Nationwide, distracted drivers cause about 1,000 serious injury crashes every day. Hand-held cell phones are by no means the only problem. Other sources of distraction include pets, children, dangerous behaviors, like eating while driving, and hands-free cell phones. Since these injury claims are often complex, only an experienced Michigan distracted driving accident attorney helps ensure fair compensation.
The experienced personal injury team at Buchanan Firm has successfully handled distracted driving injury claims for many years. Our experienced accident lawyers use proven methods to investigate the facts, review the applicable law, and evaluate your claim. The solid work we do on the front end often pays off in the form of a quick pretrial settlement. Such a resolution provides your family with the compensation it needs and the justice it deserves.
Distracted driving means more than using a hand-held cell phone while driving. This umbrella term includes any behavior which causes one or more of the following:
Most parents would probably not be surprised to learn that drivers with children in the car are much more likely to be distracted than divers with no children in the car. Additionally, pets are often distracting, especially when they move from the back seat to the front seat. Most pet owners say they travel with their pets, but only a small percentage say they use pet restraints.
Many driving behaviors are also distracting. This list includes eating or drinking while driving, adjusting the climate control, looking out the window, or adjusting the radio. All these behaviors are visually, cognitively, and/or manually distracting.
Wireless device usage is perhaps the most common, and most visible, type of distracted driving. Michigan law contains a limited cell phone ban which bans texting while driving. In this context, “texting” means composing, sending, and/or reviewing text messages, emails, social media posts, and any other text-based communication.
This ban does not include streaming shows on Netflix, taking pictures, using GPS navigation software, surfing the web, and using a smartphone for any other purpose. This ban also does not include talking on a phone while driving. However, many local communities have such ordinances, especially around schools.
Furthermore, the cell phone ban does not apply to hands-free devices. Contrary to popular myth, hands-free is not the same thing as risk-free. These devices are cognitively and visually distracting. Moreover, hands-free devices give many drivers a false sense of security.
If a driver violates the state or local cell phone ban and causes a crash, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) could be liable for damages as a matter of law. In these instances, the applicable safety law establishes the standard of care.
But in all other instances, crash victims must establish a lack of reasonable care to obtain compensation for their injuries. Most Michigan jurors require a pattern of carelessness. For example, an occasional sip of coffee while driving is probably excusable. But if the tortfeasor is eating a breakfast value meal while driving, the tortfeasor probably violated the duty of care.
Damages in car crash cases usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, as well as noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases.
Distracted driver crash victims have several legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced Michigan distracted driving accident attorney, contact Buchanan Firm. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.