No matter how often people are reminded of the importance of staying alert while driving, there are still nearly 20,000 crashes a year caused by distracted driving in Virginia alone. What is it that causes people to become so distracted while driving, even though the risks are so widely known?
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a major problem throughout the country, including here in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles data from 2020, 121 people were killed by distracted drivers, and 10,363 people were injured by them. Most of these accidents occurred on non-interstate roads. When a driver is distracted, they are engaging in another activity that takes their focus away from driving and puts themselves and everyone around them at risk.
Three Main Causes
When people talk about distracted driving, the first thing that comes to mind is often cell phone use. However, there are many other types of distractions that can also be dangerous. Distracted driving fits into three categories:
- Cognitive – This is when your mind is focused on something else, such as talking on the phone or with passengers, worrying about work or school, thinking through strong emotions, or other thoughts that distract you from driving.
- Manual – A manual distraction is when you are physically doing something else while driving, such as eating, applying makeup, changing the radio station, or using a navigation system.
- Visual – This is anything that takes your eyes away from the road. It could include something within your vehicle, like looking at a passenger or a text message, or something outside, like a rainbow, billboard, or traffic incident.
Some types of distractions fit into multiple categories. For example, sending a text message can include cognitive, manual, and visual distractions.
Injuries Caused by Distracted Drivers
Distracted driving can cause a wide range of injuries, including:
- Cuts and scrapes
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries and whiplash
- Back injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
Some of these injuries may lead to permanent disability or other long-lasting effects. It is important to seek medical care immediately and also consult with an attorney who can help you pursue compensation to cover your medical costs.
Compensation for a Distracted Driving Accident
If you were injured in a crash that was caused by a distracted driver, you might be owed compensation for your injuries. The amount of compensation you’re entitled to will vary depending on the severity of your injuries and other expenses you incurred. In general, you may be owed compensation for:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Long term care and rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
If your loved one was killed by a distracted driver, you might also be able to file a wrongful death suit to recover money for funeral and burial costs, as well as other compensation that will help your family during this difficult time.
How The Johnson Injury Firm Could Help
A skilled Richmond, VA car accident attorney from The Johnson Injury Firm can assess the details of your case and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, with physical, emotional, and financial impacts. The legal process can be complicated, and some individuals choose to file personal injury claims on their own. However, a skilled attorney will be able to help you navigate the process from start to finish, which could increase your likelihood of securing compensation for your injuries.
It is important to begin working with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to gather evidence. Contact us today for a free consultation.