When someone is hurt by a driver who was distracted, car and health insurance may not cover all of the expenses that a family might suffer. However, victims may be able to sue liable parties for their injuries, helping to ensure that they’ll receive full compensation from negligent parties.
In the state of New York, driver inattention causes thousands of accidents every year. In 2019, New York saw over ninety-thousand distraction-related accidents. At least thirty-thousand of those accidents resulted in personal injuries to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians and hundreds more resulted in fatalities.
WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING?
Distracted driving is the practice of operating a motor vehicle while engaging in another activity that takes one’s attention away from driving properly. Some common forms of distraction include:
- Eating and drinking
- Talking with passengers
- Attending to children in the backseat
- Reading billboards
- Adjusting a radio mid-drive
- Grooming oneself
- Looking at passing scenery
- Using a cell phone or another electronic device
Any of these behaviors will divert a driver’s attention and increase the likelihood of an accident.
SUING A DISTRACTED DRIVER
If a victim suffers minor injuries, their expenses might be covered by their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. In more serious accidents, economic losses, such as medical expenses, may exceed the victim’s insurance coverage. In order to recover compensation for significant economic losses, or any non-economic losses (like pain and suffering), a victim must meet the serious injury threshold. In order to satisfy the threshold, a victim will need to either bear an economic loss in excess of fifty-thousand dollars, or suffer a serious injury such as death, loss of a limb, or permanent disfigurement.
After satisfying one of these requirements, a victim will need to consider if a lawsuit is necessary. Accident lawsuits are often settled out of court rather than going to trial, as many liable parties (like distracted drivers) will recognize their fault. However, if a party refuses to settle, then the victim and their attorney will need to prepare for a more involved legal process, and perhaps a trial.
HOW TO PROVE THAT A DRIVER WAS DISTRACTED
We know from experience that distracted driving cases can rely upon eyewitnesses, police reports, and security cameras to prove that a driver was distracted. Eyewitnesses, such as passengers or pedestrians, could have directly observed the driver’s negligent behavior. The driver might mention a distracting behavior that gets put in a police report, and can be used against them. Street and store security cameras may also serve as silent, objective observers of distracted driving. Finally, the driver’s phone records can provide easy proof of distraction as well.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, contact Rosenblum Law for a free, no-obligation consultation.