Distracted Driving Accidents

Los Angeles Lawyers for Injured Motorists

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a number of car accidents are caused by distracted driving. Distractions are any events or behaviors that pull the driver's attention away from the task of navigating and responding to critical events that occur on the road. For example, there may be visual distractions, such as checking directions to your destination on a navigation system, or manual distractions such as texting or eating. Unfortunately many drivers decide to multitask while commuting or driving out for the evening, and this often leads to crashes. If you are injured on Los Angeles roads due to someone else’s distracted driving, the experienced car accident lawyers of Sharifi Firm, PLC can help.

Distracted Driving in California

Distracted driving is often negligent driving. The driver does not purposely set out to harm someone, but due to the distraction, is careless while driving. In order to prove negligence, a plaintiff must prove: (1) the defendant's duty towards the plaintiff, (2) the defendant's breach of duty, (3) actual and proximate causation and (4) actual damages. All drivers owe a duty to use reasonable care while driving, and a driver's failure to do so by allowing him or herself to be distracted by a text, a heated argument, food, or changing the station on the radio, is generally a breach of duty.

The breach must actually cause the accident and must also be the proximate or legal cause. In other words, the breach of duty was causally connected to the accident, and may not be too remote from it. Traditionally there were two ways to determine causation in a California personal injury action. Under the "but for" test, the court would examine whether "but for" the defendant's action or omission, the accident would not have occurred. This test has given way to the substantial factor test, which looks at whether a reasonable person would consider the defendant's action or omission to have contributed to the plaintiff's harm.

Generally, the distraction in a distracted driving case cannot be too remote or trivial to be considered a cause. For example, if a driver is applying lipstick at a red light, and then puts the lipstick down when the light turns green, drives for three blocks without incident and then T-bones the plaintiff's car, the defendant's application of lipstick is probably not a substantial factor in the accident. On the other hand, if a defendant is applying lipstick while driving and T-bones a car at an uncontrolled intersection, the defendant's distraction is likely a substantial factor in the accident.

In some cases, the plaintiff and defendant have completely different stories about what happened to cause the accident. In complex cases, such as those involving multiple vehicles or a construction zone, it may be appropriate to retain an accident reconstruction expert who can look at the property damage, debris, witness testimony, and skid marks to reconstruct what really happened to cause the accident.

Aggressive Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Victims in Riverside

Distracted driving can have devastating consequences to others on the road. A defendant's decision to pay more attention to what CD is playing or a phone call from a friend can have a catastrophic impact. If you were injured due to an auto crash in or near Riverside, our attorneys can bring a lawsuit to pursue damages on your behalf. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation. We also represent clients in Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula, and San Bernardino.

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