Drivers generally understand that they should concentrate on the road when they get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, they don’t always live up to that requirement. All too frequently, distractions pull drivers’ attention in other directions, putting everyone on the road at risk.
Distracted driving accidents happen in Henderson far more often than you might imagine. Here’s a review of the factors that contribute to them, and how an experienced attorney can help you recover compensation if a distracted driver injures you or your loved one.
Three Types of Driving Distractions
Distracted driving played a role in at least 580 Henderson-area traffic accidents over a recent five-year period, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). Distraction behind the wheel also takes the lives of around a dozen victims in Nevada annually.
Safety advocates recognize three broad categories of distractions that can cause a dangerous loss of focus while driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. Each of them has the potential to cause enough inattention and loss of control to lead to an accident. And when combined in a single activity, like sending a text while driving, they’re especially hazardous.
A visual distraction is anything inside or outside a vehicle that draws a driver’s eyes away from the road. Common in-vehicle visual distractions include screens, visor mirrors, climate controls, and passengers, for example. Billboards, wildlife, natural beauty, or stopped traffic in an oncoming lane can all constitute out-of-vehicle visual distractions.
Allowing a visual distraction to divert your attention is dangerous because our hands tend to move in relation to where our heads and eyes point. As a result, a driver who turns to look at something may unconsciously turn the wheel, only to find the car out of alignment and potentially veering out of a lane or into oncoming traffic when they look back to the road. And even if looking straight ahead at a visual distraction, drivers lose focus on the road, which slows reaction to potential hazards.
A manual distraction consists of anything that causes a driver’s hands to leave the wheel to engage in some other activity. Examples of manual distractions include using a screen, reaching for a radio dial or climate control button, eating or drinking, or groping for something you dropped near your feet.
Manual distractions are hazardous because they amount to relinquishing control of a vehicle while they’re occurring. The time it takes for a driver’s hands to return to the wheel and reestablish control can delay the reaction to a dangerous situation long enough to lead to an accident. Manual distractions also commonly occur in tandem with visual distractions, which makes them especially likely to contribute to the cause of a crash.
A cognitive distraction constitutes any activity that draws a driver’s mind away from the task of driving safely and under control. It commonly accompanies the other two forms of distraction, either of which can cause a driver’s thoughts to wander. Screen use, as we’ve said, is an especially dangerous activity combining all three forms of distraction.
But cognitive distractions can occur even while a driver stares straight ahead with both hands on the wheel. Daydreaming, talking to passengers, and singing along to the radio, for example, can also amount to dangerous cognitive distractions.
In a simplified sense, a cognitive distraction interferes with a driver’s access to the parts of the brain that control safe driving behaviors. In moments of cognitive distraction, a driver loses the ability to, for instance, maintain lane position, perceive speed and distance, or react to a sudden event. In effect, engagement with the distraction overrides driving abilities. And in those few seconds, tragic accidents can easily occur.
Common Locations of Distracted Driving Accidents in Henderson
You risk encountering a distracted driver anywhere motor vehicles operate in Henderson. Highways, intersections, and neighborhood streets are three especially common distracted driving accident settings.
Highways, with their high speeds and congestion, are fertile grounds for distracted driving accidents. A moment of inattention on State Route 582 (Boulder Highway), Lake Mead Parkway, or I-515 during rush hour, for example, can trigger a chain reaction of collisions, all because a distracted driver’s car drifted out of its lane for just a second or two.
Distracted driving accidents regularly occur at busy intersections in Henderson, like the junction of Eastern Avenue and St. Rose Parkway (identified by the Henderson Police Department as one of the city’s most dangerous crossroads).
Many drivers treat the time they spend stopped at an intersection as an opportunity to send a text or scroll social media. But while they engage in that distraction, they frequently fail to notice that their car has begun to roll forward, or that a cyclist has entered their blind spot. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for them to snap back into focus to avoid accidents in many instances.
Henderson’s neighborhoods also see their fair share of distracted driving accidents. Drivers tend to relax on roads near home, making them prone to give in to distractions that lead to an accident. That can make neighborhood streets especially dangerous for unwary cyclists and pedestrians, who have too much faith that drivers will take it slow in residential areas.
Rideshare vehicles can also contribute to distracted driving crashes in Henderson neighborhoods. Uber and Lyft drivers spend a lot of time interacting with an app (a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction) and scanning the side of the road (visual and cognitive distractions) for an address or someone waiting for a pickup. Distracted driving accident risks spike during those moments.
Who can you hold liable for a Henderson distracted driving accident?
If you sustain injuries in an accident caused by a distracted driver in Henderson, you may have the right to demand compensation for your losses from anyone who Nevada law holds liable for your crash. In most cases, the distracted driver will owe damages for the harm done to you. But it might surprise you to learn that others can also share that liability, or bear it entirely.
Under Nevada law, anyone whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions contributed to the cause of a distracted driving accident could have a legal obligation to pay you compensation. So could other parties, if they have a legal or contractual duty to answer for the wrongful actions of someone who was at-fault.
This can include:
- The distracted driver
- The distracted driver’s employer, if the driver crashed a work vehicle
- A passenger who dangerously distracted the driver
- A party outside the vehicle who caused a dangerous distraction
- Another motorist whose careless or reckless actions independently contributed to the cause of a crash
- Insurance companies that cover any of the parties above for accident liability
You can’t wait for one of those parties to come along and offer you money, and even if that happened, they’d offer far less than you deserve. The most reliable and informative way to find out who might owe you compensation for a distracted driving accident in Henderson is to speak with an experienced attorney immediately. A lawyer may find that multiple parties owe you payments, which can substantially increase your chances of receiving full compensation for your losses.
What compensation can you get for a distracted driving crash in Henderson?
It might also surprise you to learn just how broad your rights to compensation can be.
In a typical distracted driving accident case in Henderson, an injured victim can seek payment for damages like:
- Medical expenses related to treating crash injuries and related health complications
- The cost of fixing or replacing a damaged vehicle
- Other expenses resulting from the crash or injuries it caused, like hiring in-home care or modifying your living space
- Past or future loss of earnings and work benefits
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Inconvenience and disruption of daily life
- Scarring and disfigurement
Depending on the circumstances of your distracted driving accident and the injuries you suffered in it, these damages can amount to tens of thousands of dollars or more. An experienced Henderson attorney might also be able to convince a court to direct an at-fault party to pay you additional sums, known as punitive damages, as punishment for that party’s extreme or malicious conduct.
As above, the most effective and efficient way to find out how much money you might have the right to receive after getting hurt in a Henderson distracted driving crash is to speak with an experienced lawyer right away. You gain nothing by waiting, and could even lose your rights if you wait too long and miss a critical deadline.
How a Lawyer Can Help You
Consulting with a lawyer won’t just educate you about who might owe you money and how much you might claim as damages after a Henderson distracted driving crash. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. A lawyer can handle every step of the process of securing compensation for your losses, from the very first outreach to an insurance company to collecting and distributing every last penny owed to you.
A skilled attorney can:
- Investigate the accident and gather evidence to prove the role distraction played in causing it
- Analyze insurance policies that may potentially cover your losses
- Answer your questions and advise you about critical decisions
- Manage all interactions with insurance companies, both your and the at-fault party’s
- Represent your interests in official investigations of the crash
- Prepare and pursue insurance claims and lawsuits on your behalf
- Negotiate settlements with defense lawyers and insurance companies, when possible
- Take your case to trial in a Clark County courtroom
- Pursue collection actions to ensure you receive the money due to you
It typically won’t cost you a penny for a lawyer to get started working on your Henderson distracted driving case. Lawyers for crash victims like you represent their clients on a contingent fee basis. Their only fee comes out of the money they secure on your behalf. They only get paid, in other words, if they win for you.
Common Indicators of a Distracted Driving Accident
You cannot easily tell if driver distraction played a role in causing the crash that injured you or your loved one. You can’t always count on a police officer at the scene to spot signs of distracted driving. It may instead take a thorough investigation by an experienced attorney to pinpoint how distracted driving affected events.
That said, distracted driving crashes often share similar characteristics.
Tell a lawyer right away if your Henderson accident involved telltale signs of distracted driving like:
- A vehicle that crashed at full or nearly full speed
- A vehicle that gradually drifted out of its lane
- A collision in slow or stopped traffic, including at an intersection
- A vehicle that drove through a stop sign or red light
- A sideswipe collision by a vehicle that didn’t signal before changing lanes
- A teenage driver and passenger(s)
- A rideshare vehicle
Of course, these circumstances don’t automatically prove that your crash involved a distracted driver. But they do increase the odds that an investigator will identify distraction as a contributing cause. And if the evidence points to distraction, you likely have valuable rights to demand compensation from the distracted driver and potentially others.
Contact a Skilled Attorney in Henderson Today
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous — and common—behaviors you’re likely to encounter on Henderson’s highways and byways. It has the potential to kill or injure drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. And it can happen anywhere, from the busiest parkways to the quietest of neighborhood streets.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused, or potentially caused, by a distracted driver, you probably have the right to demand money damages from the at-fault parties and their insurance companies. To learn more, contact a skilled Henderson accident injury lawyer today for a free consultation.