The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” Unfortunately, distracted driving is a serious problem nationally and in St. Louis, contributing to or causing approximately 391,000 injuries in 2015. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control, has noted that the number of accidents caused by distracted driving is increasing in recent years.
Drivers in Missouri are expected to exercise a high degree of care when they are driving a motor vehicle on public roads. This means that drivers must exercise caution and must operate their vehicle as a prudent person would in either the same or a similar circumstance.
This means that drivers have a duty and an obligation to avoid distractions, which could lead to an accident. Distracted driving is a hazard for everyone involved. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident because of a distracted driver, contact a St Louis distracted driving accident lawyer right away. Contact a skilled car accident attorney to begin collecting relevant evidence for your claim.
Common Cases of Driving Distractions
Texting while driving is the most prevalent cause of distracted driving accidents. A St Louis distracted driving accident lawyer knows that texting and driving is known to significantly increase the likelihood of a collision. The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year and attributes nearly 25 percent of all car accidents to a driver using a cellphone while driving.
Many states have enacted laws that prohibit drivers from texting while driving. Missouri only prohibits novice drivers, or those under the age of 21, from texting while driving. Texting while driving is dangerous because it distracts a person visually when they are looking at their phone, physically because both hands are not on the wheel, and mentally because a driver is thinking about their message and not the road. Other distractions that contribute to car accidents in St. Louis include eating, drinking, using navigation systems, and talking to passengers.
Litigation in Distracted Driving Accidents
In a distracted driving accident case, the person bringing suit will need to prove that another person was responsible for the accident, and therefore should be responsible for paying any resulting damages. During litigation, the court will determine how liable each party was in an accident. Under Missouri’s pure comparative fault system, the court will then reduce the amount of compensation each person is entitled to based on their degree of liability.
For example, if both drivers involved in an accident were distracted to some degree, the court may determine that one driver is 80 percent liable for the accident, while the other is 20 percent liable for the accident. The latter driver will only be entitled to recover 80 percent of their total damage award rather than 100 percent, which reflects that they were 20 percent at fault for the accident.
If you were involved in an accident where the other driver was distracted, a St Louis distracted driving accident lawyer could help you recover compensation for your injuries, resolve insurance disputes, and work to protect your rights in an accident.