Distracted driving is a persistent and growing problem on Las Vegas-area streets and highways. Drivers who allow distractions to intrude behind the wheel risk causing dangerous and deadly accidents. Every year, dozens of people Nevadans die and thousands more suffer injuries in distracted driving crashes.
As the toll inflicted of distracted drivers continues to rise, so does the need for the public to understand its hazards. Let’s take a closer look at the scourge of distracted driving—what it is, the risks it runs, and the role of an experienced car accident attorney in securing compensation for distracted driving crash victims.
Distracted Driving and Its Dangers
Distracted driving consists of any action in which a driver looks away from the road (a visual distraction), takes their hands off the wheel (a manual distraction), or loses focus on the task of driving safely (a cognitive distraction).
Any distraction can directly contribute to the cause of a motor vehicle accident. Actions that combine multiple forms of distraction are especially dangerous.
Distracted driving accidents routinely result from drivers:
- Texting, emailing, or scrolling social media
- Programming a GPS
- Interacting with a rideshare app
- Eating or drinking
- Conversing with or looking at passengers
- Reaching for items on the floor
- Turning to look at roadside features
- Checking hair or makeup in a mirror
Most Las Vegas drivers are guilty of engaging in at least some of these actions behind the wheel from time-to-time. But the frequency of driver distraction does not detract from its danger.
The few seconds it takes to read a text, check a post, or squeeze ketchup on a drive-thru burger balanced in your lap might not seem like dangerous moments, but they are. At highway speeds, a car can cover 100 yards—the length of a football field—in that time. Distractions erase precious time and distance that drivers need in order to react safely to a hazard, traffic signal, or stopped vehicle up ahead.
And that’s not all. Becoming distracted often amounts to relinquishing control of a moving vehicle altogether. The distracted driver might as well be asleep at the wheel. During the time a distraction lasts, a vehicle can veer into oncoming or neighboring lanes, change speeds unpredictably, or run off the road surface.
If drivers can react at all to these dangers before a collision occurs, they usually do so wildly, jerking the wheel or slamming on their brakes in a way that only increases the likelihood of a crash.
The Tragic Toll of Distracted Driving in Las Vegas and Beyond
According to Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) crash data, distracted driving inflicts widespread harm in Las Vegas and throughout the state. Hundreds of distracted driving accidents happen annually in Las Vegas, consistently resulting in injuries and potential fatalities.
Statewide, authorities blame distracted driving for around a dozen deaths per year, and even that is likely a significant underestimate. Many accidents chalked up to other dangerous driving behaviors like speeding, improper lane changes, and failures to yield the right of way likely also stem from distractions behind the wheel.
Victims of distracted driving accidents often suffer severe or fatal trauma.
Common injuries in distracted driving crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Crush injuries
- Traumatic amputations
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Back injuries
- Complex fractures
Any of these injuries hold the potential to alter a victim’s life permanently. Most could even be fatal. And all tend to cause severe pain, emotional struggles, and financial difficulties, made worse when the victim wasn’t the one who drove distracted.
Common Las Vegas Distracted Driving Accidents
Las Vegas distracted driving accidents play out in many ways.
Examples of the types of Las Vegas distracted driving accidents that leave behind injured victims and grieving families include:
- T-bone collisions at intersections, after a distracted driver ignores traffic signals or fails to yield the right of way
- Rear-end collisions on highways, resulting from a distracted driver failing react to a traffic slow down
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents, when distracted drivers lose focus at crosswalks or along bike lanes
- Head-on collisions, stemming from distracted drivers allowing their vehicles to drift into an oncoming lane
These scenarios are just a few illustrations of the types of distracted driving crashes that commonly occur on Las Vegas streets. No matter what the scenario that led to you or your loved one suffering injuries, however, the most reliable way to secure compensation for your losses is to consult with an experienced distracted driving accident lawyer right away.
Las Vegas Distracted Driving Victims’ Rights to Compensation
Under Nevada law, Las Vegas distracted driving accident victims generally have the right to seek compensation from distracted drivers, other at-fault parties, and insurance companies. Here’s an overview of who might owe damages to a distracted driving accident victim in Las Vegas, and the types of damages potentially available.
Who’s at-fault for a distracted driving crash?
In most cases, distracted drivers bear at least some of the blame for causing an accident in Las Vegas. After all, driving distracted is usually a violation of Nevada traffic laws that puts others in danger. So long as distraction played at least some role in causing a crash, the distracted driver deserves to be held accountable for victims’ injuries and losses.
But distracted drivers and their insurance companies aren’t necessarily the only parties who may have the obligation to pay damages to a victim or a grieving family. Others could share that liability, or even bear all of it.
For instance, liability for a Las Vegas distracted driving crash could also fall on:
- A distracted driver’s employer, if the driver crashed a work vehicle
- A passenger who caused a distraction for the driver
- Another motorist who intentionally or recklessly distracted the driver
- Anyone whose own wrongful actions contributed to the cause of the accident, independent of the distracted driver
One of the most important jobs of any distracted driving accident lawyer is to examine the facts of a crash to determine who should pay damages to injured victims. Skilled attorneys know to look beyond the distracted driver to explore the possibility of other parties sharing that liability, in order to maximize the potential sources of payment for their client’s losses.
What compensation can victims claim?
Victims of Las Vegas distracted driving accidents generally have the right to demand payment for every type of harm the crash forced them to endure. It often surprises victims to learn just how wide the range of potential compensation is.
A skilled Las Vegas distracted driving accident lawyer can often secure payment for a victim’s:
- Past and future medical expenses for treating accident-related injuries and health conditions
- Vehicle repair and replacement costs
- Past and future out-of-pocket expenditures for goods and services that facilitate living with or adapting to an injury
- Lost earnings from missing work with an injury
- Vacation days and sick leave used while out of work
- Lost future income earning potential
- Pain, suffering, and loss of quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
In the event a distracted driving accident leads to the death of an innocent victim, the victim’s surviving spouse, family members, and legal estate, can often pursue legal action for damages through a wrongful death action.
Compensation in that case can include:
- Loss of the victim’s income and financial support
- Loss of the victim’s society, companionship, guidance, or consortium
- The victim’s pain and suffering prior to death
- A spouse or family member’s pain and suffering due to the loss
- Medical expenses in treating the injuries that led to death
- Funeral and burial expenses
In either type of lawsuit, a skilled lawyer can also sometimes secure an award of additional, exemplary damages, which serve to punish an at-fault party’s especially wrongful conduct.
The Role of a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
Lawyers for distracted driving accident victims work to secure the maximum compensation available to pay for the victims’ losses. They also act as advisors and advocates who help their clients confront the challenges of healing and moving on from a distracted driving crash.
If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a Las Vegas distracted driving accident, look for a lawyer who will:
- Act quickly to preserve critical evidence and meet upcoming legal deadlines
- Investigate the fine details of a crash to determine exactly how it happened and who should pay damages
- Answer your questions in plain English (or Español)
- Advise you about making healthcare or financial decisions that could affect your legal rights
- Handle all communications and interactions with insurance companies, so you don’t have to answer any more calls from aggressive adjusters and investigators
- Prepare, file, and litigate insurance claims and lawsuits in your name against at-fault parties and insurance companies who owe you damages
- Negotiate aggressively to secure a favorable settlement of your claims whenever possible
- Go to trial to prove your case to a Las Vegas judge and jury
- Take all necessary steps to collect every last dollar owed to you from a settlement, judgment, or jury verdict
You can and should expect your lawyer to handle every aspect of the process of getting you paid for the harm you suffered, so that you can focus your time and energy on healing from your trauma and returning to your life.
How much does a distracted driving accident lawyer cost?
Most Las Vegas victims of distracted driving accidents can ill afford to shoulder additional expenses. Their injuries have already saddled them with unexpected medical bills and lost income from missing work. The last thing they need is to have to worry about paying for a lawyer.
And they don’t have to. All reputable Las Vegas distracted driving accident lawyers offer a free, no-obligation consultation for crash victims and their loved ones. In a consultation, you can learn about your rights and begin exploring whether you have a case to make for compensation. Lawyers will not charge you for this meeting, even if you decide not to hire them.
Las Vegas attorneys also routinely handle distracted driving accident cases on a contingent fee basis. That means they only earn a fee if they win for you. In the meantime, you don’t have to pay out of pocket for the work they do.
Protect Your Rights After a Distracted Driving Crash in Las Vegas
The most helpful step you can take to protect your rights after a Las Vegas distracted driving accident is to contact an experienced attorney right away. It doesn’t take long to have a free consultation about your options, and once you hire a lawyer you can rest easier knowing that a skilled professional is focusing their attention on getting you the money you need.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to assist your case. Following the tips below can also help to make sure you receive the maximum compensation available for your losses.
Prioritize Medical Care
Give yourself the best possible opportunity to heal from your distracted driving crash injuries by seeking medical attention immediately. Don’t wait for aches and pains to get worse, and don’t trust that you can diagnose your own condition. Seeing a doctor will protect your health first and foremost. But it will also safeguard your legal rights by ensuring you have a complete and accurate record of your injuries and how they happened.
Use Care When Dealing With Insurance Companies
You probably can’t avoid dealing with insurance companies after an accident. At the very least, you’ll likely need to tell your own insurers about what happened. Be cautious in doing so. Stick to the facts and never say anything that suggests you blame yourself for what happened.
Be extra careful if someone else’s insurance company contacts you. Insurers often try to get victims like you to agree to quick settlements. But the money they offer will almost always fail to pay you the true value of your damages. Let a skilled lawyer negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf instead.
Don’t Wait to Seek Legal Help
In most Las Vegas distracted driving accident cases, you have at-most two years to pursue legal action for compensation. You might have just a few months. If you let a deadline expire, you could lose your rights, so don’t delay talking to a lawyer who can step in if necessary to protect your rights.
Contact a Skilled Las Vegas Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Today
As long as distracted drivers continue to cause pain and expense on Las Vegas roads, their victims will have valuable rights to pursue compensation. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a Las Vegas distracted driving crash, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away for a free consultation about your rights.