If you were hit by a distracted driver in New Jersey, you need to know your potential legal options
Every year, distracted driving leads to serious accidents in Millburn and throughout New Jersey, resulting in thousands of injuries, some of them fatal.
What is distracted driving? It's engaging in any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your thoughts away from the primary task of driving.
One of the common distracted driving activities is texting or talking on the phone. It's a dangerous behavior, which is why using a handheld phone while driving is against the law in New Jersey. Fines range from a minimum of $200 for a first offense to a $600 minimum fine, 90-day suspension of driver's license, and three motor vehicle penalty points.
'Don't text. Don't call. Just drive.'
But it can be a hard habit to break. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission offers these tips:
- Put the phone in a secure location that is easy to reach in an emergency.
- Never dial while driving - move to a safe area off the road.
- Prior to driving, store important contact information in the phone.
- Use a hands-free unit so that both hands are always on the steering wheel.
- Before driving, set up voicemail to take messages.
There are other dangerous distracted driving behaviors, also. These include eating, drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting dashboard controls.
Dangerous behavior with severe consequences
It's easy to think that looking away from the road for a few seconds is not that big of a deal. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), if you take your eyes off the road for five seconds while driving at 55 mph, you'll travel the length of a football field without looking at the road ahead.
What could happen? A lot could happen. You could miss the car in front of you coming to a complete stop. Or a motorcycle pulling out from a side street. You could miss a person crossing the road. And you may not be able to stop in time to prevent a collision.
A distracted driving accident can leave people with severe injuries to their head, neck, back, or other areas of the body. Medical expenses can add up quickly, and it can take months or even longer to make a full recovery. As a result, some people are left with permanent disabilities.
Call an experienced car accident lawyer if you've been hurt
If a distracted driver hit you, you deserve financial compensation for current and future medical expenses related to your injuries, lost wages if you can't work, and other damages such as pain and suffering. But the claims process can be complicated and frustrating.
Drivers often don't admit to being distracted. And their insurance companies aren't on your side. Instead, they may dispute the extent of your injuries or argue that they were pre-existing. They'll often offer you a settlement soon after the crash – one that falls far short of covering all the damages you suffered.
The Leigh Law Firm, P.C. can help. Attorney David Leigh used to represent insurance companies and knows how they handle claims. He works to build strong cases that insurance companies can't ignore and fights for the financial compensation you deserve.
If you were hurt in a distracted driving accident, contact us to schedule a free consultation.