Filing a Claim for a Distracted Driving Accident
Distracted driving, particularly arising from texting while driving, has quickly become one of the leading causes of accidents in New Jersey and in other states across the country. Filing a claim for injuries and damages suffered in a distracted driving accident can seem like a straightforward process, especially when the distraction comes from texting or cell phone use. Texting and driving can not only create a risk of an accident, but it is itself a violation of the law. However, distracted driving claims can get complicated when a texting driver is held only partially responsible for an accident; cases in New Jersey have held that a texting driver may only be partially negligent if he or she was on the job and texting his or her employer or a customer at the time of the accident
Texting While Driving
All distracted driving can be dangerous. A driver can get distracted by fiddling with the car radio, infotainment, or navigation system, by interacting with other passengers or occupants of the vehicle (such as pets), by eating or driving, by applying makeup or performing other grooming, or by focusing one’s attention on something outside the vehicle. However, evidence points to texting and driving as being the greatest distraction behind the wheel.
How Distracted Driving Can Be Dangerous
Distracted driving, especially when texting and driving, can be particularly dangerous not only for the texting driver but also for the other occupants of his or her vehicle and for others on the road, including other motorists and passengers, bicyclists, or pedestrians. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, texting while driving is more likely to increase the risk of an accident than regular cell phone use (i.e. taking a call on the phone).
Texting while driving and other distracted driving is dangerous because it requires a driver to take his or her focus and mental energy off the road. For example, sending or receiving a text requires a driver to look away from the road for an average of about four and a half seconds; at highway speeds, that means a texting driver’s vehicle will have traveled the length of a football field. According to the federal government, a driver is 23 times more likely to get into an accident when texting and driving. This risk goes up if other factors are present, such as if the driver is under the influence, is speeding, or if there are adverse weather or road conditions.
New Jersey Laws on Distracted Driving
New Jersey prohibits all drivers from texting while actively operating their vehicles on the road. Under New Jersey’s texting-while-driving law:
- Drivers must use hands-free devices or systems while talking on cell phones
- Drivers under the age of 21 with a learner’s permit or probationary license may not use cell phones at all behind the wheel, even with hands-free devices
- School bus drivers are prohibited from any cell phone use behind the wheel
If a driver causes an accident while texting and driving and the accident results in serious injury or death, he or she can be prosecuted with a felony, facing prison time and fines of up to $150,000.
Finally, a driver who was texting at the time of an accident may be presumed to have been the negligent driver in a later civil case under the doctrine of negligence per se.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Distracted Driving Accident?
New Jersey residents who were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver have two years to file a claim. It’s very important that injured individuals do not miss this window because once it closes, so does your opportunity to recover compensation.
Compensation for these types of accidents is often necessary due to the severity of the injuries that can be sustained as a result of them. Injured individuals may not only be forced to deal with costly medical bills stemming from treatment, but lost wages as a result of not being able to return to work for the duration of their recovery. In the worst of cases, individuals may suffer a permanent injury such as a spinal cord injury that prevents them from returning to work moving forward. It’s important to have a skilled personal injury lawyer by your side who can advocate for your rights and help you on the road to recovery.
Contact a Red Bank Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Distracted Driving Accident Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to a defective product in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Drazin and Warshaw, P.C. represent clients injured in Red Bank, Farmingdale, Belmar, Millstone and throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County and Middlesex County, New Jersey. Call (732) 576-8860 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 25 Reckless Place, Red Bank, NJ 07701 as well as offices in Hazlet and Brick.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.