Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in Virginia. Even a brief distraction creates a significant risk of an accident on the road. If you have been injured in a distracted driving crash, turn to the skilled legal team at Arrington Schelin. For over 40 years, our firm has fought for justice for people who were hurt in crashes that could have been prevented.
Contact us today for a free initial case review with an experienced Virginia distracted driving accident lawyer. Our team is here to answer your questions and help you demand the compensation you need to heal.
What Is Considered Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the road and the task of driving. Safe driving requires that a driver maintain their full attention on the road and on their vehicle. Any non-driving-related activity represents a potential distraction and increases the chance that they may be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Common examples of distracted driving include:
- Using a cellphone to text or talk
- Adjusting the radio
- Grooming oneself or applying makeup
- Eating or drinking
- Reading a map
- Dealing with pets
- Reaching around the passenger cabin
- Talking to other occupants of the vehicle
How We Prove Distracted Driving
Our attorneys have extensive experience investigating distracted driving accident cases. The evidence we may use to show that the other driver caused your accident due to a distraction includes:
- Accident scene photos, which may show evidence of distraction from the other driver’s car, such as food, drink, or grooming implements.
- Police accident reports, which may note if the driver was cited for violating the law against cellphone use while driving.
- Surveillance or traffic camera footage showing the driver’s distraction
- Testimony from the driver’s passengers.
- Electronic data recorder (“black box”) logs from the driver’s vehicle. These might show if the driver was using the vehicle’s infotainment system at the time of the crash. Vehicle performance data can also show if the driver failed to brake or swerve before the accident.
- Cellphone records, email records, or social media posts, which may indicate that the driver was using their phone right before the crash
Demanding Full Compensation for Distracted Driving Accident Victims
If a distracted driver caused your crash, you may be entitled to financial compensation for expenses and losses you have incurred or will incur as a result, such as:
- Costs of medical treatment, including hospital bills, surgeries, and other medical procedures, prescriptions, physical therapy, and other out-of-pocket purchases
- Long-term care expenses necessitated by permanent disabilities resulting from the accident
- Lost income if you take time off work to treat injuries or recover from the accident
- Loss of earning ability due to any permanent disabilities you may have sustained
- Costs to repair your vehicle and other damaged property, or payment for the value of your vehicle if it was totaled in the wreck
- Physical pain and emotional distress
- Lost quality of life due to permanent disfigurement or scarring, or due to disabilities that interfere with daily life
How Long Do You Have to File a Distracted Driving Accident Claim?
The statute of limitations in Virginia gives you only two years from the date of a distracted driving accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, the court may dismiss your case. The best move you can make after a crash is to speak with a lawyer right away. An attorney will work quickly to secure all necessary evidence and begin building a strong case for maximum compensation.
Virginia Distracted Driving Laws
Under Virginia law, a driver may not hold a handheld personal communications device, such as a cellphone, while driving. A ticket for holding a cellphone while driving carries a fine of $125 for a first offense or $250 for a second and each subsequent offense. Violating the law in a highway work zone carries a mandatory fine of $250. The law does not apply to someone holding a cellphone to report an emergency.
Virginia Distracted Driving Accident Statistics
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the state saw a total of 18,808 crashes involving distracted driving in one recent year. Distracted driving accounted for 17.8 percent of all motor vehicle accidents that year. Of those, 12,107 accidents resulted in only property damage and 6,590 led to injuries.
Distracted driving accidents that year led to a total of 121 fatalities, accounting for 14.3 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths. These included 78 drivers, 25 passengers, and 18 pedestrians.
In addition, 10,367 people suffered injuries in distracted driving accidents, 1,383 of whom were seriously injured. That figure includes 8,097 drivers, 2,095 passengers, and 175 pedestrians. Furthermore, 1,055 drivers, 269 passengers, and 59 pedestrians suffered serious injuries.
Individuals aged 21 to 35 accounted for the most fatalities and injuries of any age bracket, including 51 deaths and 3,454 injuries.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distractions can be classified in three ways:
Manual distractions are anything that requires a driver to take one or both hands off the steering wheel. Examples of manual distractions include texting or using a cellphone, eating or drinking, grooming, using a GPS, or adjusting the radio or infotainment system.
Visual distractions are anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. A driver may be visually distracted by looking at their cellphone, at a map, at their vehicle’s infotainment system, or at anything else that may be on or alongside the road.
A cognitive distraction is one that causes a driver to stop paying active attention to the act of driving. Reading or responding to texts or emails, talking on the phone (even when using a hands-free device or system), talking to other passengers in the vehicle, and daydreaming all constitute cognitive distractions.
Our Virginia Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help
Holding a distracted driver accountable for an accident that injured you can prove difficult. But an experienced personal injury lawyer can handle all the details and take the pressure off you during this difficult time. Let the Virginia distracted driving accident attorneys of Arrington Schelin help you pursue the results you deserve by:
- Conducting a thorough investigation of the crash to recover any evidence we can use to prove the other driver was distracted and caused the accident
- Gathering records to document your expenses and losses, including helping you build evidence of your pain and suffering and lost quality of life
- Guiding you if you are having trouble getting the medical attention you need
- Helping you understand your legal rights and options and what to expect at each stage of your case
- Hiring expert witnesses as needed to develop persuasive arguments for your case
- Vigorously pursuing settlement negotiations for fair and full compensation
- Preparing your case for trial if litigation is necessary
If you have been the victim of a distracted driver, reach out to us online or call Arrington Schelin today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our Virginia distracted driving accident attorneys can help you pursue the maximum financial recovery you deserve after being injured due to no fault of your own.
Our firm represents crash victims in Bristol, Marion, Norton, Abingdon, Tazewell, Wise, Lebanon, Grundy, and throughout Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee. We are available to discuss your case over the phone or in-person at a location that is convenient for you.