Welcome to Kuzyk Law
In 2022, California had over 11,400 people injured or killed in distracted driving accidents. It was a busy year to be a Lancaster distracted driving accident lawyer. While the state’s total fell that year, Lancaster’s distracted driving numbers nearly doubled in 2022 compared to 2021.
You must prove the other driver was negligent to recover injury compensation in California. This means you need evidence showing the other driver was distracted and legal arguments to prove their actions amounted to negligence.
Kuzyk Law is your trusted Lancaster partner. Our firm has represented accident victims since 1971. Over that time, we have successfully settled over 100,000 cases with many multi-million dollar settlements for clients like you. Contact us to learn how our distracted driving accident attorneys can help you with your crash injuries.
Understanding Distracted Driving in Lancaster, California
Driving requires your physical and mental attention. Distracted driving happens when any activity prevents you from focusing on driving. There are three types of distractions:
- Manual distractions take your hands off the steering wheel
- Visual distractions take your eyes away from the road
- Cognitive distractions prevent you from focusing your attention on driving
While much of the attention to distracted driving focuses on smartphone use, distractions can take many forms. Some examples of activities that involve one or more of the forms of distractions include the following:
- Smoking or vaping
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Viewing or interacting with a navigation screen
- Adjusting a sound system
- Talking on the phone
- Texting or emailing
- Looking at external events, like car accidents
Distractions like these prevent a driver from spotting or reacting to road or traffic hazards. The risk is substantial. At a modest speed, like 30 miles per hour, a vehicle travels 44 feet every second. Thus, a car travels almost 90 feet when a driver takes a brief, two-second glance at their phone. A driver could encounter pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles during this time.
In 2022, 80 motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists were injured or killed in distracted driving accidents in Lancaster, CA. This might not seem like many. But this statistic means Lancaster had the 18th-most distracted driving casualties among California cities that year.
When distracted drivers hit the roads, they can collide with other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists. They may run off the road or drift into other travel lanes. They often hit vehicles or fixed objects they never even saw.
Distracted driving has legal implications. As a first matter, California has no traffic law that prohibits:
- Distracted driving
- Careless driving
- Distractions in the car, except for handheld cell phone use
Thus, a police officer in the state cannot issue a ticket for the act of distracted driving. Instead, they would need to cite a distracted driver for the effects of the distraction. For example, suppose that a driver loses track of their speed and position on the road while texting and driving. The police officer could cite the driver for speeding and unsafe lane changes but not for distracted driving per se.
The state does have a reckless driving statute. This law imposes criminal punishment on drivers who drive with willful and wanton disregard for others’ safety. Most forms of distracted driving will probably not meet the standard for reckless driving. A simple lack of care usually does not amount to willful and wanton disregard.
The one exception occurs when a driver uses a handheld cell phone. California has a hands-free cell phone law. This law prohibits:
- Driving while talking or listening to a cell phone in the driver’s hand
- Holding and operating a cell phone while driving
Thus, a driver cannot use a handheld cell phone to talk, text, or type a message. A driver can use the phone in hands-free mode to talk or dictate a message.
Is Distracted Driving Negligence?
Except for handheld cell use, California relies more heavily on civil liability rather than criminal punishment to curb distracted driving. This happens through the application of negligence law.
Negligence happens when a driver injures or kills someone due to a failure to exercise reasonable care. To prove that distracted driving amounts to negligence, a distracted driving attorney must show that a reasonably prudent person in the same situation would have known the risks posed by the distraction.
For handheld cell use, victims can rely on California’s hands-free law. A doctrine called negligence per se allows accident victims to skip the step of proving the other person’s actions breached their duty of care when that action violated a safety law.
For example, you do not need to prove that running a stop sign constitutes a breach of the duty of care because safety laws outlaw it. Similarly, a Lancaster distracted driving accident lawyer can rely on the hands-free law to establish that handheld cell use breaches the duty of care.
But the case is not so easy for other types of distractions. California has no law specifically addressing eating, using GPS, or engaging in other distracting activities. Thus, negligence per se might not apply, and your distracted driving accident lawyers will need to explain how the distraction constituted a breach of ordinary care.
Why You Need a Lancaster Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
A Lancaster distracted driving accident lawyer can help you in many ways. First, experienced texting and driving accident lawyers can review your documents and determine when the statute of limitations for your claim expires. If you miss this date, a judge can dismiss your case. As a result, you and your attorney must remain focused on taking timely legal action.
A firm in Lancaster like Kuzyk Law will gather evidence to build a strong case for injury compensation. This evidence may include:
- Witness statements
- Accident reports
- Medical records
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
Using this information, your distracted driving accident attorney will prepare a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. This policy pays third parties injured by the policyholder’s negligence. In your case, the distracted driver lawyer will assert that the driver was negligent, and thus, the insurer must pay you.
Your attorney from Kuzyk Law will negotiate for a fair settlement. But if the insurer refuses to settle, your lawyer will file a lawsuit to continue your claim in the courts.
Kuzyk Law’s Approach to Distracted Driving Cases in California
Kuzyk Law has been representing accident victims injured in traffic crashes since 1971. We have extensive experience in personal injury law. We understand how to deal with insurers and advocate for a quick but fair settlement. If settlement is impossible, we use our legal knowledge and courtroom experience to present your case to a jury.
At the same time, we take a client-centered approach to legal representation. We care about our clients and fight to protect their rights as if they were our family members. We provide face-to-face services to ensure a personal touch.
This approach has earned us a track record of success in Lancaster. Our attorneys have successfully resolved over 100,000 cases, with many of our clients receiving multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts.
Steps to Take After a Distracted Driving Accident
You will likely experience pain, confusion, and even anger after you get hit by a distracted driver. However, the steps you take after a crash could affect your right to injury compensation from the at-fault driver and their insurer.
You have legal duties under California law. For example, you need to stop at the accident scene. If you do not, you could be accused of a hit-and-run. State law also requires you to report to the police any accident that causes death. You should also report any accident that causes injury.
In response to your call, police officers will investigate the crash and produce an accident report. You should cooperate with the investigation so the crash report includes your version of events.
In addition to satisfying your legal duties, you need to take care of your health. If you need emergency attention at the accident scene, ask for an ambulance. For less severe injuries, visit your doctor or a quick care clinic as soon as possible. A doctor will diagnose all your injuries, including hidden injuries like a concussion. Your medical records will be critical to proving your injury case.
Finally, you should contact a Lancaster distracted driving accident lawyer. A distracted driver attorney from Kuzyk Law will review your case and outline your options. You will use this information to make informed decisions about your claim and instruct your distracted driving lawyer.
Our Client Testimonials
Our client testimonials speak for themselves. We take a client-centered approach that produces results. Whether they were hit on the freeway by a distracted truck driver or T-boned by a distracted driver who ran a stop sign, our clients give us high praise for our efficient work and clear communication.
Julai E. was injured in a car accident and praised how the firm’s attorneys explained everything. She was also impressed by the communication of the entire team.
Shanelle L. also came to the firm after a car accident. She was happy with how simple and straight to the point the attorneys were in explaining the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about distracted driving accidents:
Is Distracted Driving Illegal?
California law only punishes distracted driving involving handheld cell phones. Other forms of distracted driving — like reaching for an object — are not necessarily illegal. Instead, the distracted driver is legally liable to anyone they injure.
What if I Was Distracted Too?
California uses comparative negligence to allocate fault. When multiple people contribute to the cause of a crash, each gets a percentage of the blame. Your damages will be reduced by your share of the blame. Thus, if you are 18% at fault for the crash, you can only get 82% of your damages.
What Damages Can I Get for a Distracted Driving Accident?
You can get both economic and non-economic damages after a crash. Your economic damages include the financial costs you incurred for past and future medical bills, lost income, and diminished earning capacity. Your non-economic damages encompass the reduction in your quality of life due to your injuries. Examples include pain, mental anguish, disability, dismemberment, and disfigurement.
How Does the Accident Claim Process Work?
Your claim will almost always start when your texting and driving accident attorneys file an insurance claim against the distracted driver. They will fight to settle your claim with the insurer. But if they cannot, they will file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The insurer will join the lawsuit to defend its policyholder.
Your texting and driving accident lawyer will continue to try to settle your claim. If your case does not settle, your attorney will present your evidence to a jury and advocate for a fair damage award.
What Does a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Do?
A Lancaster car accident attorney from Kuzyk Law represents injured crash victims against the at-fault driver and their insurer. They provide legal advice and counsel so you understand your legal rights and options. Your lawyer prepares documents and makes sure everything gets filed on time. They advocate for you to try to persuade insurers and jurors to compensate you for your losses.
Contact Kuzyk Law Today for a Free Consultation
Legal representation can help you get compensation. A texting and driving accident attorney knows how to present evidence of the other driver’s negligence and argue for a fair resolution of your claim. Take the first step toward compensation by trusting Kuzyk Law for your distracted driving case. You can find us at 1700 W. Ave. K, Suite 101, Lancaster, CA 93534. Contact us online or at (661) 465-3375 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorneys.