Anytime you get behind the wheel of your car, you know there are risks on the road. Accidents can happen at any time. Though some incidents are minor fender-benders that leave drivers and passengers unscathed, others can be serious and life-altering. Many factors can be at play in a car crash. Distracted driving is an increasingly common cause of collisions and injuries. The dangerous cost of a momentary glance away by a driver can have lasting effects on others. If you are the victim of an accident due to distracted driving, you may be entitled to compensation. Pursuing legal action can help you recover damages and hold offenders accountable.
Common Distractions for Drivers
Distracted driving is not a new concept, though there are now more distractions in the car than ever. Many things can take a person’s attention away from their duties in the driver’s seat. The three main categories of distracted driving are cognitive, visual, and manual. Cognitive distractions include those that take a person’s mind off driving. In visual distracted driving, the driver takes his or her eyes off the road. Manual distractions happen when the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel.
Today, one of the most prevalent problems is people who use cell phones while driving. It’s rather common to see people talking on their phones while they are driving. Worse, people have developed the poor habit of texting or browsing the internet on their smartphones while driving. While doing these activities, it is easy to lose focus on the road and the important duties of driving safely.
Other distractions exist in the car. Changing the radio station or playing with the car’s entertainment system can be distractions. Eating or drinking can hamper a person’s ability to drive safely. Conversing with others in the car or turning around to respond to someone in the back seat can be distracting.
What Happens When the Driver Is Distracted
Too many people think they can drive well while doing other things. Unfortunately, it takes only a split second of being distracted for an accident to occur. A distraction such as texting can take a driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds. During that time, the car will move forward a great distance with the driver not seeing anything ahead or to the side of the vehicle. It may be more difficult, if not impossible, for a driver to react to issues like stopped traffic, a crossing pedestrian, a red light, construction, or even a sharp curve on the road. As a result, accidents happen, which can cause injuries or even fatalities.
Common Injuries From Distracted Driving
If a distracted driver hits your car, you and those with you could suffer any number of injuries. These may include whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, contusions, or cuts. The worst accidents can cause paralysis or loss of limbs. It doesn’t even take a high-speed crash or a lot of force for a car accident to inflict back, neck, or head injuries.
Your Legal Rights After an Accident
If a distracted driver causes an accident that involves you, compensation may be available. However, states have a statute of limitations for how long you can bring legal action against someone. In Texas, the time frame is two years. This means that if your accident occurred more than two years ago, you will no longer be able to claim damages and receive compensation for your injuries. After an accident, it’s best to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your rights and whether you should file a lawsuit.
In a personal injury case involving distracted driving, you may be able to claim damages for injuries you suffered. Settlement compensation could cover your medical bills, including treatment, medication, hospital stays, doctor’s office visits, surgeries, and rehabilitation. You may also be able to recover any wages you have lost by not being able to work. If you will not be able to return to work in the near future or ever, you can also seek future lost wages. A personal injury lawyer might also pursue compensation for pain and suffering.