Your first impression of how an accident happened can change drastically once the facts are in. If it turns out that your accident was caused by a distracted driver, things can feel twice as bad. Distracted driving accidents are different in several ways. Read on and find out more.
Not Just an Accident
There are accidents and then there are accidents caused by contributory negligence. Almost anyone can be careless and run a stop sign, veer into an oncoming lane, or make other accidental moves. Sometimes, though, the actions go beyond carelessness. Distracted driving is one of those situations. You might also run into contributory negligence when the other driver:
How These Accidents Are Different
Fault is an enormously important factor in an accident. If the other driver can be shown to be 100% at fault, you may be owed a lot of money damages. If not, you are not likely to be paid much at all. Fault is determined using several methods. In most cases, the opinion of the investigating law enforcement officer is held to a high degree of value. If fault is unclear, you can expect the insurer to perform additional investigations. In some cases, accident reconstruction experts are consulted. If the other driver was using a phone or otherwise distracted, the information often comes from the other driver, passengers, and eye-witnesses to the accident.
How Distracted Driving Affects Your Case
While the laws vary from state to state, drivers found to be using prohibited devices are usually ticketed at the scene. The information about the infraction may appear in the accident report completed at the scene by the responding law enforcement officer. In all likelihood, the driver ticketed (or arrested) at the scene will be assigned 100% fault for the accident. That increases your chances of winning a personal injury case against the other driver since it proves fault.
In addition, if your case comes to trial, there is a good chance the jury will also award punitive damages to the victim. Punitive damages are not a normal part of a lawsuit and are only used in cases where an example needs to be made or the need exists to further punish the other driver. Punitive damages can pay out at two, three, or more times the amount of the other damages like medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
To find out more about how distracted driving could impact your case, speak to a personal injury lawyer.
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