Distracted driving accidents continue to be one of the most common causes of car accidents in the United States. Cell phones and other devices make it too easy to lose focus on driving. However, there are other causes of distracted driving that are just as dangerous.
When a driver looks away for just a second, the results can be devastating for an innocent victim. Our Oklahoma City distracted driving accident attorneys work with victims and their families to recover compensation for injuries and damages caused by a distracted driver.
If a distracted driver injured you or your child, contact McGuire Law Firm for a free consultation with an attorney. Let us help you hold an irresponsible and negligent driver accountable for his or her actions.
How Often Do Distracted Driving Accidents Happen in Oklahoma?
Most of the distracted driving accidents in Oklahoma occur on city streets. In 2018, 8,752 distracted driving crashes were reported in Oklahoma that resulted in 35 deaths and hundreds of injuries. Nationwide, distracted drivers caused accidents that injured over 400,000 people and killed 2,841 people in 2018.
In Oklahoma City, ten people lost their lives in 1,884 distracted driving crashes in 2018.
Oklahoma City is in Oklahoma County, but the city limits also extend into other counties. The distracted driving statistics for those counties in 2018 were:
- Oklahoma County reported 2,281 distracted driving crashes resulting in eight deaths.
- Canadian County reported 315 distracted driving crashes resulting in six deaths.
- Pottawatomie County reported 96 distracted driving accidents resulting in one death.
- Cleveland County reported 686 distracted driving crashes with no deaths.
Sadly, distracted driving accidents are preventable. The causes of distracted driving can be avoided if drivers would maintain their focus on driving and the road ahead.
What are the Common Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents in Oklahoma City?
The causes of distracted driving accidents are numerous. Drivers who take their eyes off the road while traveling 55 miles per hour can travel the length of a football field in just five seconds.
Three main distractions that contribute to the cause of a distracted driving accident:
- Cognitive — The driver takes his mind off the road and off the task of driving. For instance, the driver may be daydreaming or focusing on a work problem.
- Visual — The driver takes his eyes off the road. This distraction is common when the driver is reading a text or adjusting the radio.
- Manual — The driver takes his hands off the steering wheel. For example, the driver reaches for an object that is in the seat beside the driver or to pick up a drink.
All of the distractions are dangerous. Any distraction can result in a distracted driving accident.
However, tasks that involve all three distractions can have the highest risk of causing an accident. For example, texting while driving involves all three types of distractions, as does grooming and eating.
Common examples of distractions that can cause a traffic accident include, but are not limited to:
- Using a cell phone while driving;
- Texting while driving;
- Eating or drinking;
- Grooming or changing clothes;
- Programming a GPS device;
- Changing radio stations and adjusting vehicle controls;
- Taking care of a child, pet, or another passenger;
- Using social media accounts;
- Reaching for objects; and,
- Reading or watching videos.
Distracted drivers can cross the centerline or pull into traffic, causing head-on collisions and side-collisions, which can cause catastrophic injuries and life-threatening conditions.
Common Distracted Driving Accident Injuries
The speed of the vehicles and the type of collision have a significant impact on the severity of the injuries in a distracted driving accident. However, a distracted driving crash at low speeds can still cause severe injuries to the occupants of all vehicles involved in the crash.
Distracted drivers also crash into pedestrians and bicyclists, which can result in traumatic injuries for the bicyclist or pedestrian.
Common distracted driving accident injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries, including fractures and concussions
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Shoulder and back injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Internal bleeding and internal organ damage
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Severe burns and disfigurement
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
The treatment for injuries caused by a distracted driver can be extensive. Some individuals require surgery and lengthy hospital stays, followed by physical therapy. In some cases, a person may require occupational therapy or vocational therapy.
The cost of treatment is just one of the damages caused by distracted driving accidents. There are many more damages and losses that people experience because of a driver’s poor choices and negligence.
What Damages Are Available for a Distracted Driving Accident?
The damages in a distracted driving accident in Oklahoma include economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are the financial losses and expenses associated with the accident and your injuries. Noneconomic damages refer to the pain and suffering caused by the accident and your injuries.
Financial damages are generally included in an injury claim include:
- Medical bills;
- Loss of income;
- Travel to doctor’s visits;
- Therapy costs;
- Personal care expenses;
- Help with household chores; and,
- Attorneys’ fees and costs of the claim.
The value of economic damages is the total of the actual expenses for each item. Noneconomic damages are more difficult to value. These damages are subjective and depend on the person and the facts in each case.
Noneconomic damages include:
- Physical suffering and pain;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Loss of quality of life;
- Emotional suffering and distress;
- Mental anguish and suffering; and,
- Permanent impairments and disabilities.
There is not a standard formula used to calculate the value of pain and suffering damages for a distracted driving accident claim. An experienced Oklahoma City distracted driving accident lawyer understands the factors used to determine the value of your pain and suffering damages.
What Happens if I Was Partially to Blame for My Injury?
Your compensation for the injury claim could be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for causing the accident. Under Oklahoma’s comparative fault laws, compensation is not barred if a person is partially to blame for causing his or her injury unless that person’s fault is 51 percent or higher.
Insurance companies like to blame the victim for causing an accident. If they are successful, they can deny a valid claim or undervalue a claim. In some cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary to recover fair compensation for damages caused by a distracted driving crash.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Distracted Driving Accident Lawsuit in Oklahoma?
Most lawsuits related to motor vehicle accidents must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. While there are some exceptions when a victim is a minor or the person could not reasonably discover the injury until later, it is never wise to assume you could have more time to file a lawsuit.
There could be cases in which the deadline to file a claim is shorter, as in cases involving government agencies or entities. It is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after a traffic accident.
Why Should I Hire an Oklahoma City Distracted Driving Accident Attorney?
One of the benefits of hiring an Oklahoma City distracted driving accident is that having an attorney handle the case reduces your stress and allows you to focus on your recovery. Dealing with claims adjusters and insurance investigators can be overwhelming, stressful, and frustrating. It can also hurt your case.
Protection from Insurance Companies
Talking to an insurance claims adjuster could hurt your case. The claims adjuster works to protect the insurance company’s best interest. The adjuster’s job is to pay as little as possible for your claim.
Therefore, a claims adjuster will use whatever he can to lower the value of your claim or deny your claim altogether. That includes pressuring you to make a formal statement or sign a medical records release. Both actions could hurt your claim by giving the insurance company evidence to use against you.
Handles All Aspects of the Claim
It is best to speak with an attorney before you discuss your claim with the insurance adjuster. Other reasons you may want or need an attorney for a distracted driving accident include:
- Conduct an accident investigation;
- Interview eyewitnesses and gather evidence;
- Help document your damages;
- Identify liable parties and insurance coverage;
- File an insurance claim;
- Calculate an accurate value for your injury claim;
- Prepare a demand package for the insurance company;
- Negotiate a settlement of your claim; and,
- File a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary.
Protects Your Best Interests
Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster will not tell you if the settlement being offered is fair. He will not tell you that you should hire a distracted driving accident attorney.
Distracted driving accidents can be difficult to prove. Do not rely on what an insurance adjuster tells you. Get the facts from a trusted source for legal advice.
Contact an Experienced Distracted Driving Accident Attorney in Oklahoma City
You have the right to consult with an attorney regarding your distracted driving accident claim. An attorney explains your legal rights and options for recovering compensation for your injuries and damages. A lawyer looks out for your best interests.
If a distracted driver caused your injury, contact the McGuire Law Firm for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in OKC.