In the age of cell phones, GPS, and computerized dash screens, motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers have skyrocketed. Has a distracted driver injured you? Learn when to seek the legal assistance of a personal injury attorney!
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Every year, thousands of people are seriously injured and killed because of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) classifies distracted driving in the following way:
“any activity that diverts attention from driving.”
Distracted driving activities can include the following:
- Talking on the phone
- Talking to passengers
- Changing or programing the radio or stereo
- Messing with the vehicle’s GPS
- Trying to set the dash controls
In most legal cases, it does not matter what the distracted driver was doing to cause the accident. All that matters is that a distracted driver injured you.
What to Do When Injured by a Distracted Drive
If you are in an accident or sustain an injury from a distracted driver, you should at once call 911. Do not hesitate to seek the medical care you need. Sadly, many people will delay seeking medical help, such as being taken to the hospital via ambulance, because they were concerned with the cost. They lack healthcare insurance. However, avoiding medical care is dangerous and can make the injury worse or even prove life-threatening.
Paying for Medical Care After Being Injured by a Distracted Driver
If you need medical attention, do not hesitate to use your health insurance. Sadly, it can often take months or even years to settle a personal injury case with the at-fault insurance company and certain damages. During that time, medical bills can pile up and go unpaid, which can affect your credit score. However, your health insurance will give you access to the medical treatment you need at once, and, later, the costs can be settled.
Reporting the Accident to the Car Insurance Companies
In addition to reporting the vehicle accident to law enforcement, you will also need to report to the right insurance companies. An injured driver should report the accident to their insurance and the at-fault driver’s insurance. Also, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, then your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will take over. In some situations, your own car insurance company will need to step to the plate to pay for your property damage or cover the cost of the car being repaired if the at-fault driver’s insurance is being non-responsive or slow to take care of the necessary details.
Avoid Giving a Recorded Statement
After an accident, many insurance companies will request a recorded statement where you state how the accident happened and supply details on your injuries. Ideally, you should always limit discussions with the insurance company. However, once you retain a lawyer, they will then take over the reins and handle all communication with the insurance company so that no part of your statement is ever taken out of context.
Access Your Damage Claim
If your injuries are not severe, then you’ll want to get back to driving soon. Most insurance companies consider a car repairable if the cost to fix the damage is 75 percent or less of the vehicle’s value. Sadly, if the accident totaled your auto, then you’ll need a new ride as soon as possible. As you wait for a repair or new vehicle, you’ll probably also need a rental car. Your insurance will cover the rental car cost if you carry the clause on your policy. To collect rental car expenses from the at-fault party’s insurance could prove more challenging because many refuse to cover the added expense. You’ll want to report the accident quickly to the insurance company. A property damage claim is usually relatively straightforward and can be settled without legal assistance, unlike a personal injury claim which requires the specialized skills of a personal injury attorney.
Document All Aspects of the Wreck and Injury
You’ll want to keep track of any information and documents related to your injury and the accident. Try to take photos of your injuries and the vehicle. Keep all documents about medical treatment, such as bills and records. Also, please note any missed work and out-of-pocket expenses that you have had to pay because it is all compensable in your claim.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney When Injured by a Distracted Driver
If a distracted driver injures you, then you’ll want to seek a qualified personal injury attorney early to start mounting your legal defense because the case can quickly become complex. The personal injury attorney will immediately file your case and start to fight for your rights as the injured party. Also, insurance companies take claims presented by a skilled attorney far more seriously. Therefore, retaining an attorney helps protect your rights, so you receive the guidance you need. Remember, any time a distracted driver injures you, it is due to the other party’s negligence. In such a situation, you can seek compensation from the at-fault party or their insurance company.
Avoid Handling Your Injury Case Yourself
Yes, a personal injury attorney is paid by taking a percentage of your compensation. You might be tempted to try to handle your injury case yourself so you can forego the expense of an attorney. Even though this might seem like a good idea initially, you should avoid trying to handle your legal case alone. Remember precisely what is at stake if you mishandle the case. You could easily make an avoidable mistake if you are unsure about your local and state laws.
Seeking the Help of a Personal Injury Attorney
Whenever a distracted driver injures you, it is in your best interests to immediately reach out to a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss your case. The attorney will listen to you, review the details, and decide if he believes you can recover compensation from the at-fault party. Suppose the personal injury attorney believes that you have a case and could collect compensation. In that case, they will typically agree to represent you and work on a contingency fee basis, which means they do not get paid unless you are awarded a settlement. Once you are given a settlement, the attorney will take a portion to pay for their legal fees.
If you sustain an injury because of a distracted driver, then you should do three things: call 911, seek medical care, and contact a personal injury attorney. Remember, a personal injury attorney is an asset when you are hurt and need legal help to fight for the compensation you deserve.