In 2019, more than 3,100 people lost their lives on U.S. roads because a driver was driving while distracted. A California Office of Traffic Safety survey revealed that, that same year, almost 58% of the drivers surveyed indicated that they “had been hit or nearly hit by a driver who was talking or texting on a cell phone.” If you or a loved one were injured due to the actions of a distracted driver, reach out to a San Mateo car accident attorney at your earliest convenience.
One of the latest examples of this ongoing problem comes from Santa Cruz County. Back in late January, a man from Sacramento took his eyes off the road to look at his cell phone, according to the California Highway Patrol. Distracted by his phone, the driver unintentionally steered his northbound BMW across the double-yellow line of Highway 17 and into the path of a southbound transit van.
Fortunately, in this case, both drivers were able to walk away from the head-on crash, according to the Mercury News. The CHP officer who worked the crash expressed his disappointment to the Mercury News about the continued prevalence of distracted-driving accidents. “Unfortunately we do have to keep saying it, don’t we?” The officer also noted that even just the brief period of time that it takes to read a notification can be long enough to lead to an accident, according to the report.
Starting this July, the penalties for distracted driving are going up. A new law says that, if a driver violates California’s “hands-free” law twice in 36 months, then the second conviction will result in points on the driver’s license.
The Significance of a “Hands-Free” Law Violation in Your Injury Case
If you’re hurt as a result of someone else’s cell phone use or other distracted driving, then a conviction for a “hands-free” law violation might play an important role in your injury case. If, for example, you were hurt and sued, and your legal team discovered proof that the driver who hit you was convicted of violating the “hands-free” law in connection with your crash, then that conviction may entitle you to seek compensation based on a legal concept called “negligence per se.”
In a regular negligence lawsuit based upon your auto accident injuries, you have to prove several things, such as the defendant’s having a legal obligation relative to your safety, the defendant’s violating that duty, the violation causing the accident, and the accident causing your injuries. In a negligence per se case, you may be able to bypass a lot of those proof requirements as the conviction serves to create a presumption that the defendant acted negligently.
Another thing to keep in mind in your distracted-driving crash is, even if you’re like this van driver and walked away from your accident, that doesn’t automatically mean you weren’t hurt. Sometimes the injuries you suffer in a vehicle accident may not trigger noticeable symptoms until days or even weeks after your wreck. Just because your symptoms didn’t start right away doesn’t mean they weren’t the result of your crash and it doesn’t mean that you cannot get compensation for them in an injury lawsuit based on that accident.
As you can see from the preceding paragraphs, getting the most from your auto injury lawsuit caused by a distracted driver requires skill, experience, and in-depth knowledge of the law. For that kind of powerful and reliable legal representation, reach out to the San Mateo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get started going to work for you. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.