Richmond Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
Help when you are injured by a texting or distracted motorist in Virginia
Distracted driving is a form of impaired driving, just like drunk or fatigued driving, and is just as dangerous. Distracted driving occurs when a driver takes their attention off the road, whether mentally, visually, or physically, to focus on another task. Doing so for even a second can cause a serious collision in the blink of an eye, sometimes with tragic results.
The Richmond-based car accident attorneys at Phelan Petty protect people injured and harmed by distracted drivers throughout Virginia. We work to prove an at-fault motorist was driving while distracted, and that their actions caused your injuries and pain. Our lawyers understand how to work with even the most difficult insurance companies, and our goal is to secure you proper compensation for the harm you have experienced.
What are the distracted driving laws in Virginia?
You may be hearing a lot about distracted driving here in Virginia recently. This is because of recently-passed legislation making it illegal to hold a phone or other device while driving a vehicle. The law went into effect on July 1, 2020, but authorities began enforcing it on January 1, 2021 in order to educate the public.
According to Drive Smart Virginia, “Violating the law is punishable, for a first offense, by a fine of $125 and, for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of $250. Breaking the law in a highway work zone is punishable by a mandatory $250 fine.”
Anyone is at risk of driving distracted. Some of the more common examples of distracted driving include things like:
- Using a cellphone (texting or using the camera)
- Rubbernecking (looking at something outside the vehicle)
- Passenger activity inside the car
- Eating, drinking, or smoking
- Driving with pets unsecured in the vehicle
- Bugs and insects flying around inside the car
- Changing the controls on the dashboard (climate control, etc.)
Why is distracted driving so dangerous?
First, a note about what exactly distracted driving is – any activity that takes a person’s attention off the task of safe driving. The CDC describes the three types of distracted driving:
- Visual. This involves taking your eyes off the road, perhaps to look at a smartphone, GPS, billboard, or another passenger in the vehicle.
- Manual. A manual distraction involves taking one or both hands off the wheel, like eating, drinking, or handling an object in the vehicle.
- Cognitive. This can be the riskiest form of distracted driving, as it takes the mind and brain off the task of operating the vehicle. Cognitive distraction can include talking on the phone, daydreaming, and similar activities.
Any or all of these forms of distracted driving can lead to serious car crashes, truck accidents, and injuries.
Drive Smart Virginia offers a host of statistics regarding the dangers of distracted driving, including:
- Virginia is one of 11 states considered “dangerously behind” in driving safety laws
- Driver inattention within three seconds of a crash was involved in 80 percent of all vehicle crashes
- Texting while driving increases the chances of a crash by 2,300 percent
- 2 percent of fatal crashes in Virginia in 2020 involved distracted driving
They also note the top Virginia jurisdictions with the most distracted driving-related fatalities. Starting with the highest, they are: Fairfax County, Chesterfield County, Virginia Beach City, Charlottesville City, Richmond City, Botetourt County, Frederick County, Prince William County, and Shenandoah County.
What are common injuries from distracted driving accidents?
Any type of serious car crash is bound to cause injuries. When these injuries are caused by a distracted driver, you should not be responsible for the financial losses you may experience. Injuries from car crashes and collisions can include:
- Broken and fractured bones
- Burn injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal injuries
- Loss of limb
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
When we take your case, the team at Phelan Petty launches an investigation into the cause of your accident, determining the extent of your injuries and building a strong claim against the at-fault driver.
What is the value of my Richmond distracted driving accident claim?
When you are injured due to the negligent actions of a distracted driver, you are likely entitled to financial compensation for your losses. The attorneys at Phelan Petty take a number of factors into consideration when determining how much your injury claim is worth, keeping in mind that everyone’s circumstances and injuries are different.
These factors include things like:
- Ability to return to work and earn income
- Amount of insurance coverage involved in your claims
- Cost of your current and expected future medical treatment
- Extent of your injuries
- Likelihood of fully recovering from your injuries
- Scope of your pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages
Our goal is your goal – securing the best possible settlement to compensate you for the injuries and losses caused by the distracted driving crash.
Richmond distracted driving accident attorneys
The Richmond-based car crash attorneys at Phelan Petty have decades of combined experience helping people just like you when they are injured by negligent drivers. If you or a loved one were injured due to the actions of a distracted driver, we can help you seek financial compensation for your losses.