Massachusetts currently bans texting and driving for all drivers and cell phone use for drivers younger than 18 years of age. The state legislature is considering a ban on all handheld cell phone use by motorists, and Gov. Charlie Baker supports the ban. The use of cell phones by motorists is a problem throughout the United States. Cell phone usage is one of the most common types of distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Throughout the Country and Massachusetts
The NHTSA reports that 391,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2015. In 2016, the NHTSA reports that 3,450 died in accidents involving distracted drivers. Cell phone use was a common distraction reported by many drivers. It is estimated that roughly one-half million people are using cell phones while driving during daylight hours in the U.S.
In 2016, traffic fatalities increased in Massachusetts by 13 percent. Experts point to lower gas prices and an improved economy as contributing factors. However, distracted driving is also a major factor in the number of traffic fatalities.
Examples of ways that using a cell phone can distract a driver and contribute to the cause of an accident include:
- Taking your eyes off the road to read or compose a text message.
- Using one or both hands to text.
- Looking down to find a number in your contact list.
- Watching a video or looking at a picture someone sent to you.
- Being distracted by the conversation you are having with someone on the cell phone.
- Taking pictures or making videos with your cell phone.
- Reaching to find your cell phone.
Even though teen drivers are the largest age group to be distracted at the time of a fatal accident, adults of all ages are guilty of allowing themselves to be distracted while driving.
Proving Liability in a Car Accident Caused by Cell Phone Usage
A person who is using a cell phone can be involved in an accident that is not his or her fault. Therefore, you must still prove that the driver did something to cause the crash, such as failing to yield the right of way or following too closely. Therefore, we begin by investigating the accident to determine the exact cause of the crash to identify the responsible party. We must obtain credible evidence to prove that the other driver caused the crash. The evidence we may use to prove fault include:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Photographs and videos of the crime scene
- Video from nearby cameras of the collision
- Physical evidence from each of the vehicles
- Medical records
- Physical evidence from the accident scene
- Expert testimony from accident reconstructionists and other accident experts
Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is usually in your best interest. Evidence can be lost or destroyed, and the memories of witnesses can fade with time. In addition, insurance adjusters may pressure you to provide statements or sign medical releases. It is not in your best interest to provide a statement or sign documents without speaking with an experienced car accident attorney.
Recovering Damages for a Car Accident
When a distracted driver injures you, you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries and losses. The amount you may receive depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, the amount of monetary losses, and whether you suffered any permanent impairment.
It is important to include all damages in a settlement demand because you cannot receive any additional compensation once you settle your claim and sign a release. Therefore, you do not want to settle your claim until your doctor says that you have reached maximum medical improvement. Our attorneys work closely with your doctors to ensure that we include information about future damages to maximize the chance you receive compensation for any future damages you might incur because of the crash.