If there’s one phrase that every student driver has heard without fail, it’s simply this: “Keep your eyes on the road!” In the U.S., this basic but crucial rule has been so deeply ingrained into our minds you’d think we would have no trouble following it in our daily lives.
And yet, somewhere between Driver’s Ed and everyday adult life, we lose sight of the golden rule and start allowing little distractions to split our focus. We become guilty of seemingly harmless acts like tuning our radios, eating while driving, entertaining our passengers, and — worst of all — playing with our phones.
Legal Consequences of Distracted Driving
The most obvious and widespread issue with distracted driving is the harm it can cause to others on the road. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that each day in the U.S., approximately 9 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured in car wrecks that involve a distracted driver. That’s a lot of pain and suffering that could be avoided if we each put a little more effort into safe driving practices.
While physical damage is the most important consequence to appreciate as a Colorado driver, it’s not the only one you should be aware of. As a personal injury attorney who has seen more than his fair share of injuries and wrongful deaths, I’m here to inform you of the legal consequences that distracted drivers may face if their actions cause an accident on the road:
- Insurance policy changes. Drivers who are considered “at fault” for an auto accident can face a wide range of insurance-related penalties, like increased insurance rates, adjustments in coverage, or even invalidated insurance policies.
- Personal injury lawsuits. Depending on a number of factors (such as whether or not each driver has auto insurance), distracted drivers may find themselves involved in a potentially lengthy and costly personal injury lawsuit.
- Criminal punishment. In 2009, Colorado passed a law that prohibits texting while driving. The law also forbids drivers under 18 from operating their cell phones at all while behind the wheel. These particular types of distracted driving can be penalized by the state of Colorado.
As you can see, a simple mistake like checking your email or eating while driving can turn into a monumental set of consequences. As far as the Colorado legal system is concerned, it doesn’t matter how pure a driver’s intentions may have been. Rather, it only matters whose mistake caused the crash in the first place. If you were injured in a distracted driver accident, use that fact to your benefit as you enter into the personal injury claims process.
When You Get Hurt in a Colorado Car Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted or careless driver, you may be wondering how to go about getting the financial compensation you need to cover your damages. In a nutshell, these are the core steps you should take to get your case moving in the right direction:
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer. I know, I know — nobody wants to need a lawyer. But here’s the thing: if you set up a free consultation with a personal injury attorney before talking to your insurance company, you get legitimate legal advice without paying a dime, and you can learn how to avoid getting low-balled.
- Inform your insurance provider. After discussing your case with your attorney, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you go to inform your insurance company about the accident. Likewise, if you don’t have insurance, your attorney can advise you on other necessary steps you may need to take.
- Take care of yourself. The entire point of working with a personal injury lawyer is to get your case resolved as efficiently and painlessly as possible. Once you and your lawyer are on the same page regarding your case, take the time to rest, relax, and focus on what’s truly important in your life. Let your attorney handle the rest.
With offices located in Longmont and Boulder, Colorado, and serving the surrounding areas of Loveland, Brighton, and Firestone, The Law Offices of Edward Smith is a trusted resource for personal injury victims throughout the Centennial State. Reach out today to set up your free consultation.