Distracted driving has become an increasingly serious issue over the last few years, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that as many as 1,000 people are involved in car accidents that are caused by distracted driving every day. These statistics are alarming for anyone who spends any time on the road. Fortunately, injured parties are not always required to bear the entire financial burden of treating their injuries, so if you were injured by a distracted driver, please contact one of our dedicated Colorado Springs distracted driving accident lawyers today.
What Qualifies as Distracted Driving?
Colorado, like many other states, has taken steps to address what many believe to be the main source of distracted driving by prohibiting texting and browsing the internet while driving. While it is true that using electronics while driving is the cause of thousands of car accidents every year, this is by no means the only form of distraction that results in accidents. In fact, the CDC defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a driver’s eyes or mind off the road, or hands off of the wheel. The first are known as visual and cognitive distractions, respectively, while the latter are referred to as manual distractions.
Many distractions fall under more than one category. Eating while driving, for example, qualifies as both a cognitive distraction and a manual distraction. Using cell phones, on the other hand, involves all three types of distractions. Other examples of common distracted driving activities include:
Talking to passengers;
Driving while fatigued;
Listening to loud music;
Attending to children or pets in the backseat; and
Adjusting in-vehicle technologies.
While these activities are perhaps the most commonly reported types of distracted driving, they are not the only ones that satisfy the CDC’s definition. In fact, almost any activity can qualify as a distraction if it makes it harder for a motorist to focus on the task of driving.
Injuries Caused by Distracted Driving
Generally, the seriousness of accident-related injuries depends on a number of factors, including the number and type of vehicles involved in the crash, the age and health of the parties, the specific type of collision in question, and the speed at which the vehicles were traveling prior to the crash. The last factor plays an especially critical role in distracted driving crashes, as these collisions often occur at high speeds, resulting in more severe impacts. For this reason, injuries sustained in accidents caused by distracted driving tend to be serious, including everything from lacerations and broken bones to head trauma and spinal cord injuries.
Unfortunately, treating these kinds of severe injuries is both painful and expensive and so can quickly drive a family into debt, especially if the injured party is unable to return to work following the collision. If, however, accident victims can prove that another person caused the collision through their negligent actions, they could be entitled to damages compensating them for:
Past and future medical expenses;
Pain and suffering;
Emotional distress; and
Permanent disability or disfigurement.
It’s important to note that a person will only be able to recover compensation for this type of accident if he or she can prove that the other driver was distracted. This can be achieved through the submission of convincing evidence, such as photographs or recordings from the scene of the accident, showing that the other party was on his or her phone, or was otherwise distracted at the time of the crash. Similarly, because using one’s phone to text or search the internet while driving is unlawful in Colorado, police officers who respond to collisions often make note of violations committed by the parties, including whether one of the drivers was seen looking at his or her phone by witnesses, or if one of the drivers actually admitted to falling asleep at the wheel or being distracted in another way. Injured parties may also need to provide evidence of the severity of their injuries, including medical records and photographs.
Other evidence of driver distraction could be discovered by assessing photographs taken at the scene of the accident. Photos and measurements of tire or skid marks, for instance, can be used to prove that a driver didn’t hit the brakes until the last minute, which is usually indicative of distracted driving. Similarly, photos taken of the inside of the other motorist’s car can be used to demonstrate negligence, as an open fast food container on the driver’s seat or a spilled drink, combined with other evidence, could prove that the other motorist was engaged in eating or drinking immediately prior to the collision.
Finally, injured plaintiffs who want to prove that someone else’s negligence caused their accident could request an assessment of the collision from a professional, such as an accident reconstruction expert, who can demonstrate:
How long it took the at-fault driver before he or she attempted to brake prior to the crash;
How fast the parties were traveling prior to the collision;
Whether road or weather conditions played a role in an accident; and
Whether fault can be attributed to multiple parties or to a single individual.
For help determining what evidence could help support your own accident case, please contact our car accident legal team today.
Free Case Review with a Dedicated Colorado Springs Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in an accident with a negligent driver, you need the assistance of an experienced lawyer who can help you seek compensation for your losses. To learn more about how a dedicated attorney could help with your own case, please complete and submit one of our brief online contact forms and one of the Colorado Springs distracted driving accident attorneys at McCormick & Murphy P.C. will contact you as soon as possible. You can also reach a member of our team at 719-301-2596, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online at your earliest convenience.