Riverside Distracted Driving Accidents
Located near the Santa Ana River, Riverside is the 12th-largest city in California. As a result, several major freeways traverse the city, and people often spend a long time on the road commuting to work or handling errands. Staying behind the wheel for many hours, especially in the monotony of rush hour or other heavy traffic conditions, often causes drivers to lose focus on the road. Distracted driving occurs if a driver’s attention is diverted from the task of driving to a different activity. Distracted driving may be a result of texting while driving, emailing while driving, talking on the phone while driving, eating while driving, engaging in a heated conversation while driving, or adjusting the radio instead of paying attention to the road. At Sharifi Firm, APC, our Riverside distracted driving accident lawyers may be able to help you recover damages if you are injured in a crash.Establishing Liability for a Distracted Driving Accident
California has a program called "It's Not Worth It!" to reduce the number of drivers who text while driving. The average person who texts while driving travels the length of a football field without seeing the road. Texting while driving has been illegal for several years in California, and at the start of 2017, a new law took effect that forbids drivers from holding their cellphones in their hands for any reason, including using apps or other aspects of the phone. However, this behavior is still far from being eradicated.
People who are injured by a distracted driver may have a basis to bring a personal injury lawsuit. When the accident was a result of a violation of the law prohibiting texting while driving, it may be possible to recover damages by claiming negligence per se. Under this doctrine, a distracted driving accident attorney in Riverside can help you recover damages by showing that there was a violation of a safety rule or law, the accident happened because of the violation, and you are a member of the class that the rule or law was intended to protect. Generally, it can be easier for a plaintiff to recover under negligence per se because the standard of care is codified, and it is easier to show that it was violated or not violated under a particular set of facts. It is important for the police to come to the scene of the car accident and cite a distracted driver for the purposes of recovering damages under negligence per se.
Even if negligence per se does not apply, you may be able to recover damages under a theory of negligence. You can prove that a driver was negligent in a distracted driving case by showing that they owed a duty of care but breached that duty by allowing themselves to be distracted in some way, the distracted driving caused your injuries, and actual damages ensued. For example, a driver who is eating a sandwich while driving may not have his complete attention on the road. It is likely that a driver whose attention is split will swerve into another lane, fail to brake in time, or miss the changing of a light.
Often, a defendant raises comparative negligence as an affirmative defense. In other words, they might argue that you were also distracted and that this contributed to the accident. The jury will look at the facts presented by your Riverside distracted driving accident attorney and assign the defendant and you percentages of fault. The total damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault, and the other driver will only be responsible for an amount of the damages that is equal to their degree of fault.
Damages that you may be able to recover include emergency care, medical care, personal care, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of employment benefits, property damage, permanent disability, scarring, disfigurement, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and out-of-pocket expenses. If you lose a loved one to a distracted driving accident, you may be able to recover for wrongful death damages, including funeral and burial expenses.Retain a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer in the Riverside Area
Distracted driving can result in life-changing injuries to victims. At Sharifi Firm, APC, our experienced attorneys can evaluate the facts surrounding your accident and determine whether you have a claim and what may be a logical strategy to pursue damages. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or online.