Distracted driving has serious consequences. When you get injured in a crash, a Fresno distracted driving accident lawyer from Kuzyk Law will outline your legal options for recovering compensation from the at-fault driver and their auto insurer.
In many of these cases, the distracted driver will bear the liability for any injuries resulting from their actions, including fatal injuries. To prove liability, your distracted driving lawyer needs to prove the driver who caused your collisions acted negligently by driving while engaging in other activities.
Kuzyk Law is your trusted Fresno partner. We have experience handling distracted driving accident cases in Fresno, CA. A distracted driving attorney from our firm can customize a strategy to hold the other driver financially responsible for your injuries.
Understanding Distracted Driving in Fresno, California
Distracted driving occurs when drivers perform actions or participate in activities that prevent them from giving their full attention to driving. Distractions typically fall into three categories:
- Visual distractions, which happen when an activity prevents you from watching the road
- Manual distractions, which can cause you to take your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive distractions, which take your mind away from driving
Distracted driving crashes have received a lot of attention recently due to concerns about smartphone use. California has consistently passed laws against using handheld cell phones dating back to 2006 and currently has three laws prohibiting the practice. These laws include:
- No talking on a handheld cell phone while driving
- No texting while driving
- No cell use whatsoever while driving by drivers under the age of 18
The first two restrictions do not apply to hands-free systems. The restriction on young drivers applies to both handheld and hands-free devices.
Distractions can come from more than electronic use. Distractions inside the vehicle can include:
- Eating and drinking
- Looking at a navigation screen
- Adjusting the sound system or climate control
- Talking to passengers
- Reaching for a dropped object
- Smoking or vaping
Distractions can also happen outside the vehicle. Looking at billboards and rubbernecking at car accidents can pull a driver’s eyes and mind away from the road.
Distractions wreak havoc on California’s roads. Distracted driving crashes injured or killed over 11,400 motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists in California in 2022. These same statistics show that Fresno has been at the forefront of this problem. From 2020 to 2022, the city had the ninth-highest average of distracted driving crashes per year in the entire state.
Legal Implications of Distracted Driving in California
Distracted drivers face two types of legal liabilities. Police officers can stop drivers who violate California’s hands-free cell phone traffic laws. A citation for violating these laws carries a fine.
However, California does not prohibit other forms of distracted driving. For example, it has no law against eating while driving. Moreover, the state does not have a law that prohibits distracted driving in general.
Police officers can issue a ticket when distracted drivers follow too closely, make unsafe lane changes, or violate other traffic laws. However, an officer cannot specifically cite a driver for distracted driving.
Instead, the main consequence of distracted driving comes from civil liability. This means anyone who is injured or killed due to the distracted driver’s actions can sue them for the losses they suffered.
To prove liability for a distracted driving car accident, your Fresno distracted driving accident lawyer must show that the other driver acted negligently. Negligence requires proof of the following four elements:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
All drivers in California must exercise reasonable care while driving. This means they must have a reasonable level of regard for the safety of their passengers as well as motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists on the roads.
Drivers breach this duty when they do something unreasonably dangerous. Distracted driving is a prime example of an unreasonably dangerous action. An objective observer understands that drivers expose others to danger when they take their hands, eyes, and minds off of driving.
Causation means the crash was a natural consequence of the distracted driver’s actions. It also means a crash was foreseeable in light of their behavior.
Finally, your damages include the financial costs of your injuries. They also encompass the negative impact on your quality of life.
Why You Need a Fresno Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
Fresno distracted driving accident attorneys can provide essential assistance to you. From your first consultation, a Fresno distracted driving accident lawyer will provide legal advice, representation, and advocacy.
The lawyer will review your accident claim and determine your time limit for pursuing a lawsuit under California’s statute of limitations. The law typically only allows two years for a personal injury claim in Fresno. You should act quickly to consult a lawyer after your crash.
A distracted driver attorney has experience building a case to prove the negligence of a distracted driver. When a driver’s actions violate a safety law, a distracted driver lawyer can use a doctrine called “negligence per se.” Under this doctrine, a legal violation proves a breach of the duty of care. Thus, the distracted driving accident attorney can jump straight to the final two elements of damages and causation.
California’s distracted driving laws focus on handheld electronic devices. Texting and driving accident lawyers can use negligence per se to prove that the driver’s use of electronic devices violated the driver’s duty of care to the accident victims.
In cases involving other types of distractions, distracted driving accident lawyers investigate the accident and gather evidence to prove how the distraction affected the driver. This evidence might include testimony from witnesses who saw the distracted driver before the crash.
For example, a texting and driving accident lawyer will use evidence from the crash to prove the distracted driver was unable to spot and react to traffic hazards. They may even use expert testimony to explain the danger posed by the driver.
In either case, the distracted driving accident lawyer will guide your case through the insurance claim process. If the insurer refuses to settle your claim, the lawyer will file a lawsuit.
Kuzyk Law’s Approach to Distracted Driving Cases in Fresno
A personal injury attorney from Kyzyk Law has extensive experience in personal injury law. This means the lawyer knows:
- How to deal with insurance companies and the tactics they use to frustrate you
- When to settle the case and when to fight
- Which arguments to present to a claims adjuster or jury to prove your claim
All of this experience has earned the firm a track record of success in Fresno. Since 1971, our attorneys have battled on behalf of injured clients. We have successfully settled over 10,000 cases, with many of our clients receiving multi-million dollar settlements or verdicts.
Our firm takes a client-centered approach. When you hire us, we provide personalized, face-to-face service. Our goal is to guide you through the process so you can get the money you need to focus on your health.
Steps to Take After a Distracted Driving Accident
After your distracted driving crash, you may face many issues. The actions you take could affect your right to pursue injury compensation.
At the accident scene, you must stop and report the accident. A failure to stop may expose you to accusations of a hit-and-run accident even if you did not cause it. You must immediately report any accident that causes death. You have 24 hours to report accidents that result in injury, but it’s best to report them immediately.
You should seek medical attention appropriate for your injuries. If you cannot reach a hospital, ask for an ambulance. Even if you can leave the accident scene on your own, you should see a doctor or visit a clinic. A doctor will help in several respects:
- Diagnosing your injuries
- Providing treatment and a prognosis
- Identifying any hidden injuries, like torn cartilage
- Generating medical records to document the cause of your injuries
Once you have obtained medical assistance, you should consider speaking to Kuzyk Law for legal guidance. One of our experienced texting and driving accident attorneys can analyze your case and explain your legal rights and options. You can use this information to make informed decisions about how to handle the claims you file.
Our Client Testimonials
Our client testimonials give real stories of clients injured in car accidents caused by distracted driving. They also praise Kuzyk Law’s role in achieving justice.
Shanelle L. was referred to us after a car accident by her sister. She was happy with how we made the process simple and straight to the point.
In another case, we settled a claim for R.H. of Wrightwood, CA, after the other party ran a red light and smashed into the side of our client’s vehicle. We secured $996,000 without filing a lawsuit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some answers to frequently asked questions include:
What Damages Can I Get for a Distracted Driving Accident?
Damages for a personal injury claim include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover the financial losses due to your injuries. Examples of economic losses include medical costs, wage losses, and lost earning capacity.
Non-economic damages cover the human cost of your injuries. Examples of non-economic losses include pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and dismemberment.
What Is the Legal Process for Distracted Driving Accident Claims?
After your texting and driving accident attorney files an insurance claim, the insurer will assign a claims adjuster to your case. The adjuster works on behalf of the insurer and may delay, deny, and defend to frustrate you into settling. Your attorney will maintain pressure on the insurer to try to resolve your claim fairly. This effort may include opposing any claim denials and negotiating with the claims adjuster.
If the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer from Kuzyk Law may advise you to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The insurer will join this lawsuit and defend the distracted driver. If the insurer still refuses to settle, your lawyer will present your evidence to a jury and argue for a damage award to cover your losses.
What Happens if I Also Contributed to the Cause of My Crash?
California follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, the claims adjuster or jury will assign a share of the fault to everyone who contributed to the cause of a crash. If you contributed to your injuries, you will get assigned a share of the fault and lose a commensurate share of your damages.
For example, if you were speeding when the distracted driver pulled out in front of you, a jury might assign you 20% of the blame. As a result, you would only recover 80% of your damages. Our job is to fight for a fair allocation of the fault based on the facts of your case.
Contact Kuzyk Law Today for a Free Consultation
Distracted driving can endanger your physical and financial health. Kuzyk Law provides experience and knowledge when dealing with insurers so you can focus on getting better. Take the first step toward compensation by trusting Kuzyk Law with your distracted driving case. We are located at 2045 E. Ashlan Ave., Ste. 106, Fresno, CA 93726. You can schedule your free consultation by contacting us online or at (661) 451-5630.