Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving was a major contributing factor in hundreds of thousands of car accidents in New Jersey during this decade. Across the country, more than 3,000 people were killed because of distracted driving in 2014, as an example. If you are injured in a distracted driving accident, you should consult an experienced car accident attorney about whether you may have a viable claim for damages. You should talk to an attorney before talking to an insurance adjuster for the other driver, who may be trying to obtain an admission or evidence to use against you in a personal injury lawsuit. At the Grimes Law Firm, New Jersey distracted driving accident lawyer Raymond A. Grimes can evaluate the circumstances of your accident and potentially provide you with legal representation.Claims Based on Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving is any activity that could take a driver's attention away from the road. Any distraction can result in an accident. Some common distractions include texting, using a smartphone or cell phone, eating, using a GPS device, changing the radio station, paying attention to a pet or child instead of the road, or engaging in a heated debate with a passenger.
New Jersey is a no-fault state, but it gives you the right to choose whether or not you can sue other drivers as part of your policy. If you choose the unlimited right to sue option, you can sue another car or truck driver who causes an accident for all of your damages. However, if you choose a limited right to sue option, you can sue for medical damages but not for pain and suffering, except in cases of severe injuries, such as dismemberment, the loss of a fetus, or a permanent injury.
Assuming that you have an unlimited right to sue or a very serious injury, a distracted driving accident attorney in New Jersey can help you recover damages from a distracted driver by establishing negligence. You will need to show that the other driver owed you a duty of care, which they breached, thereby causing your damages.
In some cases, negligence per se may apply. Negligence per se requires a plaintiff to show a violation of a safety law or ordinance, causation, and injuries, as well as proving that the safety law or ordinance was designed to protect a class of people of which the plaintiff is a member, and to protect against the type of harm suffered by the plaintiff. For example, there is a law against operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone in New Jersey. If the defendant was cited for using a cell phone at the time of the accident, this is strong evidence of negligence per se. The benefit of negligence per se for plaintiffs is that it allows the plaintiff to focus on damages, shifting the focus away from showing what the standard of care was and identifying a breach of that standard.
If you can establish negligence, your New Jersey distracted driving accident attorney may be able to help you recover compensatory damages from the at-fault party that go beyond what you can recover through your no-fault insurance. Damages may include pain and suffering and mental distress.
However, your damages can be reduced under a rule of comparative negligence. Insurers for the at-fault driver may look for ways in which you were also to blame. However, a victim in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident can still recover damages, even if they were partially to blame. Your damages will be reduced by an amount proportionate to your degree of fault. However, you will be barred from recovering damages at all if you were 50% or more at fault for the collision. Suppose that, for example, the other driver was reading a text, and as a result, he swerved into oncoming traffic and collided with your car. However, you were speeding, so the injuries were somewhat worse than they would have been had you been going the speed limit. Your damages are $500,000, but the jury finds that you were 15% at fault, and the defendant was 85% at fault. In that situation, the distracted driver would be responsible for $425,000 of the damages.Consult a Skillful Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer in New Jersey
If you are seriously injured in a distracted driving accident, you should hire an experienced trial lawyer to advance your rights. At the Grimes Law Firm, we provide advice and skillful legal representation to accident victims in Neshanic Station and elsewhere in Somerset County, as well as throughout the tri-state area. Contact us online or call us at (908) 371-1066 to schedule a free consultation. We can also assist victims of slip and falls and other accidents not involving motor vehicles.