It only takes one moment of distraction. Whether it’s reading a text, taking a bite to eat, or having a conversation that takes your eyes away from the road — an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. It happens every day in Arizona.
According to the CDC, nine people are killed in the United States every day in a crash that involves a distracted driver. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver in Arizona, you need to understand and protect your legal rights and options.
Distracted driving accidents take place as a result of various negligent behaviors, such as:
Whatever distraction pops up, when a driver is distracted and causes an accident, it can lead to serious injuries for others — some of which may result in significant financial damages. For example, a distracted driving accident may result in the need for many medical tests, imaging, and treatments, sometimes including hospital stays, along with visits to doctors and specialists.
The accident may result in the victim being unable to work, leading to lost income or wages. It may also lead to significant pain and suffering, the loss of enjoyment of activities, the loss of future potential income, and an overall decline in the victim’s quality of life.
Arizona takes distracted driving seriously. Although there is no hard-and-fast law against distracted driving in the state, Arizona does have some specific laws that deal with distractions in a vehicle.
For instance, It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving, whether it be for the purposes of talking, texting, scrolling social media, or catching up on the headlines of the day. Fines for the first violation of that law range from $75 to $149, with subsequent violations between $150 and $250. Additionally, some cities such as Phoenix and Tucson have their own laws against phone use while driving.
Moreover, the law of negligence in Arizona protects victims of distracted drivers. To prove a negligence claim, you will need to show that the driver owed you a duty of reasonable care on the road and that they breached their duty when they drove distracted.
You will also need to prove that the resulting accident was the direct cause of your personal injuries and financial damages. There is also a concept called negligence per se, which allows you to hold the distracted driver liable for their negligence as a result of breaking the law. For example, proving that they were on a cell phone when they caused the accident, which is in violation of Arizona’s statute that makes it illegal to use a phone while driving.
First, be sure you seek out and receive the medical treatment and care that are necessary for your specific personal injuries. Even if you feel completely fine after you are struck by a distracted driver, you need to be sure to get checked out by emergency medical professionals. Some injuries can take days or weeks to appear, and it is important that you begin the process of getting treated for your injuries as soon as possible after your accident.
Second, try to preserve important evidence in your case. Get the contact information for any parties involved and any witnesses to the accident. Ask witnesses to provide a statement of what they observed at the scene, and take pictures of the scene, any damage to vehicles or other personal property, and your personal injuries.
Third, contact an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about handling distracted driving accident cases. It can be difficult to piece together this type of case, and you shouldn’t try to do it alone. An experienced attorney will help you investigate the facts, gather important evidence such as cell phone records, police, and medical reports, and establish your claim.
You will likely need to negotiate with the other parties’ insurance companies. This can make for a difficult situation, as large insurance companies tend to have significant legal and financial resources, which can skew the balance of power in their favor. Consult with a distracted driving accident lawyer who will be on your side during negotiations, and if a fair and reasonable settlement is not possible, will present a strong case on your behalf at trial.
Even if at first blush it seems clear that the distracted driver should be at fault, questions or liability and damages can quickly turn complex, and you need a competent attorney by your side.
Suffering an injury at the hands of a distracted driver can result in serious medical issues and changes to your life. While compensation may be available to help you with some of the financial losses that stem from your injuries, these cases can be complicated, lengthy, and difficult to handle. It is important that you receive sound legal advice, protect your legal rights, and discuss your potential options with an experienced Arizona motor vehicle lawyer.
At Torgenson Law, our experienced and knowledgeable Arizona distracted driving accident lawyers understand the significant impact of a serious injury on a person and their family, and we want to help you recover physically and financially.
We have many years of experience negotiating with insurance companies and will work tirelessly toward a fair and reasonable settlement offer on your behalf. Give us a call today at 602-726-0747 or get in touch online for a free case evaluation.