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Proving Negligence in Distracted Driving Cases

Posted on in Car Accidents
Wisconsin personal injury attorney, Wisconis accident lawyer, texting and drivingNo matter where you go these days, it is not unusual to see or hear an advertisement related to the dangers of distracted driving. When people hear the term distracted driving, they usually associate it with cellphone usage and teenage drivers. This is not surprising due to the fact that teenage drivers account for the highest proportion of distraction related traffic accidents. However, most people tend to forget that distracted driving comes in many shapes and sizes. What is Distracted Driving? Distracted driving encompasses any activity that diverts a person’s attention from operating a motor vehicle and the road. These distractions include texting, fidgeting with cell phones, eating, drinking, putting on makeup, reading, utilizing navigation systems, watching videos, adjusting the radio and even speaking with passengers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting while driving is approximately six times more dangerous than drinking and driving. Since 1982, the amount of alcohol-related traffic accident deaths has dropped 52 percent while the amount of non-alcohol related traffic accidents has increased 78 percent during the same time period. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on a report from the NHTSA in 2012, reported that accidents involving distracted drivers accounted for the death of 3,328 people and injuries to approximately 421,000 others. How Do I Prove The Other Driver Was Distracted and Negligent? Based on the different forms of distracted driving listed above, this question is hard for many victims of distracted driving accidents to answer. Victims of these types of accidents should consult with an experienced distracted driving accident attorney, since, depending on the circumstances, these cases could present complex issues. Whenever a driver operates a motor vehicle on a public road, he or she is required to safely operate that vehicle and owes a duty of reasonable care to pedestrians and other drivers. This duty of reasonable care is breached when a driver is distracted and gets into an accident. If the distracted driver was speaking on a cell phone at the time of the accident, evidence of the phone call could be used to prove negligence. Likewise, if the driver was adjusting the radio, putting on makeup, or eating food at the time of the accident, the acts of the distracted driver could be used to prove negligence because he or she was not safely operating the motor vehicle. What is Comparative Negligence? Evidence of distracted driving can also be used against individuals who do not cause the accident. For example, if a driver is fidgeting with a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle and another driver hits the first car, this distraction could constitute contributory negligence depending on the circumstances. In this case, under Wisconsin law, if the distracted driver playing with their cell phone is found to be 51 percent negligent, he or she would be prevented from recovering any compensation for damages or injuries sustained from the accident. Many states, including Wisconsin, have passed laws to combat distracted driving. Wisconsin has even included a provision specifically banning the “composing or sending” of text messages while operating a motor vehicle. Remember, every time you get behind the wheel, you are legally responsible for safely operating a motor vehicle. All measures should be taken to prevent any unnecessary lapses in attention. Failing to do so could put yourself, your passengers and other drivers in danger. If you or someone you know suffered injuries at the hands of a distracted driver, you should contact an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney who will assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve for the injuries you suffered.


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