Distracted Driver Accidents

Tulsa Distracted Driver Accidents

As cellular technology continues to develop, inattentive driving has increased. Cell phones offer more apps and features than ever before, and the trend does not seem to be slowing down. The invention of Bluetooth and other “hands-free” technology has enabled drivers to now text while driving. As a result, distracted driving has become more prevalent than ever before.

The distracted driver accident attorneys Graves McLain have decades of experience helping those hurt by distracted drivers.

What are the Most Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents?

A distracted driving car accident occurs when a driver engages in any activity that diverts their attention away from the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driver behaviors fall into one of the following categories:

  • Visual: Visual distractions involve anything that will encourage a driver to look away from the road (e.g., looking for a cell phone or object in the car, watching the GPS map for too long)
  • Manual: A manual distraction involves any activity that requires the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel (e.g., a parent soothing a child in the backseat, reaching into a bag for an item)
  • Losing control: Poor weather conditions and hazardous road working sites can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle and hit the car in front.
  • Cognitive: Cognitive distractions describe anything that takes your mind off driving (e.g., daydreaming, mentally going over a to-do list)

Visual-manual tasks, like texting on a cell phone or clicking through a navigational app can increase the risk of a car accident by three times. As distracted driving increases yearly, it is important to know the common reasons drivers get distracted.

What are Common Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents?

Across Oklahoma, drivers continue to engage in risky behavior behind the wheel. Motorists may daydream in a drive-thru, absentmindedly taking their foot off the brake and rear-end the car in front. Parents may try calming a crying toddler in the back seat, only to run a stop sign.

Some of the most common causes of distracted driver accidents include:

  • Talking and texting on a cell phone
  • Looking and adjusting the GPS
  • Adjusting controls (e.g., temperature, volume, music)
  • Applying makeup or grooming
  • Conversations with other passengers
  • Eating or drinking
  • Handling children or pets
  • Poorly packed or arranged items (e.g., loose objects in the back seat or trunk, dropped items that fall underneath the seat)

Most motorists know to avoid using a cell phone unless they have a hands-free device. However, when drivers think of their car as an extension of their home, it can be easy to engage in risky behaviors. It may be habitual to drink coffee on the way to work or finish applying makeup during a long commute. However, even seemingly insignificant distractions can lead to severe injuries.

A Distracted Driving Auto Accident Can Lead to Serious Injuries

Car accident injuries can vary widely. However, it is important to know that the extent of property damage may not accurately indicate the severity of bodily harm.

Minor accidents can cause serious soft tissue damage that requires months of treatment and recovery. In addition, some accidents cause delayed injuries. Head trauma is one of the most common delayed injuries that can have significant consequences.

Regardless of the severity of the car crash, it is crucial to seek medical care immediately. Serious injuries following a distracted driving auto accident include:

  • Broken, fractured, and dislocated bones
  • Soft tissue injuries usually involving joint damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck and back injuries (e.g., whiplash)
  • Spinal cord injuries (e.g., paralysis, paraplegia)
  • Internal organ damage or bleeding
  • Severe burns
  • Scarring and disfigurement

If you or a loved one have been hurt in a distracted driver car accident, it is critical to your claim that you seek and maintain medical treatment. Failing to take prescribed medication or skipping doctor visits can hurt your claim to recover damages.

Why Is It Important to Have a Tulsa Distracted Driver Accident Attorney?

Having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side often means the difference between recovering your total compensation or just a fraction of what you deserve. Distracted driver car accidents can be very challenging:

Determining liability can be difficult

If the negligent driver does not confess to engaging in distracting behavior, law enforcement may decide fault lies with both parties.

Under comparative negligence laws, both motorists can share fault in an accident demonstrated as a percentage. The total amount of compensation after a Tulsa car accident is contingent upon the percentage of liability.

A car accident lawyer can thoroughly investigate your case to support your best interests. To prove the other motorist was negligent, we will:

  • Interview key witnesses
  • Retain investigators and necessary experts
  • Gather key evidence (e.g., social media messages, cell phone reports)
The insurance adjuster may deny your claim

In some cases, an insurance company may deny your claim. Some common reasons an insurance adjuster may deny offering a fair settlement include:

  • Disputes over liability or lack of evidence to prove fault
  • The negligent driver lacks the necessary coverage
  • The insurance policy lapsed
  • Driver exclusion clauses
  • The cause of injury is disputed
  • The seriousness of injuries is contested
  • Incomplete investigation
  • Failure to timely file the claim

When legitimate claims are denied, accident victims are forced to navigate a complex appeals process. An experienced personal injury law firm can prepare and file all the extensive paperwork on your behalf.

The success of a car accident claim largely depends on the skill of your representation

The sooner an attorney-client relationship can be established, the sooner you can focus on healing. A personal injury firm will:

  • Prepare all supporting documents with careful attention to detail
  • Track and meet every deadline
  • Negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement

In the event the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, you can work with an attorney to help recover the compensation you need, as opposed to handling the claim yourself.

What Damages are Available in Oklahoma Car Accident Claims?

Injury claims in Oklahoma car accidents can recover financial compensation for medical bills, property damage, and non-economic damages. While every case is different, you may be entitled to the following damages:

  • Complete coverage of your medical bills related to the accident
  • Lost wages if you are unable to work
  • Loss of future income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional distress damages
  • Possible punitive damages for gross negligence

Punitive damages differ from other compensatory damages. While medical bills and pain and suffering are awarded to help the victim, punitive damages are awarded to punish the negligent party.

For distracted driver claims, certain criteria must be met to qualify for punitive damages. It is in your best interests to discuss the available compensation for your car accident claim with a knowledgeable law firm.

How Many People in Tulsa Are Injured or Killed Each Year by Distracted Drivers?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 people lose their lives to distracted driver accidents each year. Over 400,000 people are injured.

The NHTSA has created multiple campaigns against distracted driving. While the majority of offenders are teens and young adults, the statistics show other worrying trends.

In the last reporting year, distracted drivers caused:

  • 9% of all fatal collisions
  • 15% of all injury-related car wrecks
  • 13% of fatal distracted driver accidents involved cell phone use
  • 15-20 year-olds are the largest age group affected by distracted driving

Cell phone use is the most contributing distracting factor in an Oklahoma car accident. When a motorist checks an alert or glances at a text message, they jeopardize their lives and the lives of everyone on the roadways.

Can a Surviving Family Member Sue for a Wrongful Death Caused by a Serious Accident?

When the unthinkable happens, a surviving family member can sue for a wrongful death caused by a serious motor vehicle accident. It is essential to understand that a wrongful death claim is never filed for financial gain.

Instead, a wrongful death claim serves to:

  • Hold grossly negligent parties responsible for the death of a loved one
  • Provide justice and a sense of closure to family members
  • Save lives by deterring others from similar acts of negligence

Accountability in a wrongful death claim is reflected as monetary compensation in an amount that will best discourage future negligent acts. Surviving family members may be able to recover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of future income
  • Possible punitive damages Loss of consortium
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Tulsa Car Accident Lawyers Today

Graves McLain is a highly accomplished personal injury firm. Our Tulsa distracted driver attorneys:

  • Have successfully recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for our clients
  • Offer our services on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no upfront attorney costs
  • Provide compassionate free case evaluations
  • Have earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating for legal ability and ethics

If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers today by calling (918) 359-6600.

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