Los Angeles Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been harmed in a cell phone-related crash, you need the professional assistance of a car accident attorney in LA who knows what it takes to secure the compensation you deserve. Victims of car accidents caused by cell phone use frequently face an uphill battle when it comes to obtaining fair reparations for their injuries. At Ellis Injury Law, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers have dedicated their careers to helping these individuals put the pieces of their lives back together after suffering harm caused by others’ negligence behind the wheel.
Car accidents caused by cell phones have garnered a great deal of attention in recent months and years from media outlets, social commentators, and lawmakers alike. While it is certainly true that smartphones and similar devices offer a tremendous degree of freedom and flexibility for those wishing to stay in contact with friends and family, that convenience can often come at a price.
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Startling facts about driving and cell phone use
Widespread awareness of the hazards of cell phone use while driving has increased in recent years, thanks to heightened publicity efforts and grim reports on traffic fatalities. However, drivers continue to text, chat, and search the Internet while behind the wheel, despite known dangers.
The true risk of using smartphones and other electronic devices while operating a vehicle is frightening, particularly considering that:
The visual, manual, and cognitive distractions that inevitably result from cell phone use while driving make it an unacceptably hazardous activity. Those who engage in it and cause harm to others must be held legally accountable.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving in 2019. Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off of the road for about five seconds. Driving at 55 miles per hour for 5 seconds would be like traveling the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. No one would intentionally drive at any speed with their eyes closed for five seconds, yet millions of people use their cell phones while driving every day.
According to Drive Safe Online, here are some other disturbing statistics regarding cell phone use while driving:
- In 2018, 5.7 percent of all car accident fatalities were due to the driver texting and driving or talking on his or her cell phone
- In 2017, according to the NHTSA, there was a cell phone in use in 14 percent of the fatal accidents caused by a distracted or affected driver. This number is consistent with 2013-2016 as well, as it was between 13 and 14 percent in each of those years
- In the 20-29 age group, a whopping 37 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes were using a cell phone
- The next two highest age groups were 30-39 (21 percent) and 15-19 (16 percent)
- According to the NHTSA, 36 percent of drivers reported using a smartphone app at a red light. Unfortunately, 35 percent of these drivers continue using the app while driving
- In 2018, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study conducted a study and found that texting while driving doubles your chances for a car accident and triples the odds that your vehicle will go over the curb, leave the road, crash into a tree, or collide with a sign
- The Zebra, the nation’s leading insurance comparison website, conducted a study in 2020 and found that 15.6 percent of drivers ages 18-24 have admitted to texting while driving
- 7 percent of drivers are using a cell phone at any given time
- Texting while driving increases the driver’s time with his or her eyes off of the road by a staggering 400 percent
- According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, 39 percent of high school students who drove in the past 30 days texted or emailed while driving at least once
Injuries commonly associated with cell phone related car accidents
There are a number of different forms of distracted driving, and as the numbers mentioned above would indicate, cell phone usage is the root cause for an increasing amount of dangerous crashes. Whether the driver looks down to compose a text and accidentally swerves into your lane, takes his or her eyes off of the road to read an important email and accidentally rear-ends you, or blows through a stop sign and t-bones into your vehicle while scrolling through social media, these accidents can lead to devastating injuries for innocent victims. Some of the injuries commonly associated with cell phone-related crashes include the following:
- Head, neck, and spine injuries, including concussions and whiplash
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Bone breaks and fractures
- Organ damage
- Internal injuries
- Severe cuts and lacerations
- Amputation or disfigurement
LA car accident lawyers offer legal advice
For more than 25 years, Ellis Law has worked to establish an unrivaled network of investigators, experts, and lawyers able to assemble critical evidence and help us present the most effective case possible on behalf of our clients. And because we have seen first-hand how devastating texting and driving accidents can be, it is our mission to pursue justice for those injured in these preventable events.
When should I hire an attorney?
If you have been injured in a cell phone-related car accident, you may feel overwhelmed with your newfound physical limitations, medical bills amassing at an alarming rate, inability to work and generate an income, and all of the related stresses that these issues are causing your family. Understandably, you may look at the statute of limitations for these crashes in California and see that you have two years from the date of the accident in which to file a claim, and figure that there is no need to rush hiring an attorney.
Our attorneys at Ellis Injury Law firmly believe that this approach is a mistake, but the good news is that you can easily avoid making this mistake. While it is possible that the at-fault driver in your accident will admit to the police that he or she was distracted by a cell phone at the time of the crash, many people will intentionally withhold this information as it is common knowledge that cell phone usage while driving is illegal in many areas. However, an experienced attorney will know where to turn in order to attain evidence that may help prove your case.
For example, there may have been eyewitnesses to your accident that actually saw the at-fault driver looking down at his or her phone just before the crash occurred, so your attorney may be able to discover this evidence by interviewing them. Or your lawyer may reach out to some of the businesses and/or private residences in the general vicinity of your crash to see if any of them were running surveillance cameras that may have unintentionally captured your accident and could prove that the at-fault driver was indeed distracted by his or her cell phone at the time of the crash. By attempting to “go it alone” or hiring an inexperienced attorney, you run the risk of not fully proving your case, which can cost you and your family millions of dollars and untold heartache in the future.
Another crucial factor to consider is that shortly after the crash occurs, you will likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster asking you to make a statement, and they will often even make a settlement offer to you very early in the process. They do this in hopes that you have not yet hired an attorney to represent you and that the stress and uncertainty caused by your physical pain and medical bills overwhelming you will cause you to bite on their offer. Make no mistake, though, this offer will be well below fair market value for your claim. In fact, many of our clients have received offers from insurance adjusters 10-20 times less than what our attorneys were ultimately able to settle the claim for. As you can see, if you accept this offer prior to hiring an attorney, you and your family may regret that decision for decades to come.
Send the right message to the defendant by hiring the right lawyer
Instead, by hiring an experienced attorney that has won large verdicts at trial, you communicate to the insurance company that you are in this for the long haul if need be. These insurance companies are well aware of our reputation, meaning the settlement offers you receive may be higher and closer to fair market value as soon as the defendant becomes aware that you hired Ellis Injury Law to represent you. Our firm has secured more than $350 Million in jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
California laws on cell phone use while driving
Due in large part to the above-cited risks of using a cell phone while driving, California legislature has enacted multiple laws prohibiting the use of cell phones on the road, including the following:
- Handheld Cell Phone Ban: this statute prohibits drivers from using handheld phones while operating a vehicle, with exceptions for calls to or by emergency responders, law enforcement officials, or calls made by those driving on private property.
- Hands-Free Cell Phone Statute: this law allows drivers age 18 and over to use hands-free cell phones while operating a vehicle while prohibiting drivers under 18 from doing the same. An exception for emergency calls does apply, however.
- Texting and Driving Ban: California has also instituted a ban on composing, sending, or reading text messages or emails while driving.
Compensation for victims of accidents involving cell phone use
Given the extremely serious and sometimes fatal consequences of car accidents caused by cell phone use, it is important for victims to understand their rights to compensation. At Ellis Law, we are acutely aware of the kinds of personal, financial and emotional destruction such accidents can have on those involved. Drivers whose cell phone use causes injury to others are legally liable for those damages.
Victims may be entitled to compensation for:
- Wrongful death
- Pain and suffering, which can include psychological injuries such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disruption of marital or familial relationships, otherwise known as loss of consortium
- Past and present medical bills
- Future medical and rehabilitation expenses, which can be monumental if you have been seriously injured
- Lost wages and loss of future earning ability. Most of our families rely at least in part upon our income to meet their basic needs. If you cannot return to the workforce or your career options and corresponding financial well-being are limited due to your injuries, you may be eligible to recover this category of damages
The aftermath of texting and driving
The aftermath of texting and driving accidents or other cell phone-related collisions is a confusing time, riddled with anxiety and uncertainty. However, victims throughout California are afforded rights to compensation that can be zealously pursued with the help of the right car accident attorneys. If you have suffered a serious injury or a loved one was involved in a fatal accident due to another’s cell phone use on the road, we will assess the merits of your case, advise you of your options and fight for the monetary damages that you are entitled to receive by filing a car accident lawsuit on your behalf.
For a no-charge initial consultation and the opportunity to take advantage of our quarter-century of personal injury advocacy, give us a call at (310) 641-3335. If you are injured or otherwise cannot make it into our office, we will even come to you wherever it is most convenient for you. When you need an attorney you can count on, you can always turn to Ellis Injury Law. Our experienced team is committed to providing the compassionate, skilled legal representation you deserve.