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Attorney Jared Pursley
Carlsbad Personal Injury LawyerBlogCar AccidentLegal Options in Distracted Driver Cases

Legal Options in Distracted Driver Cases


Distracted living and working are everyday activities for most people. We multitask at home and at the office. In fact, many people don’t feel comfortable unless they’re juggling two or three activities at once, like eating and talking or texting and working. Divided attention is usually perfectly safe in a controlled, stable environment.

Although the driving environment is uncontrolled and unstable, distracted driving is also an everyday activity for most people. Distracted drivers kill or seriously injure hundreds of thousands of people every year. In response, lawmakers in California and many other states have passed hands-free laws that prohibit device use while driving. More on these laws below.

Despite new laws and occasional crackdowns, distracted driving is still a serious problem. Furthermore, laws and crackdowns don’t compensate the victims of these accidents. Instead, a Carlsbad car accident lawyer must obtain compensation in civil court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Hand-Held Device Distraction

Although hand-held devices account for fewer than 10 percent of distracted driving wrecks, these gadgets are the most dangerous source of distraction. They combine all three forms of distracted driving, which are:

  • Visual (eyes off the road),
  • Manual (hand off the wheel), and
  • Cognitive (mind off driving).

Under California law, it’s illegal to hold or use a phone or other device while driving. Some exceptions apply, such as swiping away a call or calling 911 in an emergency.

If tortfeasors (negligent drivers) violate safety laws and cause crashes, they could be liable for damages as a matter of law. However, as mentioned, hand-held devices don’t cause many wrecks in California. The hands-free law has effectively changed driver behavior.

So, in order to obtain compensation, a San Marcos personal injury attorney normally uses the ordinary negligence principle.

Non-Hand-Held Device Distraction

Because of the hands-free law, many people use hands-free devices while driving. Unfortunately for victims, these gadgets aren’t any safer than hand-held devices. Hands-free speakerphones are visually and cognitively distracting. Furthermore, they give drivers a false sense of security.

Other kinds of distraction pre-date the smartphone era. These sources of distraction include eating while driving, talking to passengers while driving, and drinking while driving.

All these kinds of distraction are negligent. In California, drivers have a duty of reasonable care. They must watch the road, concentrate on driving, and drive defensively. Distracted drivers cannot do these things, so they breach their duty of care. Compensation is available if a breach of care substantially causes injury.

Other factors, like environmental conditions and the victim’s own diving negligence, often contribute to crashes. But in most cases, these things don’t cause crashes.

Connect With a Thorough San Diego County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Oceanside, contact the Pursley Law Firm. Virtual, home, after hours, and hospital visits are available.



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