Distracted driving is a serious epidemic that injures and takes the lives of thousands Americans every year. What makes this fact worse is that the drivers themselves are choosing to participate in an activity that they know will take their eyes off the road and put others at risk. Yet, for some reason, this doesn’t stop them, and as a result, other people suffer.
A Simple Turn
It was what should have been a normal day, with hundreds of people out and about, doing their daily tasks. But at one intersection, disaster struck. A woman, who was driving her sedan, was driving distractedly while making a turn. She failed to see the 81-year-old man in a wheelchair who was in the crosswalk and struck him.
He sustained dislocations of both shoulders, head trauma, and multiple rib fractures. Despite the quick response of an emergency team, the stress on his body was too much and at the hospital, after receiving extensive treatment for his injuries, he had a heart attack. Doctors were unable to stop the cardiac arrest in time and he passed away, leaving behind three adult children.
In the short period of time he survived following the accident, his medical expenses totaled nearly $900,000.
His Surviving Children
Shortly after burying their father, his three children chose to file a lawsuit alleging that the driver failed to keep a proper lookout and so was the negligent party in the accident.
After a thorough review of the facts and careful negotiation, the two parties came to an agreement and settled out of court for $382,000.
Are Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawsuits Common?
Yes! Let’s look at the facts:
There are three categories of distracted driving:
- Manual – This is where the driver’s hands are physically away from the steering wheel for some reason, such as eating or applying makeup.
- Visual – A driver’s eyes should always be on the road in front of them but when they become distracted, this often isn’t what happens because people tend to look at whatever it is that is causing the distraction.
- Cognitive – This is when the driver’s mind is simply not focused on the task at hand at hand, which is of course, driving a vehicle.
It’s no exaggeration to say that thousands are hurt by distracted driving, in fact, research has shown that some forms of distraction, such as text messaging, can increase the chance of being involved in an accident by more than 23 times. In addition to this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has reported that 17% of all crashes that result in injuries are caused by distracted driving.
But What About New York’s “No Fault” System?
It is true that in the state of New York insurance works in a “no-fault” system which means that if a driver is involved in an accident, they turn to their own insurance for compensation. However, lawsuits are permitted, if the driver hits a pedestrian, or if multiple vehicles are involved and the victims sustain:
- broken bones
- serious scarring or disfigurement
- the reduced use or loss of use of a limb or organ
- a reduced use of a body function
- full disability for 90 days
This is because these issues typically result in medical expenses that are far more expensive than the amount of coverage a car insurance policy provides. The fact is, that once a policy is maxed out, the insurance company stops paying because their first priority is to save the company as much money as possible.
We understand how stressful the thought of filing a lawsuit can be but it’s very important that you don’t just push it aside and ignore it, because there are time limits. In New York, victims only have three years to file a car accident lawsuit. After this time, the opportunity to recover compensation for losses may be lost forever.