San Bernardino Distracted Driving Accidents
San Bernardino is located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. The city extends across about 60 square miles, and there were 35 fatal car crashes there in 2014, some of which were caused by drivers who were distracted behind the wheel. Several busy freeways traverse the city and its surroundings, including I-10, I-210, and I-15. Distracted driving is a serious problem in Southern California and elsewhere. Drivers frequently check their smart phones, eat, or apply make-up while driving. They may also text, check on pets in the back seat, or pay more attention to their kids than the road conditions. If you are injured in a crash of this nature, you should retain an experienced San Bernardino distracted driving accident lawyer.Holding a Distracted Driver Liable for Damages
As with other accidents, you will need to establish the other driver's negligence in order to recover damages after a distracted driving accident. To prove the defendant's negligence, you will need to show that it is more likely than not that the defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care, breached this duty, actually and proximately caused your injuries in breaching this duty, and caused you to suffer actual damages.
In most cases, being distracted while driving is a breach of the duty to use reasonable care while driving. If, for example, another driver was looking down at a text rather than the road and rear-ended you, this is a breach of the duty to use reasonable care. A driver who looks away to read a text is doing the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded. It may be negligent per se, since drivers are forbidden from texting while driving in California. Assuming that a rear-end collision arising out of texting while driving caused your injuries, you should be able to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
In many cases, a defendant raises the comparative negligence of the plaintiff as a defense. Under such a defense, the defendant will need to prove your negligence. A distracted driving accident attorney can help San Bernardino residents minimize the impact of this doctrine on their case. Suppose, for example, that the defendant was adjusting the radio while driving, but you were speeding. These two negligent actions could combine to cause a serious car crash. The jury will look at all of the evidence and listen to the arguments of the parties. They will evaluate not only the damages but also the percentage of fault of anyone involved in the accident, including you. Your damages will be reduced by your degree of fault, as determined by the jury. For example, if the damages are $200,000, and the jury decides that you were 20% at fault, you can recover $160,000 of the damages from defendants that are found liable.
Often, two or more other drivers are distracted, and their distraction combines to cause injuries to a victim. In California, defendants can be held jointly and severally liable for economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and household services. This means that even if there are multiple distracted drivers, your San Bernardino distracted driving accident attorney can recover all of your economic damages from just one of them. That defendant can then pursue the other drivers for a contribution, based on their own degree of fault. This is important when, for example, one driver is uninsured or underinsured.
However, each defendant is only severally responsible for an amount equal to their proportion of fault when it comes to noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. This can be challenging for a plaintiff who suffers catastrophic injuries because it means that if an at-fault driver is uninsured, the plaintiff will need to absorb that loss or make a claim to their uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. They cannot recover that sum from other defendants in the lawsuit.Consult a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer in San Bernardino
If you were injured in a distracted driving accident that you believe was somebody else's fault, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. At Sharifi Firm, APC, we can evaluate the circumstances surrounding a car crash to determine whom to hold accountable for your injuries. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form.