Smartphones and other hand-held devices have become so ubiquitous in our daily lives that their use is now automatic and even reflexive for a broad cross-section of the population. As as result, the number of car accidents resulting from distracted driving has grown exponentially and represents an extremely serious situation. The sad fact of the matter is that the injuries routinely sustained in collisions of this type can prove permanently devastating. If you or a loved one has suffered severe harm due the negligence of a distracted driver, securing the services of a seasoned Denver distracted driver accident attorney is often the best way to increase the chances that fair compensation can ultimately be obtained.
Colorado Distracted Driver Accident Resources:
- What is distracted driving?
- What types of distractions most affect drivers?
- Colorado Distracted Driver Statistics
- Colorado Distracted Driving Laws
- How do you prove negligence in a distracted driver accident claim?
- What type of compensation can I receive in a distracted driver accident lawsuit?
- When should I contact a Denver distracted driver accident lawyer?
Defining Distracted Driving
Conducting activities that divert attention away from driving is the definition of distraction in an auto vehicle. Far too frequently drivers are tending to unnecessary tasks while driving, all of which are a threat to their safety as well as the safety of passengers, other motorists and pedestrians. In 2015, there were over 391,000 injuries and over 3,400 fatalities attributed to this problem; however, these numbers are only a fraction of the true volume, as many drivers do not reveal that they were distracted at the time of a collision. At any given time during the day, over 600,000 motorists are using mobile devices while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, despite widespread awareness of the problem, many drivers continue to allow for distractions. Vehicle operators are obligated to drive in a safe manner and driving while distracted significantly compromises this duty.
Though there can be no doubt that the electronic devices on which most of us rely provide a new level of flexibility and freedom to accomplish a broad array of tasks, the constant temptation to engage with them can lead to very real concerns. This technology addiction has produced an alarming rise in the rate of crashes stemming solely from distracted driving, leaving many victims injured, disabled or worse. The staggering medical bills, therapy costs, continuing care requirements, lost wages and other losses can bring families to the brink of despair. However, with the help of a knowledgeable Denver accident attorney, it is possible for victims to assert their right to seek justice along with the monetary resources so critical to their recovery.
Most Common Distractions for Drivers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified three different types of distraction that can increase the risk of driving and contribute to traffic accidents:
- Visual Distractions: Anything that causes you to take your eyes off the road. This could include turning around to discipline a child, or reading a book or newspaper while driving (as some commuters on congested freeways have been observed to do).
- Manual Distractions: These occur when something causes you to take your hands off the wheel. This could include activities such as picking up an item you have dropped, doing your makeup, drinking coffee, eating, etc.
- Cognitive Distractions: This occurs when your mind becomes focused on something other than the task of driving. You may be worried about bills, but if you’re going 70 miles an hour, you’ll contribute more to your future by studying what the cars around you are doing.
It’s easy to think of many examples of each type of distraction. The dangers of cell phone use while driving are especially apparent. Texting, for example, involves all three of these forms of distraction, as does making or answering a cell phone call. It is all too common for drivers, particularly younger ones, to believe that glancing down for a brief moment to read a message is not likely to negatively affect their driving capabilities.
Unfortunately, research has indicated that sending or reading a text message requires an average of 4.6 seconds, which represents the same time necessary to travel the complete length of a football field at a swift 55 miles per hour. Furthermore, research commissioned by AAA has suggested that total cognitive distraction stemming from cell phone use may last for upwards of 27 seconds, more than enough time for a catastrophic accident to occur.
Colorado Distracted Driver Statistics
Across the state, each day approximately 40 accidents occur due to driver distraction.
- In 2015 alone, 68 fatalities and well over 15,000 car accidents were attributed to distracted driving.
- In 2016, Colorado had 67 traffic fatalities as a result of distractions, just one less death than the 68 deaths in 2015.
Nearly 3,000 individuals sustained injuries in accidents of this nature, emphasizing the seriousness of the epidemic.All age groups are likely to drive while distracted; however, those between the ages of 21 and 34 are the most apt to have an accident while distracted.
More U.S. military members die in their own vehicles than in active service, and since 1994 a minimum of 32,000 fatalities have occurred annually. Roughly 75% of motorists admit to having driven while distracted and 98% recognize the potential dangers it can cause. Nationally, the leading agency that is working to curtail the problem is the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, yet the responsibility for establishing and enforcing distracted driving laws is primarily done at the individual state level.
Colorado Distracted Driving Laws
Legislators in Colorado have taken action to try and reduce the toll distracted driving takes each year, as is evidenced by the cell phone ban imposed on all novice drivers within the state and the ban on text messaging imposed on drivers of all ages.
Texting while driving is considered a primary offense in Colorado, meaning that law enforcement officers can stop motorists just for committing this offense alone. In many other jurisdictions, texting while driving is merely a secondary offense, meaning that drivers can only be cited if they were stopped by police for another reason.
If you have been injured in an accident that you believe was caused by distracted driving, the outcome of your case depends on your ability to prove negligence. There are a number of ways a Denver distracted driver accident attorney can help you pursue full compensation for all damages.
- Obtaining a statement from the driver: It’s not likely that a driver will admit to reckless behavior, but it’s not impossible. In the event that the driver made such a statement to you at the time of the accident, it can help your case.
- Testimony from witnesses: If there were others at the scene, including passengers in the car that struck you or police officers who were called to the scene and are gathering evidence, your attorney can secure testimony from these witnesses, guided by knowledge of exactly what questions should be asked.
- Cellphone records: Our attorney can request cellphone records as evidence that a phone was in use at the time the impact occurred.
- Video records: It’s possible that surveillance cameras were operating in the vicinity of your accident. Our attorney and accident investigators know how to pursue this line of evidence.
- Making the most of your observations: Through careful and informed questioning, an attorney can determine whether there were things that you may have seen or heard at the time of the accident that may help you make your case.
As much as it is agreed that distracted driving is constituting reckless and negligent behavior, your claim cannot proceed until you can establish that negligent behavior caused the accident that led to your injuries. If you are serious about seeking compensation, you need the help of an attorney with deep experience in distracted driving cases, and who is confident at trial.
Compensation for Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents
All car accidents have the potential to produce life-altering harm, lasting disability, and even death, and collisions caused by distracted driving are no different. The victims of negligent drivers can and do experience pain, suffering and often financial devastation from which it can be extremely difficult to recover. However, the legal system offers such individuals the right to seek substantial compensation from responsible parties, which could potentially include payment designed to cover:
- Past, present and future costs of medical carelessness
- Physical therapy expenses
- Rehabilitation services
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Lost wages
- Reduction in future earning potential
- Funeral costs in cases of fatality
- Lost support for dependents left behind
As is true with every type of car accident, establishing liability in a distracted driving crash can be a challenging, complex process involving medical experts, engineers, and other specialists. For this reason, the sooner a crash victim obtains the help of an experienced Denver distracted driver accident attorney, the greater the likelihood that key evidence can be preserved and a strong case can be assembled on their behalf.
Connect with a Denver Distracted Driver Accident Attorney
Denver personal injury attorney, Jeremy Rosenthal, understands that the aftermath of a vehicle accident is almost always a time filled with worries, questions, and doubts. That is why each and every one of his clients will receive responsive, caring service designed to alleviate concerns and provide the insights necessary for informed decision making. To schedule a no-cost consultation to discuss the facts surrounding your injury accident, contact us at (303) 825-2223.