Few things are as frightening as a moving vehicle in the hands of a distracted driver. Unfortunately, distracted driving is on the rise in New York — and more people than ever are being seriously injured as a result.
Texting and driving has quickly become one of the deadliest threats to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in our state. Meanwhile, other types of distraction can be every bit as dangerous.
No matter what form the distraction takes, there is never an excuse for drivers who choose to take their attention off the task at hand.
If you have been injured in an auto accident and believe that distracted driving might have played a part, you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim against the driver and his or her insurance company.
But distracted driving claims can be complicated. Proving that the driver was distracted is sometimes challenging. And the insurance companies are typically aggressive in defending themselves, doing everything they can to pay victims the smallest amount of money possible.
Our New York distracted driving accident lawyers can help.
O’Connor and Partners is a Hudson Valley personal injury law firm with extensive and specific experience in New York distracted driving injury claims.
We have successfully negotiated multi-million-dollar settlements for injured motorists right here in the Hudson Valley. In fact, we have successfully resolved the overwhelming majority of our client’s claims through out-of-court settlement agreements. That said, we also have a significant record of success at trial, having achieved courtroom verdicts in many situations where we felt confident that our clients deserved to recover more than was available through settlement.
You should not have to pay the price for someone else’s careless or distracted driving. You do not have to face the insurance companies on your own.
Instead, we would like to stand in your corner as you navigate the claims process, putting our more than 150 years of combined legal experience on your side and fighting to maximize your compensation at every turn.
Let us do the heavy lifting and work hard to demand the full and fair restitution you deserve.
What Is Distracted Driving?
In New York, every driver has a legal duty to drive responsibly. That means following the law and exercising due care. Anything that poses a danger to other people on the roads is a breach of that duty and is considered negligence.
Negligent drivers are liable for the damages they cause by being careless. Distracted driving is one of the most common examples of driver negligence.
There is no single list of behaviors that do or do not quality as distracted driving in New York. Certainly, texting while driving is the most visible and widespread form of distraction today, but the truth is that people have been finding ways to distract themselves from driving since the dawn of the automobile.
Common examples of distracted driving involving a mobile device include:
- Talking on the phone
- Surfing the web
- Reading or writing emails
- Using social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.)
- Recording videos
- Watching movies
- Browsing for music or podcasts
- Using GPS or navigation apps
- Checking the weather or traffic
- Playing digital games
- Reading eBooks
Common examples of traditional distracted driving include:
- Eating while driving
- Applying makeup / personal grooming
- Looking at one’s reflection in the mirror
- Adjusting vehicle controls
- Tuning the radio or inserting CDs
- Using a built-in nav system or dash-mounted GPS device
- Talking to passengers in the car (or dealing with children)
- Reaching for items in another seat
- Rummaging through the dashboard or console compartment
- Removing clothing or putting on a jacket while driving
- Reading billboards or “rubbernecking”
- Dancing while driving
- Daydreaming or dozing off
Ultimately, anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road can constitute distracted driving and may subject the driver to liability under New York law.
These are only examples. Not sure whether the careless behavior involved in your situation constitutes distracted driving? Contact our distracted driving accident lawyers to talk about it — confidentially, at no charge, and with zero obligations.
How Can You Prove the Other Driver Was Distracted?
Proving distraction isn’t always easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Depending on the circumstances, there may be a number of ways to prove distracted driving in New York. Indeed, you might have a lot more evidence than you realize.
As car accident lawyers, we assess each situation individually to determine the best approach for building a case. Potential sources of evidence might include:
- Cell phone records
- Smart phone metadata
- Vehicle metadata (many of today’s newer-model vehicles record a great deal of information about the driver’s behavior and usage of vehicle controls)
- Police reports
- Testimony from witnesses who might have seen the driver engaged in distractions
- Testimony from passengers
- Nearby video surveillance, traffic cameras, or photographs
- Statements from the at-fault driver (which may include statements made to the police, on social media, to insurance representatives, to friends and family, etc.)
Every situation is different. There may be additional methods for proving distracted driving in your case. At O’Connor & Partners, we often work without outside experts to assist with technological or forensic investigation, as well as accident reconstruction. Not sure you have a case for distracted driving compensation? Please don’t assume there’s no evidence. Call our Kingston distracted driving accident lawyers. You may have more options than you know.
Common Injuries in a Distracted Driving Accident
Distracted driving is one of the most-cited factors in New York’s official state traffic accident records every year.
Inattentive driving can lead to various types of life-threatening collisions, from sideswipes and T-bones to rear-end accidents, head-on collisions, pedestrian or bicycle accidents, and beyond.
Injuries run the gamut. Sadly, some distracted driving victims lose their lives as a result of the accident. Other common injuries include:
- Soft tissue injury
- Broken / fractured bones
- Hearing or vision loss
- Bruises, burns, deep cuts, and scarring
- Head or brain damage, including TBI (traumatic brain injury)
- Spinal injury
- Knee injury
- Internal organ damage
No matter what the injuries in your case may look like — and no matter how medically complicated they might be — the distracted driving accident lawyers at O’Connor & Partners can help.
We work with a wide range of accidents, from those involving moderate injuries to severe or catastrophic collisions, as well as wrongful death claims in the most tragic of cases.
What About New York Distracted Driving Laws?
There is a lot to be said about the distracted driving statutes in New York. But if you have been injured in one of these accidents, the most important thing for you to understand is that your right to financial compensation does not depend on whether the other driver got a traffic ticket.
Civil law and criminal traffic law are not the same thing. While New York has enacted a fairly tough set of distracted driving statutes and has made texting while driving a primary offense, your personal injury claim is entirely separate from whatever happens within the traffic ticket system.
If there is evidence that the at-fault driver broke a traffic law — or received a ticket for texting while driving, reckless driving, or some other offense — that may help your case.
But even if the driver did not receive a ticket, and even if his or her careless driving did not fall within the narrow confines of New York’s distracted driving statutes, you may still have a strong case. Our New York distracted driving accident lawyers can help.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Distracted Driving Case?
While the law does not require you to hire a lawyer, doing so may be in your best interest.
Accident victims who hire a personal injury lawyer tend to recover greater financial compensation than those who are unrepresented.
Insurance companies are extremely aggressive, and they will actively work against you. However helpful they may seem in TV ads or over the phone, make no mistake: they are not on your side.
- If they ask questions, it’s because they hope the answer will help them diminish your claim.
- If they make a settlement offer, it’s usually because they hope to “buy you off” for as little money as possible — and then get you to sign a binding release agreement in exchange for it.
- If they can find a way to accuse you of causing the accident yourself, they will.
By hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, you put yourself on an even playing field with the insurance companies.
You’ll have an experienced and passionate professional advocating for your best interests and protecting you against the insurance companies. And it won’t cost you anything up front or out of pocket. At O’Connor and Partners, you don’t pay unless we get you money — and even then, our total fee is only a percentage of your recovery.
Schedule a Free Consultation with O’Connor and Partners
O’Connor and Partners is a law firm determined to win. While there are no guarantees in any legal matter, we want you to know that we fight hard to get our clients real justice.
We don’t look for the fastest, easiest way out of a case. On the contrary, our mission is clear: demand full compensation, explore every effective legal strategy, pursue your claim aggressively, maximize your recovery, and get you every penny possible.
Let us fight for you and your rights. Remember: we will not charge a fee unless we get you money first.
Get started with a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with one of our distracted driving accident lawyers. Simply contact us online or call (845) 303-8777 today.