Distracted Driving Car Accidents
Although there are plenty of reasons car crashes are a frequent occurrence on the road today, distracted driving is one of the most prominent causes of auto accidents in Rhode Island and one that continues to grow as a threat to motorists’ safety. Distracted driving is a general term used to refer to any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road and prevents them from being able to operate the vehicle safely. Whatever the distraction, a driver not fully focused on the road is a great danger to themselves and others and contributes to the approximately 3,000 deaths related to distracted driving crashes in the U.S. each year.Common Causes of Distracted Driving
A driver may be distracted for any number of reasons, but frequent factors involved in distracted driving car accidents in Rhode Island include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Texting, emailing, perusing social media
- In-vehicle technology like a navigation system, or GPS
- Eating or drinking
- Personal grooming, i.e., applying makeup, brushing hair
- Loud music
- Passengers in the vehicle, i.e., friends, children
Distractions can affect a motorist in a variety of ways- visually, manually, and cognitively. For instance, if a vehicle operator is looking down to send a text, their eyes (visual), hand (manual), and mind (cognitive) are on the phone, not on the road. If you’ve been injured in a crash caused by a reckless driver, Tapalian Law can help you. Attorney David Tapalian is a top-rated car accident attorney with over 20 years of experience helping victims of distracted driving car accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts seek compensation for their injuries caused by another’s negligence.Establishing Liability for a Distracted Driving Accident
Typically, a crash caused by a distracted motorist leads to a personal injury claim. This requires the plaintiff, the injured person, to establish that the defendant, the person who caused the crash, acted negligently and that this negligence was the direct and foreseeable cause of the damages that the plaintiff suffered. Negligence is a legal doctrine that varies somewhat according to the circumstances, but it generally requires each driver to operate a vehicle with the same level of care and skill that a reasonable person would use while behind the wheel. This includes complying with all applicable traffic laws and regulations.
In 2018, the most recent distracted driving law in Rhode Island went in effect thus banning drivers from using any type of hand-held wireless device behind the wheel. While not every distracted driving accident is the result of cell phone and technology use, an ever-increasing majority of these dangerous crashes are. This law also prohibits motor vehicle operators under the age of 18 from using a cell phone for any purpose, even a hands-free device, and bus drivers are also prohibited from using a cell phone for any purpose.
In the case of a crash where the at-fault motorist is suspected to have been distracted by a hand-held device, proving the driver was using their phone can be tricky and often requires obtaining phone records through discovery after the litigation has started. An experienced car accident attorney can assist you with these complex steps after a distracted driving accident in Rhode Island.
It is also beneficial to obtain copies of the police report filed by the authorities who responded to the scene. The accident report can indicate whether or not the driver was cited for a distracted driving violation. A distracted driving citation can be extremely useful evidence in your personal injury claim against the distracted driver responsible for your injuries.
The lawsuit does not end with showing that the defendant was careless. Once the plaintiff proves that the defendant was distracted while driving, they must draw a causal connection between this distraction and how the accident occurred. For example, if the defendant was reading a text message and failed to notice that a traffic light had turned red, a head-on collision or a side-impact collision with another vehicle that had the right-of-way to enter that intersection would be a plausible outcome of this distracted activity.
An accident reconstruction expert can help explain to the jury how the accident happened and how the injuries that you sustained were foreseeable results of the crash. If causation is established, the plaintiff must support any damages that they are claiming in the lawsuit with documentation, such as receipts, medical bills, missed paychecks, or other injury-related items.Contact a Car Accident Lawyer After a Distracted Driving Accident in Rhode Island
If you or someone in your family has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages including hospital bills, medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. At Tapalian Law, our RI and MA personal injury professionals are ready to provide you with the dedicated and compassionate representation that you deserve. You should not suffer from the actions of a careless driver that made a serious mistake; they need to be held accountable for your physical, financial, and emotional losses. With decades of experience representing clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts from offices in Providence, Warwick, and Seekonk, Car Accident Attorney David Tapalian provides a free consultation so you can understand more about your legal rights and how he can assist you. Call Tapalian Law now at 401-552-5000 or contact us online to discuss your case.