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Seattle Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

If you or your loved one have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver you may be wondering whether you can recover financially from mounting medical bills and lost wages. The short answer is you can, and a Seattle distracted driving attorney from our law firm can help.

With the rise of cell phones we have seen an increase in distracted driving. Distracted driving has increased so much so that the state of Washington has made even holding your cell phone while driving as against the law. The less you pay attention to the road, the more likely you are to get into a car accident.

Seattle Distracted Driving Accident Attorney

The Fang Law Firm Can Help Your Distracted Driving Accident Case

  • We have the skills to take on large defendants. Our Seattle accident attorneys have the experience and resources to go up against large insurers.
  • No upfront fees. You won’t pay unless we win!
  • We have significant experience. We have handled distracted driving accident cases for over a decade.

How a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney Can Help You

Under Washington law, drivers are required to carry the following insurance:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury or death of 1 person in any 1 accident.
  • $50,000 of bodily injury or death of any 2 people in any 1 accident.
  • $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any 1 accident.

A distracted driving lawyer can help you collect the settlement amount you deserve. The insurance company is going to do everything they can to convince you to take a lower settlement amount than you deserve. At the end of the day, an insurance company is a business and they will do anything to protect their most important asset: their money.

Hiring a Seattle distracted driving attorney to manage the claims process and handle negotiations with the insurance company will show the insurers that you are serious and aren’t going to fall for any of their tricks. Specifically, a personal injury lawyer can help you build a case that proves the other drive was distracted and legally responsible for you injury by:

  • Gathering evidence to support your claim including police reports, phone records, and eyewitness statements, and
  • Hiring an accident scene reconstructionist to present to insurers or at trial.

What Compensation Can I Recover After a Distracted Driving Accident?

All accidents are traumatic and terrifying, but it’s particularly distressing to learn that your accident was entirely preventable if only the other driver had focused their attention on the road. If you’ve been injured due to a distracted driver in Seattle, it’s likely that your accident-related expenses are piling up while you may not yet be able to return to work. A successful distracted driving claim can recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses for any accident-related procedures or treatments
  • Lost income
  • Lowered earning capacity if you’ve been partially or totally disabled by the accident
  • Pain and suffering
  • Any other applicable non-economic damages such as loss of pleasure in life or disfigurement compensation

Once you recover your financial losses plus compensation for pain and suffering, you can focus your energy on maximizing your physical recovery without financial worries.

How Long Do I Have to File an Accident Claim?

Every state places a time limit on filing personal injury lawsuits. Washington’s Statute of Limitations for accident claims is three years from the date of the accident. This limit serves to keep evidence and witness testimony available and fresh should the claim progress into a lawsuit in court. About 95% of injury cases settle out of court when a lawyer sends a demand letter stating the evidence of liability and the calculated damages to the appropriate insurance company. The 3-year statute of limitations allows time for back-and-forth negotiation to maximize a settlement before filing a lawsuit if the insurance company doesn’t offer an ample settlement to cover damages.

Rare exceptions to Washington’s statute of limitations include possible extensions if the party at fault flees the state or remains unidentified for a period of time, or if the accident victim is a minor at the time the accident occurs, in which case the three-year clock begins on the victim’s 18th birthday. It’s also sometimes possible to extend the deadline if you later discover an injury that occurred in the accident and went undetected for a period of time.

Can an Insurance Company Deny a Distracted Driving Claim?

While most distracted driving accidents settle out of court through an evidence-backed demand letter from a lawyer to the appropriate insurance company, these for-profit companies often try to undervalue a claim to reduce their payout or to deny the claim completely. An experienced accident attorney in Seattle understands how to recognize and counteract common insurance company strategies such as:

  • Calling very soon after the accident with a low settlement offer when you couldn’t yet know the true scope of your damages
  • Recording phone calls and using your remarks out of context against you
  • Combing through your social media accounts to look for photos showing you engaging in activities that make you appear less injured than you claim
  • Gaining medical authorization to look at your injury records and then examining your medical history for pre-existing conditions that could explain your pain and other symptoms
  • Claiming that the treatments or procedures your doctor recommended weren’t necessary

It’s best to hire a Seattle distracted driving attorney soon after an accident and then direct all communications with insurance companies to your lawyer.

Washington Distracted Driving Law

Under Washington law, distracted driving is illegal. You cannot use OR hold your cell phone while driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stop light. The only exception is if you are calling emergency services.

If you are caught distracted driving you can face a fine of $136 for the first ticket, and $234 for the second ticket.

Cell phones aren’t the only cause of distracted driving. Washington has also passed a law that allows officers to ticket you $99 for grooming, smoking, eating, or reading if it interferes with your driving and you are pulled over for another traffic offense.

What to Do if You’ve Been Hit by a Distracted Driver

  • Copy down the other driver’s contact and insurance information.
  • Call 911 if there are serious injuries.
  • File a police report.
  • Gather witness names and contact information.
  • Take pictures of the accident and the scene.
  • Get checked out at urgent care or the emergency room.
  • Call a distracted driving accident attorney in your area.
  • File a claim with the at-faults insurance company.

Common Injuries in Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving accidents tend to be some of the most destructive motor vehicle accidents on the roadways. Because the distracted driver remains unaware of an approaching hazard, they may be driving at full speed when the accident occurs. Injuries typically range from significant to severe or catastrophic. Some common injuries experienced by victims of distracted driving accidents:

  • Traumatic head injury (TBI)
  • Fractures
  • Back injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns
  • Internal organ damage
  • Facial disfigurement
  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Soft tissue injuries such as sprains and torn ligaments

Most accident victims require expensive medical treatment and in cases of serious injuries, they may need surgeries, medical procedures, and physical or occupational therapies. Some injuries cause permanent disability or impairment. Whether your injuries were serious enough to require medical care and time away from work, or life-altering and catastrophic, you shouldn’t have to pay for the damages when a distracted driver was at fault.

Types of Distracted Driving

Anytime something takes a driver’s attention away from the road ahead and off the task of remaining vigilant behind the wheel, it’s distracted driving. The CDC recognizes three types of distracted driving:

  • Visual distraction: Taking your eyes off the road while you’re driving
  • Manual distraction: Taking one or both hands off the wheel to rummage through a purse, backpack, briefcase, or bag
  • Cognitive distraction: Allowing your mind to wander deep into daydreams or to focus intently on a problem instead of remaining vigilant to the tasks of driving

While texting and driving is currently the most common cause of distracted driving, there are other distractions that cause accidents including:

  • Scrolling through social media on a phone or tablet
  • Watching a video
  • Taking selfies or videos
  • Setting a GPS on a phone or separate device
  • Eating
  • Searching through a purse or bag
  • Grooming, including doing makeup, brushing hair, or shaving
  • Adjusting a sound system or selecting a playlist or podcast
  • Reading a newspaper, book, magazine, or paperwork
  • Interacting with children in the backseat
  • Retrieving dropped items from the floorboards
  • Focusing on the rearview mirror

When there’s an urgent need to answer a text or search for a dropped item, drivers should always wait until they have a safe place to pull off the road. Accidents happen in an instant. Research shows that a driver at 55mph travels the length of a football field while their eyes are off the road for only 5 seconds—the typical amount of time it takes to read a short text message.

How to Prove a Distracted Driving Accident

Washington’s at-fault insurance laws require the accident victim to prove liability on the part of the driver before filing a claim against their insurance policy. This can be a challenge in distracted driving accidents. Your attorney can investigate all aspects of the accident to prove liability and fault for the accident. This often requires examining evidence such as:

  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Police report and citations from the accident scene if the police noted an open social media app or if the driver admitted they were distracted
  • Checking for a lack of skid marks which could indicate that the driver at fault didn’t see the accident coming due to distraction
  • Checking cell phone data to determine if the phone was in use at the time and location of the accident
  • Checking for signs of rummaging inside the vehicle, such as an open purse, makeup bag, or food bags
  • Searching for traffic camera videos or surveillance footage that may have captured the accident scene
  • Using testimony from accident reconstruction experts

Once your Seattle distracted driving lawyer gathers evidence to show fault they can use the evidence to demonstrate the following points of legal liability:

  • That the party at fault owed a duty of care to prevent injury by taking reasonable measures such as avoiding distraction while driving
  • That the driver acted negligently and breached this duty by using a cell phone or engaging in another distraction
  • That the negligent action directly caused your injury
  • That you’ve sustained significant damages from the injury

Distracted Driving Statistics

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, an average of 3,000 people die in distracted driving accidents each year, peaking at 3,526 in 2015. Distracted driving accident fatalities have decreased since 2015, most likely due to increased awareness, stricter traffic laws, and increased access to hands-free technology; however, the number of deaths has increased again from a low of 2,841 in 2018 up to 3,522 in 2021, nearly matching the record number in 2015.

The CDC offers many other statistics that offer insights into distracted driving accidents including the following:

  • Drivers ages 15-20 have the highest number of distracted driving accidents with fatalities
  • Texting and/or emailing while driving is as common in students with high grades as those with low grades
  • In a 2018 survey, 9% of drivers surveyed admitted to sending texts and emails while driving, 36% admitted to setting a GPS, and 48% admitted to eating and drinking while driving
  • In 2020, distracted driving was a factor in 14% of accidents
  • 48 states now have bans on texting while driving
  • One study found that 65% of near-crashes were distracted-driving related

Contact a Seattle Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Today

Our distracted driving accident lawyers in Seattle are standing by to assist in recovering from a distracted driver’s insurance company. We have decades of experience in the distracted driving litigation arena. At The Fang Law Firm, we know all the insurance company’s tricks and can cut through their underhanded tactics. Call us today at (206) 489-5140 for your free case consultation. We’ll help you chart a path to financial recovery.

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