New Haven Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers
You had a car accident. There is evidence that the other driver was talking their cell phone at the time of the crash. What are the legal implications of an injury accident involving a distracted driver? Does it mean you can be awarded more damages in a personal injury lawsuit?
Do I Need a Lawyer?
In any personal injury lawsuit, you need effective legal representation to be sure you get the right outcome: damages for pain and suffering, money for medical treatment and to repair your automobile. The added legal issue of distracted driving, a new area of law that adds increased complexity to your lawsuit, is another good reason to find an experienced attorney who can sort out the legal issues and negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to secure the best settlement for you.
Why Choose Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers?
Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers have considerable experience as car accident lawyers. That is important because we know the law and the civil justice system in Connecticut, and we also know what kinds of settlements are possible in this environment. We often have a track record with the specific insurance company for the plaintiff, which can mean a faster process in getting to a settlement. We have several offices in New Haven and adjacent counties and are familiar with the judges and attorneys in this civil jurisdiction, and it also means our reputation as zealous advocates in personal injury lawsuits will work for you in when negotiating the best settlement for your distracted driving car accident lawsuit.
Our primary focus is on getting you an optimal settlement. We have seen the damage that a car accident can cause, including physical damage and property damage. Injuries in an automobile accident can be severe, including:
- Head trauma, which can have consequences that can last for years, or even longer
- Broken bones, sprains and strains, which can keep you out of work for long periods and jeopardize your ability to keep your job.
- Internal organ damage, which may require surgery or painful physical therapy and have implications for long periods of time.
- Facial injuries and or cuts and lacerations that necessitate expensive plastic surgery to remediate.
- And many more possible physical injuries
Medical care is extremely expensive, and if you are not at fault in the accident because the other driver was texting or talking on their cell phone, there is no reason why you should need to cover your medical expenses. We are very aware that our work as personal injury lawyers is a critical part of a process to restore you to the same condition you were in the moment before the crash; we take that responsibility very seriously.
Getting you compensation for property damage is also an important part of what we do. If your care is badly damaged, you want to get it fixed as quickly as possible and get back on the road, and we understand that. If other property is damaged in the accident, we make sure you are compensated for it as well.
What is distracted driving and why is it so dangerous?
According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, hand-held cell phones or mobile electronic devices may not be used while operating a motor vehicle, including while you are stopped in traffic or at a stop light.
- Drivers 18 years of age and older need hands-free accessories to legally use cell phones or mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.
- Drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are restricted from using any type of cell phone or mobile electronic device while driving, even with hands-free accessories.
Mobile electronic devices include devices for text messaging or paging, personal digital assistants, laptop computers, equipment capable of playing video games or digital video disks, or equipment on which digital photographs are taken or transmitted. A mobile electronic device does not include audio equipment.
Texting while driving is particularly detrimental to driving performance. According to a 2011 study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, which involved having 42 drivers between 18 and 54 drive on a closed course while texting. The results? According to the study “Reaction times with no texting activity were typically between one and two seconds. Reaction times while texting, however, were at least three to four seconds. Worse yet, drivers were more than 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light altogether when they were texting.”
A 2016 study from Australia demonstrated that drivers’ reaction times were significantly slower when talking on a cell phone. “We monitored the driver’s performance and reaction times during hands-free and hand-held phone conversations and without,” said Dr. Shimul Haques, author of the study. “The reaction time of drivers participating in either a hand-held or hands-free conversation was more than 40 percent longer than those not using a phone. In real terms, this equates to a delayed response distance of about [21 yards] for a vehicle traveling at [25 miles per hour]. This shows hands-free and hand-held phone conversations while driving has similar detrimental effects in responding to a very common peripheral event of a pedestrian entering a crossing from the footpath.” Dr Haque said it was the cognitive load required to hold a conversation that was the distraction, not whether or not the driver was holding a phone.
The decline in reaction time explains why Connecticut and many other states passed laws prohibiting distracted driving in the past few years. Distracted driving is a relatively new feature of personal injury lawsuits, an important reason why you should hire a lawyer with experience in these types of personal injury lawsuits. The slowdown in reaction times is significant, sometimes more than that of a drunk driver, and endangers all the other drivers on the road. It is also willful, which is what makes it legally significant. The distracted driver is guilty of negligence, and assessing the amount of blame assigned to the driver and the claimant is important when determining damages. Connecticut has modified comparative fault statutes where the plaintiff can recover from the defendant as long as they are found by the court to be 51% or less at fault in the accident. Knowing the ins and outs of assessing blame for an automobile accident is an important part of what we at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers do for our clients.
What type of compensation could I be owed?
Information on settlement awards for distracted driving are anecdotal, but awards have been increasing in the past few years. In 2015, a woman from Torrington was awarded $1.4 million when a driver talking on his cellphone hit her head-on and caused permanent injury to her neck and back. In 2016, a driver in a cell phone-related accident was awarded $1.3 million in compensation for serious injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Connecticut?
Statute of limitations is a critical issue for personal injury lawsuits in every state. If you miss the statute of limitations “window” when filing your case, it will not go forward. According to Connecticut Statutes, the statute of limitations is two years for both injury and property damage.
What will it cost me to hire a lawyer?
The civil personal injury system in Connecticut relies upon contingency fees paid to the lawyer by the defendant. The contingency fee is negotiated at the time of hiring the lawyer. The lawyer and defendants then negotiate a predetermined percentage of the damage settlement as payment for their services. This system essentially puts proper incentives in place for the lawyer to aggressively fight for an optimal damage award.
How do I choose a lawyer to represent me?
This is the most important question clients need to be answered. How can you know which lawyer will best represent your interests in a personal injury lawsuit? The obvious things to look for are experience in your specific type of injury lawsuit. How many has the firm handled? What is their “scorecard” of success, and what kind of awards have their clients received? Often, the best way to research a law firm is simply to ask around and see who has a good reputation. But you can also get important information from just meeting with representatives of the firm. Are they cordial? Do they seem to understand your situation? Are they responsive communicators who keep in touch as the lawsuit moves through the process? You don’t want to work with a lawyer who is eager to take your contingency fee and then spends most of his or her time finding other clients. Your lawsuit is important to you and you need to feel like it is important to your attorney also.
AtJonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, there are no small lawsuits. We take your trust in us seriously and we fight hard to get you the best settlement we can as fast as we can. Call us today to set up a consultation and we will explain what we can do for you.