Distracted driving causes about 400,000 injuries and 3,000 deaths on U.S. roads and highways. Distracted driving can be defined as the practice of driving a car or other motor vehicle while engaged in another activity. More often than not, distracted driving accidents are caused by drivers who talk on the phone as well as read or send a text message while driving.
However, there are many other types of activities that may distract a driver from staying focused on the road. In Pennsylvania, many forms of distracted driving are prohibited by law. Our car accident lawyers from Dan Doyle Law Group explain that Pennsylvania makes it illegal to text while operating a motor vehicle.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by a driver who was texting while driving or distracted in any way, you may have the right to financial compensation. Contact our office for a free consultation today to find out what legal options are available to you.
Distracted Driving Laws
Pennsylvania’s texting-while-driving ban applies to not only cellphones and smartphones, but also computers, laptops, tablets, smartwatches and other electronic devices that can be used to send and receive text messages or emails as well as surf the Internet.
Fact: Pennsylvania law does not prohibit drivers from talking on the phone while driving, though the fact that you were talking on the phone may still be used against you when determining liability in an accident.
Common Types of Distractions While Driving
Texting or engaging in any other distracting activity while driving is dangerous because it significantly impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle and increases the risk of causing or being involved in a car accident.
“Distracted driving goes well beyond texting or talking on the phone,” says our experienced distracted driver attorney in Philadelphia. In fact, distractions can be broken down into three categories:
- Visual distractions- This type of distraction occurs when the driver has to take his or her eyes off the read, even for a second or two. Examples of visual distractions include: sending a text message, looking at a passenger, looking at a pedestrian on the sidewalk, switching the radio station, checking the GPS system, looking in the rear-view mirror to comb one’s hair, and many more.
- Mental distractions- This one can be very difficult to prove, as you cannot get inside the driver’s head and thoughts prior to the car crash. Mental distraction occurs when the driver is unable to keep his or her mind focused on driving. Examples of mental distractions include: being overwhelmed by thoughts, engaging in a conversation with a passenger, being physically exhausted, suffering from depression or anxiety, being in a state of emotional distress, and driving with too little sleep, among many other examples.
- Manual distractions- Every time a driver has to take his or her one or both hands off the wheel while driving, he or she is engaging in a distracting activity that affects manual attention. For example, adjusting the side-view mirror, switching the radio station, holding a cup of coffee, drinking water from a bottle, holding a phone, and many more. When something affects the driver’s manual attention while driving, that driver may lose control of his or her vehicle and/or be unable to react in time to avoid a collision or obstacle.
The Dangers of Texting While Driving in Philly
That’s why texting is so dangerous and causes so many car accidents. Our Philadelphia distracted driving lawyer explains that texting affects all three types of attention: visual (taking the eyes off the road to look at the text message), mental (thinking about the proper response to the text), and manual (holding a phone with one or both hands and/or typing a message).
No wonder why studies show that the risk of a car accident is 23 times greater when a car driver is texting while operating a motor vehicle. Studies also estimate that on average, drivers distracted by texting take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field (360 feet) at a speed of 55 mph.
Obtain Full Compensation After an Accident Caused By a Distracted Driver in Philadelphia
There are several ways you could recover maximum compensation following your distracted driving car accident. First, you may have the opportunity to file a claim with your insurance company. Since Pennsylvania is a no-fault state for insurance purposes, you will need to file a claim with your own auto insurer when you are involved in an accident.
This is without regard to who may be responsible for causing the accident. Your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will protect you and cover certain types of losses. However, any damages you cannot collect through your insurance company will need to be sought after through a civil lawsuit against the liable party.
In filing a car accident claim, you will have the opportunity to collect any remaining losses the insurance company will not cover as well as your non-economic damages.
How Long Do You Have to File Your Distracted Driving Claim?
Under Pennsylvania law, all distracted driving and other motor vehicle accident claims must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations for Philadelphia distracted driving accident claims is two years under 42 PA Cons Stat § 5524.
Generally, this would be two years from the date of the accident. However, this dead light may be called into question if your injuries were not diagnosed until a later date. If you have concerns surrounding when the statute of limitations will expire for your case, be sure to reach out to your distracted driving accident lawyer in Philadelphia for clarity.
Compensation for Victims of Distracted Drivers
After your car accident, you will have the right to be paid for every way your life has been turned upside down by your injuries. Through the insurance company, you can collect certain types of economic damages. This might include a portion of your lost income, the cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle, and your medical expenses as they relate to your injuries.
However, you also have the right to recover other types of economic damages in your distracted driving civil suit. These might include:
- Unexpected child care expenses
- Costs of household upkeep and maintenance
- Costs of increased insurance premiums
- Ongoing medical expenses
- Costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Prescription medication fees
- Loss of future earning potential including salary increases and contributions to your retirement savings plans
In addition to compensation for your economic damages, you can also recover your non-economic damages in your distracted driving accident lawsuit. Some of the more commonly awarded types of non-economic damages could include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Diminished quality of life
- Skin scarring
- Reputational damage
Contact a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia for Help
Have you or someone you love been injured in a car crash caused by a distracted driver? Do not hesitate to consult with our accident attorney at Dan Doyle Law Group to help you determine liability and fight for maximum financial compensation.
Our firm proudly offers no-cost, risk-free consultations to motor vehicle accident survivors across Philadelphia and nearby cities.
Take advantage of this opportunity when you complete our online contact form or call our office,