According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), despite distracted driving laws in New York and other states, 3,522 people were killed and an estimated 362,415 were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers in 2021.
Drivers who engage in this reckless conduct should be held accountable, particularly when they cause accidents and injure or kill other motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
These tragedies can have devastating effects on those involved. Accidents caused by distracted driving result in injuries to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and even deaths. Medical expenses, lost wages, funeral expenses, and the costs associated with psychological trauma can place a heavy financial burden on victims and their families.
In such situations, auto and health insurance may not cover all of a family's expenses. However, victims may be able to sue negligent parties for their injuries, ensuring that they receive full compensation from those responsible. Our seasoned attorneys are prepared to assist accident victims injured by negligent drivers.
Below, you will find more information related to distracted driving and distracted driving laws in New York.
What Constitutes Distracted Driving in New York?
Although the majority of people acknowledge that distracted driving is a problem, not everyone agrees on what it means to be distracted. Most people associate distracted driving with talking on a cell phone or texting, but it can also involve other activities.
Distracted driving is any behavior that diverts a driver's attention from the road and impairs his or her ability to ensure safety. A driver is negligent, for instance, if they use a hand-held mobile phone to call or text. You can also hold them accountable for any accidents caused when taking photos or videos.
Some activities may distract a driver, making it difficult to concentrate on the road. For instance, conversing with passengers can impair the ability to react quickly. In addition, listening to loud music impairs a driver's ability to hear sirens and car alarms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified three distinct types of distracted driving. These are:
- Visual distractions that divert your attention away from the road. This includes using a GPS, glancing at a billboard, rubbernecking an accident, admiring the scenery, and even looking at other vehicles surrounding you instead of those in your immediate path and adjacent to you.
- Manual distractions that force you to remove your hand from the steering wheel. Manual distractions include eating or drinking while driving, using a cell phone, changing the radio station, handling a pet, smoking, or reaching for something in the car.
- Cognitive distractions that divert your attention away from driving. This category includes singing, talking, daydreaming, and worrying.
New York's Distracted Driving Laws
According to Vehicle & Traffic Law 1225(c) and VTL 1225(d), it is unlawful for a New York driver to use a handheld cell phone or any other portable electronic device used for communication or computing while operating a motor vehicle.
The penalty imposed for violating this law ranges from $50 to $450, depending on whether it is the first, second, or third offense. If convicted, you will also receive five points on your driver's license for each offense. If you accumulate 11 points within 18 months, your license may be suspended.
In New York, a distracted driver who causes an accident is liable for damages. Therefore, all affected parties may file claims for damages not covered by their insurance. They may also initiate a lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Should I File a Lawsuit Against a Distracted Driver Who Caused an Accident in NY?
When a victim is injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, they may have the right to sue the negligent driver. However, they must consider whether or not they satisfy the serious injury threshold under New York law and whether or not a lawsuit will best serve their needs.
Generally, if a victim's injuries are minor, their auto insurance and health insurance policies will cover the costs without difficulty. In more severe accidents, economic losses such as medical expenses may exceed the policies' coverage limits. Policies will always have limits for each accident, and a victim's insurer is not required to cover costs in excess of those limits. A victim must satisfy the threshold for seriousness in order to receive additional compensation for excess economic losses or any compensation for non-economic losses.
After satisfying one of these requirements, a victim must determine whether or not a lawsuit is necessary. As a result of the fact that many liable parties will admit responsibility, accident lawsuits are frequently settled outside of court rather than proceeding to trial. Nonetheless, if a party refuses to compromise, the victim and their legal counsel will need to prepare for a lengthy legal process that could last months or years. The victim must be confident that this is their best option for obtaining compensation. If the case is not strong enough to convince a jury, or if the cost of proceeding to trial exceeds the case's value, the plaintiff may receive no compensation.
Before filing a lawsuit against the responsible party, you should consult with an experienced NY car accident lawyer.
What Damages Can I Recover by Filing a Lawsuit Against a Distracted Driver in New York?
When injured by a distracted driver in New York, you may be eligible for a variety of damages. For instance, you can sue for numerous medical expenses. These consist of:
- Hospital admission & emergency care
- Rehabilitative care
- Cost of assistive medical devices
Accidents on the road are traumatic and can have a significant impact on your mental health. You could seek compensation if you suffered from PTSD, anxiety, or depression. This measure can assist you in enhancing your quality of life and alleviating financial stress.
When suing a distracted driver, you may also seek compensation for pain and suffering. This injury will include emotional suffering and distress as a consequence of the occurrence.
Under this category, you may seek compensation for physical suffering, for instance. The law also permits you to seek compensation for your diminished quality of life.
If a distracted driver caused an accident in which your vehicle was damaged, you could file a lawsuit against them. You can claim costs for repair, for instance, if the damage was minor. However, if the loss was substantial, seek reimbursement for replacement costs.
How Do You Prove Liability Against a Distracted Driver?
Before suing a distracted driver, collect sufficient evidence. A medical record is one item you can use to defend your position. The report will detail all injuries sustained in the accident. It may also include an estimate of your future medical expenses.
If you reported an accident to the police, you could use the report as evidence. This document may contain accounts of the incident from various witnesses.
These may include witnesses and other drivers involved. The report may also include a description of the weather conditions and police observations.
When filing a personal injury complaint against a distracted driver, you can also provide the following evidence:
- Video surveillance
- Photos or videos of the injuries that you have suffered
- Photos of damage to vehicles
- Statements by an accident reconstructionist
- Official police report
When filing a lawsuit in New York, photographs of skid marks can help establish fault. These will enable the court to determine the motorist's speed. They may facilitate the determination of the driver's speed prior to the collision.
Precautions to Take After You Are Hit By a Distracted Driver in New York
After suffering injuries in an accident in New York, dial 911. This step will aid you in getting medical assistance and law enforcement to the scene.
Receive medical treatment for injuries while filing a report when these parties arrive. If you were struck while driving and your dash cam captured the incident, do not mention it until the police arrive and begin conducting interviews.
In the event that the negligent party lies and attempts to place responsibility on you, the police would be aware of the lie. This may work in your favor when seeking additional damages.
Even if you have no visible injuries, you should still get an examination.
Other important steps to take after a NY car accident are:
- Collect evidence at the crash scene
- Call your insurance company
- Contact a NY car accident attorney
After an accident, exchanging insurance information can be beneficial when filing a claim. You should also obtain numerous contact details for the driver to facilitate communication. These can include addresses, vehicle identification numbers, and contact information.
Brandon J. Broderick Can Help You With a NY Distracted Driver Car Accident Claim Today
Nobody anticipates being involved in a car crash, much less one caused by a distracted driver. Automobile accidents can affect your health, well-being, and finances, causing you and your loved ones to experience worry, dread, and anxiety. Wouldn't it be reassuring to know that you could rely on a trusted friend and advisor to advocate for you tirelessly?
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we prioritize superior client service, compassion, and results. This makes us one of the most reputable auto accident lawyers in New York. Based on our extensive track record of success, you can rely on us to employ the most effective strategy and diligently work to enhance your quality of life. Our New York attorneys have represented auto accident victims for decades. After sustaining an injury caused by another's negligence, we've assisted others in your position to move forward. Contact us now for a complimentary consultation.