It’s no secret that people are now texting and driving on a regular basis, despite the evidence that it’s causing serious injuries and deaths every single day.
Unfortunately, cell phones are only part of the problem. Distracted driving takes many forms, all of them dangerous.
If you have been injured or lost someone you love in a New York traffic accident and you believe distracted driving was to blame, you and your family may be entitled to financial compensation under New York personal injury law.
There are many misconceptions about the laws on distracted driving in New York. It’s important that you understand your rights to compensation under state personal injury law, which may differ from the rules of traffic law enforcement. This page will provide an overview of those rights and how we can help.
As New York distracted driving accident lawyers, we help grieving family members recover the financial compensation they need and deserve after an unfair accident or injury.
Lever & Ecker, PLLC is a New York personal injury law firm representing accident victims in White Plains, NYC, and throughout the entire state. We bring more than half a century of combined experience and strategy to the table, and we use it to fight for maximal compensation for our clients.
Make no mistake: the insurance companies will try to fight back against your claim and give you less money than you deserve. We are here to fight for you.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving includes anything that takes a driver’s eyes, mind, or attention off of the task at hand, which is operating a motor vehicle safely and in full compliance with the law.
There is no definitive list of activities that do or don’t qualify as distracted driving, though we will look at a few of the most common examples in the next section.
Driving a vehicle is a major responsibility, and it demands 100% of a driver’s focus at all times. Studies have shown that it is not possible to multitask or divide one’s attention while driving. There is always a decline in cognitive ability and response time when the driver is distracted, even if the driver isn’t aware of it.
A split second of distraction can cost people their lives. There is simply no excuse.
Common Types of Distracted Driving
Let’s begin by looking at common types of distracted driving that involve a cell phone, smartphone, or mobile device:
- Talking on the phone
- Dialing numbers
- Using headsets
- Email (composing or reading)
- GPS apps
- Taking photos or video
- Watching YouTube or movies
- Playing digital games or apps
- Reading eBooks
- Surfing the web
- Composing notes
- Online shopping
- Browsing for music, playlists, podcasts, or live streams
- Social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram)
But while smartphones have certainly contributed to skyrocketing rates of distracted driving accidents in New York, the truth is that driver distractions existed long before mobile devices. Examples of other types of distracted driving include:
- Eating or drinking
- Applying makeup or grooming
- Reading a map
- Reading a book
- Using a mounted GPS device
- Using a navigation system
- Adjusting the A/C climate controls
- Tuning the radio
- Changing CDs
- Reading billboards
- “Rubbernecking” at side-of-road distractions
- Horseplay with other passengers
- Arguing or fighting with other passengers
- Tending to children in the backseat
- Reaching for objects
- Dancing while driving
No matter which types of distraction were involved in your accident, the New York distracted driving accidents lawyers at Lever & Ecker, PLLC are here to help.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Distracted Driving Claim?
Distracted driving cases can be challenging, and the laws in this area are complex. They’re made even more complex by a special rule found only in New York and a handful of other states called no-fault car insurance.
Under the no-fault car insurance rules, your compensation is limited to monetary damages from your own insurance company, up to your policy limits. You can’t ask for pain and suffering damages (which are sometimes the biggest part of an accident victim’s financial recovery in other states), nor can you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurance company directly.
But there are situations where you can step outside of New York’s no-fault rules, in which case you can seek pain and suffering damages and you can file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault parties.
In either event, hiring a personal injury lawyer in White Plains or NYC can help you navigate the process, avoid mistakes, and put your claim in the best possible position.
Among other things, your lawyer will handle the entire process for you (answer every phone call, fill out every form, deal with everyone on the other side for you) and help you understand whether New York’s no-fault insurance rules apply to you.
If the no-fault rules do apply, your lawyer will fight your insurance company for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Alternatively, if it’s possible to step outside the no-fault insurance rules, your lawyer will work to build a compelling case for compensation, including pain and suffering compensation whenever appropriate.
Studies have shown that accident victims who hire a personal injury lawyer recover more money on average than those who do not. Hiring a New York distracted driving accident attorney is in your best interest and won’t cost you anything upfront or out of pocket.
Does It Matter If the Distracted Driver Got a Ticket?
Unfortunately, distracted driving has become a fixture on New York’s roadways, quickly emerging as one of the most common causes of traffic accidents, injuries, and wrongful deaths.
The state legislature has responded with newer and tougher measures aimed at punishing drivers who text behind the wheel. But texting is only one type of distracted driving, and we all know that distracted drivers don’t always get the ticket they deserve.
Fortunately, your rights to compensation under New York personal injury law do not necessarily depend on whether the other driver was ticketed or violating a texting-while-driving law. Certainly, a ticket can provide helpful evidence of distraction, but you may have a strong case for compensation even in the absence of a ticket — and even if the texting while driving laws didn’t apply to the driver who caused your crash.
Your right to compensation is governed by the general rules of negligence in our state, which say that every driver owes a duty of care to the motorists, passengers, and pedestrians around them. That duty of care requires the driver to give their full attention to the task of driving. Period.
How Can I Prove the Driver Was Distracted?
There are many ways that we, as New York distracted driving accident lawyers, might be able to prove that a driver was distracted. A few examples of potential evidence include:
- Cell phone records
- Smartphone metadata
- Vehicle data & metadata
- Traffic cameras & nearby video surveillance
- Witness testimony
- The at-fault driver’s own statements at the scene (or to their insurer)
- Our questioning of the defendant(s)
Do you suspect that distracted driving played a role in your accident but you aren’t sure if you have proof? That’s okay. We encourage you to contact our office and schedule a free consultation with our White Plains & NYC personal injury attorneys as soon as possible.
We are often able to conduct comprehensive accident investigations after the fact. There may be more evidence than you realize.
Alternatively, you may have rights to compensation even in the absence of evidence of distracted driving. Once we learn more about your accident, we can identify the options and determine whether we can help.
What Can I Be Compensated for in a Distracted Driving Claim?
Every accident is different. Depending on the facts surrounding your case, you may be able to claim compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future loss of income
- Vehicle’s loss of value / property damage value
- Emotional pain and suffering (in some cases)
- Wrongful death damages (in the event of fatality)
- Punitive damages (in rare cases involving extreme negligence)
- Other direct economic costs caused by the accident
At Lever & Ecker, PLLC, we understand that the financial aspect is an important consideration when you’re deciding whether to pursue a legal claim. You want to know how much money you might stand to recover, which is a fair and reasonable question to ask.
While there is no way to predict an outcome or promise specific results, we can help you understand how the law might apply to your case, as well as how much money people have recovered after similar distracted driving accidents in your same county.
To learn more, we invite you to schedule a free and confidential consultation with our New York distracted driving accident lawyers. There’s no cost and no obligation.
How Long Does a Distracted Driving Claim Take?
Because every case is different, there is no definitive answer to the question of how long a distracted driving accident claim takes in New York. More straightforward claims could resolve in a matter of months, while some other cases could take over a year.
The timeframe for your claim will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The nature of the evidence in the case
- The severity of your injuries
- How long it takes you to physically recover
- How many parties are involved
- Whether there is a dispute about causation, fault, or liability
- Whether the no-fault car insurance rules apply
- How responsive, timely, and cooperative the insurance company is
- The court’s calendar (if the claim goes to trial)
- Other factors specific to your situation
At Lever & Ecker, PLLC, we understand that timing is important. No one wants to wait around forever for a resolution, and at the end of the day, if you’re going to be able to recover money, you’d rather get it sooner than later. As New York distracted driving lawyers, we work hard to resolve these cases as efficiently as possible. At the same time, we recognize that achieving real justice can take time.
It is our goal to work diligently while also making sure we never rush a claim or do anything to compromise our client’s best interests. If you hire us, we will commit to keeping you informed about the status of your claim — as well as our current strategies and expectations — at all times.
Free Consultation with our New York Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a distracted driving accident in White Plains, NYC, or elsewhere in New York, we would like to stand by your side in the weeks and months ahead. We are here to help you navigate the claims process and to fight for your best possible outcome.
Please do not sign a settlement agreement with an insurance company or any other party until you have talked with a lawyer. Doing so can permanently impact your legal rights. You and your family may be entitled to more compensation than you realize.
Lever & Ecker, PLLC is a New York personal injury law firm located in White Plains and serving clients throughout the state, including New York City’s five boroughs (The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island), as well as Westchester County, Rockland County, Long Island, and beyond.
We are proud to offer bilingual legal representation for our Spanish-speaking clients.
We will not charge a fee for our services unless and until we get you money. Your initial consultation is completely free with no obligations whatsoever.
To schedule your confidential consultation with our New York distracted driving accident lawyers, please call 914-288-9191 (in White Plains) or 212-766-5204 (in Manhattan), or simply contact us online.