the injuries in the accident may prove fatal.
The distracted driver should be held accountable for the injuries and expenses you or your loved one has suffered. A favorable verdict or settlement in your distracted driving accident claim may compensate you for damages such as:
In the event of a fatal distracted driving accident, select loved ones of the deceased can pursue a wrongful death claim against the distracted driver. The compensation available in a wrongful death lawsuit may include:
In extreme instances, punitive damages may be available in distracted driving accident cases if the defendant’s conduct is considered extremely reckless or willfully harmful. The decision to award punitive damages rests entirely with the jury.
Although these damages are intended to punish the defendant for misconduct and not compensate you for any specific losses, you are still awarded the punitive damages as part of your recovery.
At Dreyer Boyajian LLP, we make it our goal to achieve the full compensation you are owed for your injuries or the unfortunate death of your loved one. Our priority is you: not just your recovery, but ensuring you have access to committed and compassionate legal service throughout the course of your case.
The law firm of Dreyer Boyajian LLP has been serving Albany and the Capital District for over 30 years. We have experience with a wide range of serious injury and accident cases, and our trial lawyers have achieved over $100 million in recoveries on behalf of our clients.
Getting the justice you deserve normally means taking on insurance companies that do not have your best interest at heart. After a distracted driving accident, our team will investigate the crash thoroughly and ensure that your rights are protected. We will keep you apprised of settlement negotiations and offers, and provide honest insights on the decision to settle versus going to court.
If your life has been turned upside down in a distracted driving collision, Dreyer Boyajian LLP is here to help. Our law firm serves Albany and communities throughout the Capital District, including Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, and other areas of New York.
Distracted drivers must be held accountable for accidents that result in serious injuries and death. If you or a loved one was hurt or you lost a family member in a distracted driving accident, please contact our lawyers online or call (518) 463-7784 today for a free consultation.