Today’s fast-paced culture promotes multitasking. Unfortunately, drivers often multitask behind the wheel, posing a danger to themselves and others and violating the law. Anything that takes a driver’s attention off the road is a distractor, but the current most common distractors are electronic devices, including cell phones, emails, and text messages. Eighty percent of California’s vehicle crashes involve driver inattention. Because the legislation prohibiting the use of distracting devices is relatively new, many drivers are uneducated about these laws.
CALIFORNIA LAW ON DISTRACTED DRIVING
California has several laws banning the use of cellular phones. The first two laws prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones, and drivers under 18 from using either hands-free or handheld cell phones. The third law, which has received perhaps the most attention, bans texting while driving. Under California’s Vehicle Code Section 23123.5, “a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.” The statute includes instant messaging and e-mail.
WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT
If you are involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of another person, you must stop at the scene of the accident. Failure to do so may result in criminal charges. Within 24 hours after an accident, drivers must submit a written report to the Highway Patrol or the local police department where the accident occurred.
If you suffered any injury following the incident, you should seek medical attention.
CONSULTING A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
After you have been treated for your injury, you may wish to consult a personal injury attorney. Whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant, allow one of our Newport Beach auto accident lawyers experienced in the California Vehicle Code to inform you of your legal rights.
NEGLIGENCE AND OTHER CLAIMS
The law requires drivers to drive in a reasonable manner. When a driver acts unreasonably, e.g. texting while driving, he has breached a legal duty. When that breach results in harm to another, that party’s conduct is the cause of injury, and the injured party has suffered legal damage. The driver in violation is liable for Negligence. Our Newport Beach auto accident lawyers specialize in all facets of Negligence.
Bringing the appropriate claims, or “causes of action,” determines the legal remedies to which you are entitled. If you suffered emotional distress and physical injuries, our Newport Beach auto accident attorneys would allege Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress in addition to Negligence.
When a driver’s violation of Section 23123.5 causes injury, he is liable for a unique type of negligence, called “Negligence Per Se.” This claim means a plaintiff does not have to prove some elements of Negligence.
Other legal considerations will affect the compensation to which you are entitled, e.g. including the proper defendants. Let one of our knowledgeable Newport Beach auto accident lawyers advise you in making that determination.
CAN YOU RECOVER FOR YOUR INJURIES IF YOU, TOO, ARE A DISTRACTED DRIVER?
California is a “comparative negligence” state, meaning that even if a plaintiff contributed to his own injury, he may still bring suit and be entitled to compensation.
Comparative negligence is a complicated legal defense. Please contact one of our Newport Beach auto accident attorneys to discuss.