In 2014 alone, 3,179 people died and 431,000 suffered injuries in distracted driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While the government and nonprofit organizations are fighting to reduce the rate of these crashes by educating the public of the dangers of distracted driving, accidents still happen. For help after a wreck, call a Long Island distracted driving accident & injury lawyer.
If you suffered injuries in an auto accident with a distracted driver, Goldstein & Bashner can help. Let us take a look at the circumstances of your accident, and offer you advice on your options to gain compensation. Call 516-222-4000 today to schedule an appointment.
Common Driving Distractions
Distracted driving occurs anytime a driver does something that takes their attention (either manually, visually, or cognitively) off of the roadway or other tasks related to operating the car safely.
Actions that cause distractions while driving commonly include:
- Posting on social media
- Reading or responding to email
- Talking on the phone
- Talking to passengers in the car
- Eating while driving
- Putting on makeup or other grooming activities
- Using a GPS
- Surfing the web
- Watching videos
- Changing the radio station or using an MP3 player
- Playing games on a smartphone
- Taking pictures or videos
How do distractions cause accidents?
Almost any type of crash can occur because of a distracted driver. Distracted drivers may:
- Fail to see stopped traffic in front of them
- Fail to yield right-of-way to oncoming traffic
- Fail to maintain their own lane
- Drift into oncoming traffic
- Sideswipe other vehicles
What is the first thing I need to do after a distracted driving accident?
Your health comes first after any auto accident, so do not hesitate to go to the hospital if you suffered or think you suffered injuries. Ensuring you get medical attention as soon as possible is paramount to a positive outcome – both financially and physically.
What happens at the scene plays an important role in many distracted driving accident claims. After you report the accident to the police, officers may talk to witnesses and collect any other information that may help determine the cause of the crash.
If you remain on the scene and are physically able, try to get as much information about the accident and witnesses as possible.
As soon as possible after an accident, enlist the help of a personal injury attorney from Goldstein & Bashner to assess your situation. While there is a possibility that your own insurance will cover your injuries, if your injuries are more severe, a lawyer can help you look into recovering compensation from the at-fault driver (granted you are able to prove the severity of your injuries).
How does New York’s no-fault system affect a distracted driving case?
New York follows a no-fault system for car accident claims, meaning your first option for recovering compensation after a crash is always your own insurance policy. If you required an extended hospital stay and rehabilitation, though, your costs likely exceed the limits of your policy.
In order to step outside of this system, you must demonstrate that you suffered serious injuries in the crash or that your expenses exceed your no-fault benefits. Your attorney can advise you about the minimum thresholds for proving your injuries are serious. Some of the injuries that qualify include:
- Broken bones
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a limb, or loss of use of a body part
- Temporary or permanent disability
If you suffered serious injuries, you are eligible to file a third-party insurance claim against the other driver or a personal injury lawsuit in court. Your lawyer can guide you through this process, and help you secure the compensation you need to cover your losses.
What types of damages can I recover in a distracted driving case?
New York allows qualifying car accident victims to collect a wide range of damages through a third-party insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. These damages include:
- Cost of hospitalization and medical care
- Ongoing therapy
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
What does New York law say about distracted driving?
New York law prohibits the use of any handheld electronic device while driving. Examples of prohibited behaviors include:
- Talking on the phone
- Texting, emailing, accessing social media or using the Internet browser
- Viewing or taking pictures or videos
- Playing games
Hands-free tools provide an exception to some parts of this law, allowing drivers to talk on the phone. GPS devices or navigation systems affixed to the vehicle are also an exception, although entering information while driving is still illegal.
How can I prove the driver was distracted?
Proving a driver was distracted at the time of an accident can be difficult. Unlike in cases of intoxicated driving, there is no test police can conduct that proves the driver was distracted.
In many cases, the only reason authorities know distracted driving caused an accident is because eyewitnesses reported seeing the driver texting or otherwise behaving irresponsibly before the crash. For this reason, eyewitnesses often play a key role in distracted driving cases.
If you suspect the other driver was distracted at the time of the wreck, you should mention it to your lawyer so he can make sure that he investigates it while evaluating your claim.
A lawyer may also be able to acquire the at-fault driver’s phone records to prove that the driver was texting or talking on the phone at the time of the accident.
Does New York have a statute of limitations for distracted driving accident claims?
New York’s statute of limitations gives you three years to file a personal injury lawsuit, in most cases. Even though this might seem like plenty of time, it is important to remember that you must first start by filing a claim with your own insurance and may file a lawsuit as a last result. This may significantly cut down your available filing time, so it is in your best interests to get started on your case as soon as possible.
Discuss the merits of your case with a Long Island personal injury lawyer familiar with distracted driving cases shortly after your crash. This helps ensure you do not lose the right to file suit, and also keeps the details of the accident fresh in your mind. A New York personal injury case can take years to finish, so the sooner you begin the sooner you receive the compensation you need.
Where can I get help with my case?
The car accident attorneys at Goldstein & Bashner represent the victims of distracted driving accidents on Long Island, ensuring they get the compensation they deserve for their injuries. We offer free case reviews and advice on how New York’s no-fault laws affect your personal injury case.
Contact us today at 516-222-4000 to learn more about how we can help you with your car accident claim.