Our Stroudsburg Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help
Most of us think it’s not going to happen to us. You dropped your water bottle on the floor of the passenger seat and just have to reach down for an instant to grab it. You get a text, and you just need to quickly respond; it’ll only take a second. It sounds innocent and harmless, but these are the moments in which tragedy happens.
If you were involved in a distracted driving accident in Stroudsburg, it can be difficult to get compensation for your injuries. It’s always a good idea to speak with an experienced Stroudsburg distracted driving accident lawyer at Munley Law to learn what your legal options are. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis so you won’t have to worry about paying a fee until the case is settled. Contact our Stroudsburg car accident lawyers today to start your claim.
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What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is characterized by any behavior that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. This includes a range of activities, such as cellphone use, texting, eating, applying makeup, or adjusting the car’s audio or navigation controls while operating the vehicle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), “nine people in the United States are killed every day in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.”
According to the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.” And we witness it every day. We all see drivers diverting their attention to the road by looking down at their phones.
Texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention, which means that drivers who are texting are not fully focused on the road. The way a driver reacts to unexpected dangers, like the behavior of other drivers, weather changes, construction areas, animals or objects on the road, can often determine whether they have a near-miss or a collision. If a driver’s brain is overloaded with information, their ability to process it slows down, making them more susceptible to failing to respond promptly to unforeseen hazards and ending up in a crash.
What Are Pennsylvania’s Distracted Driving Laws?
While driving in Pennsylvania, it’s legal to talk on the phone, but it is prohibited to use an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) to send or read text messages while operating a vehicle. Texting while driving is considered a primary offense, which means law enforcement officers can stop and cite drivers solely for witnessing that violation.
3316 of the PA Vehicle Code provides that: “No driver shall operate a motor vehicle on a highway or traffic way in this Commonwealth while using an interactive wireless communications device to send, read or write a text-based communication while the vehicle is in motion. A person does not send, read or write a text-based communication when the person reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in an interactive wireless communications device for the purpose of activating or deactivating a voice communication or a telephone call.”
The texting prohibition does not include the use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle, or a communications device that is affixed to a mass transit vehicle, bus, or school bus. Without incident, drivers who are found guilty of texting while driving have committed a summary offense and will be sentenced to pay a $50 fine.
Statute of Limitations in Distracted Driving Cases
Under the laws of Pennsylvania, pursuant to 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5542, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years. This means that if you are injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in order to seek compensation for your injuries.
There are exceptions, however, to this statute. Personal injury lawsuits arising from injuries to an unemancipated minor who is not completely self-supporting have a statute of limitations of two years that starts from the day the minor turns 18. In other words, individuals have until they are 20 years old to file a lawsuit for personal injuries that occurred before they turned 18.
In Pennsylvania, there are specific time limits set by the statutes of limitation for filing a formal lawsuit against someone who caused your injuries due to negligence or wrongdoing. It’s advisable to consult a distracted driving accident lawyer promptly after your injury to discuss your legal options and to provide clarity regarding the timeline relevant to your case.
Daniel’s Law was enacted in 2014 to enforce tougher sentencing for texting while driving. In 2013, Daniel Gallatin was killed by a motorist who was texting. As a penalty, the motorist was sentenced to community service, a suspended driver’s license, restitution payment, payment of $250 in fines, and to serve 23 months in the county jail. She petitioned for parole and house arrest two months later.
In accordance with Daniel’s Law, drivers who cause a fatal accident due to texting while driving will face a five-year prison sentence, and those who cause bodily injury will receive a two-year prison sentence.
How Can a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Help?
If you’ve been the victim of a Stroudsburg distracted driving accident, this is likely a stressful time for you as you deal with your injuries and the trauma of the event. It is crucial to understand your legal choices and to realize you could potentially receive compensation for the damages you’ve incurred. A Stroudsburg personal injury attorney can help you navigate your options.
To establish that a driver is at fault for their distracted behavior, it is imperative to prove that they were negligent in their actions. In order to demonstrate negligence on the part of the driver responsible for the accident, the victim must provide evidence to support the following elements:
- Duty: While driving a motor vehicle, it is the driver’s responsibility to exercise reasonable care and caution towards all other individuals sharing the road. Drivers have an obligation to follow traffic laws and drive safely and reasonably. In cases involving distracted driving, drivers are held to the same level of care as a reasonable person who is driving under similar circumstances.
- Breach of Duty: The driver failed to meet their responsibility to exercise reasonable care.
- Causation: The failure of the driver to meet their responsibility caused an accident.
- Damages: As a direct result of the accident, the victim suffered damages such as injuries, pain and suffering, lost earnings, property damage, and medical bills.
Proving that an accident was caused by a driver’s distraction can be a difficult task. How do you prove that a driver was reaching for a piece of gum that fell between the seats? Or fumbling to plug in their phone charging cord? Or swiping through their phone to turn Bluetooth on? These are some ways a lawyer’s skills and expertise can help you build your case:
Evidence gathering: Lawyers have access to resources and knowledge to gather evidence that can help to support the case. They are adept at investigating incidents and collecting witness statements, video footage, and other relevant evidence.
If a cell phone is suspected to have caused an accident, obtaining phone records through a subpoena may be required to prove that the driver was using the phone. While police reports can provide some insight into the incident, further investigation may need to be conducted on the victim’s behalf. Speaking with witnesses who may have seen the driver using the phone leading up to the collision is one possible avenue to pursue.
Expert testimony: Lawyers can also bring in expert witnesses to provide testimony about the impact of distracted driving on accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Expert witnesses in distracted driving cases may be individuals with expertise in areas such as psychology or accident reconstruction. They can offer scientific evidence and data to support their opinions and can help the jury understand complex technical information.
An expert witness can also provide an analysis of the driver’s behavior leading up to the accident, including reviewing phone records or video evidence to determine whether the driver was using a phone or other device at the time of the crash.
Dealing with insurance companies: Insurance companies will often try to settle for less than what should be owed. Lawyers are prepared to negotiate and advocate for you to get a fair settlement.
Negotiation: In some cases, a lawyer can negotiate with the at fault party to reach a settlement and avoid the need to go to trial. If the settlement terms are satisfactory to the parties, negotiation can be an optimal route because it cuts out litigation costs and it provides a secure outcome.
Knowledge of the law: A lawyer can provide valuable insights into the relevant laws and regulations regarding distracted driving. Their specific training and experience make lawyers invaluable to victims of distracted driving accidents.
Advocacy: Lawyers can also advocate for increased awareness and stricter penalties for distracted driving. They can work to change public opinion and policy around this dangerous behavior.
Recovering Damages in a Distracted Driving Case
In cases of car accidents caused by distracted driving, the damages incurred may include both economic and non-economic aspects. Typically, economic damages cover the medical expenses and lost income of the injured victim, including the time they had to take off from work. Non-economic damages are more subjective and difficult to quantify. Some damages included are:
- Lost income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Prescription medication fees
- Property damage
- Accommodations for disabilities and/or long-term care facilities
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium, including spousal companionship and support
Call Munley Law for Your Free Consultation
The Stroudsburg distracted driving accident attorneys at Munley Law are here to share their knowledge, experience, dedication, and history of excellent results on your behalf. We aim to deliver exceptional legal assistance to our clients who have suffered personal injuries. By working collaboratively and utilizing our vast resources and expertise, we strive to uphold the utmost level of excellence in safeguarding the rights of our clients.
Our team of the country’s top lawyers will thoroughly assess your case without any charge, and you won’t be required to make any upfront payments or bear any out-of-pocket expenses.
If you or someone you love needs representation for a Stroudsburg distracted driving accident case, contact Munley Law today for a free no obligation consultation.
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Stroudsburg Practice Areas
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
27 N 6th St,
Stroudsburg, PA 18360