In 2017, a California law, which is known as California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5, was passed with the hopes of reducing the number of accidents that occur due to distracted drivers. According to the law, it is a violation of the vehicle code to use a cellular device, which isn’t hands-free, to send a text message or make a phone call.
However, there are times when a driver can use a cell phone and is not in violation of the law, which could include instances that occur when drivers take selfies. In addition, drivers who are mapping routes on their cellular phones using location services are not in violation of the vehicle code. Cellular phones that are mounted on the windshield of a vehicle are also permitted to be used for navigation purposes. If a driver gets caught for violating the vehicle code, there is a $20 fine. When there is a subsequent offense, the fine increases to $50.
Although there are many ways drivers can become distracted, such as cell phone use, they should still be held accountable when they are the cause of an accident. It is the responsibility of drivers to stay focused on the road at all times. When a driver takes his or her eyes off the road, even for a second, it can lead to devastating results. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that an estimated 9 individuals are killed and 1,000 injured everyday due to an accident that was caused by distracted driving.
Furthermore, the University of Utah reported that a study found individuals were 9 percent slower to apply the brakes and showed a significant variation in following distances as they used cell phones. Three individuals from the study hit the vehicle ahead, and none of the individuals were impaired by alcohol. The study concluded that using a cell phone while driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Is a Victim of a Cell Phone Accident Entitled to Compensation for Damages?
Those who have been in an accident are already in a stressful situation, so why would he or she need to take legal action? Victims of car accidents often have to undergo rehabilitation for injuries, which leads to costly medical bills. In addition, some victims of automobile accidents are not able to work until they are recovered. By filing a legal claim for personal injury or wrongful death of a family member after an accident, individuals have the opportunity to seek compensation for lost wages and financial support for medical bills.
Although compensation is not able to eliminate the emotional trauma that follows a car accident, it can provide victims a peace of mind knowing they can maintain financial obligations. Many individuals are awarded compensation for the following damages:
- Pain and Suffering
- Physical therapy and rehabilitative care
- Lost wages
In addition, those who are filing a wrongful death claim due to the death of a loved one can be compensated for funeral and burial costs. Not only does compensation for damages alleviate some of the financial burdens that may arise because of an accident, it also holds the responsible party accountable for his or her actions.
How Can a Victim Prove a Driver was Using a Cell Phone?
In order to receive compensation for damages, a victim must show the other driver was responsible for the accident by proving negligence. Because it can be difficult to prove an individual was using a cell phone during the accident, it is important to hire a legal team with the knowledge and experience that is needed to investigate the circumstances.
An experienced law firm can prove an individual was at-fault with the following evidence:
- Police records
- Witness testimonies
- Phone records
- Traffic camera footage
A legal team is a great resource for those filing a personal injury claim due to a distracted driver. With skilled legal professionals, clients don’t have to worry about collecting evidence that is necessary to prove the negligent driver violated the law.
Can a Driver Use a Hands-Free Cellular Phone?
Although it is not illegal for a driver to use a hands-free cellular phone, numerous studies have shown that even hands-free cellular phones pose a significant risk of causing accidents. However, if a driver using a hands-free device causes an accident because he or she was distracted, a victim may still be awarded financial compensation for damages.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, which was caused by a distracted driver, contact an attorney immediately. When a victim of an accident has a legal team on their side from the start, it increases the chances he or she will receive compensation for damages.