Preliminary data from the 2017 NYS Crash Summary report, compiled by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, identifies “Driver Inattention/Distraction” as the leading cause of accidents in New York State.
Out of the 308,519 crashes in New York in 2017, police reported that 56,863 of them involved driver inattention or distraction. Nearly half of these crashes lead to a personal injury.
Crash Factors Connected to Personal Injury
Given the salience of distracted driving, it’s important to understand what constitutes “distracted” in the state of New York. After all, if you’ve been the victim of a distracted driver, you weren’t necessarily paying attention to their driving habits before they crashed into you.
These contributing factors, though not exhaustive, each relate to distracted driving:
- Cell Phone (hand-held)
- Cell Phone (hands-free)
- Driver Inattention/Distraction (i.e. grooming, adjusting radio, spacing out)
- Eating or Drinking
- Listening/Using Headphones
- Other Electronic Device
- Outside Car Distraction
- Passenger Distraction
- Using On Board Navigation Device
If you explicitly saw a driver who caused harm to you and/or your vehicle partake in any of these activities, be sure to take note and communicate to authorities if possible.
How To Show Distracted Driving Occurred
Of course, every single case is different. If you have suffered a personal injury that might have been caused by a distracted driver, it behooves you to consult a personal injury attorney about your specific situation.
In general, however, there’s a burden of proof when it comes to distracted driving.
One of the most effective ways to correlate distracted driving to a sustained personal injury involves collecting evidence at the scene. If you have your wits about you after a crash, you should consider taking pictures and videos of the scene, including tire marks and even the inside of the other car. Even a picture of a driver’s cell phone in sight or a food container can help law enforcement to piece together what occurred.
Again, we know taking pictures of a scene isn’t always reasonable, especially after you’ve sustained a personal injury. Police will often call both parties involved to ask for their description of the incident. Sometimes, a distracted driver will admit to being distracted and this testimony can be used against them in the court of law.
Finally, evidence might involve bystander testimony, cell phone records, traffic cameras, or any other available footage (such as local businesses with CCTV footage).
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
In each of these cases, it really pays to have a personal injury lawyer on your side. Especially if you’ve sustained disabling injuries and must focus solely on recovery, the last thing you have the time or energy to do is call up a local business owner to get access to their camera records.
When you work with a personal injury attorney, it becomes their job to request this evidence, compile an argument, and ultimately reach a settlement.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car crash that might have involved distracted driving, give the personal injury lawyers Salvatore D. Ferlazzo, Esq. and Mikhail A. Shah, Esq.at Girvin & Ferlazzo a call. We offer free consultations and have more than 25 years of experience litigating personal injury cases.