Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer | Buffalo, NY

Do You Need a New York Distracted Driving Lawyer? Look No Further Than Cellino Law

You see them everywhere on New York’s streets and highways: people driving cars, trucks, SUVs and all other types of vehicles while they’re not paying attention to what they’re doing or what’s happening around them. It’s called distracted driving.— and it kills and injures thousands of Americans every year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving [or] anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.” It also reports that this type of driving killed 3,142 people in 2020.

Other experts add additional details to the overall definition of distracted driving, breaking it down into the following three categories:

  1. Visual: anything that takes your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: anything that takes your hands off the steering wheel
  3. Cognitive: anything that takes your mind off of your driving

Top 10 Causes of Distracted Driving

People drive distractedly for many reasons. Here are the top 10:according to Zebra, an auto insurance services company:

  1. They’re lost in thought.
  2. They’re using their cellphone.
  3. They’re looking at something outside their vehicle.
  4. They’re engaging with someone else in their vehicle.
  5. They’re using a device other than their cellphone.
  6. They’re eating or drinking.
  7. They’re adjusting their radio or air conditioning.
  8. They’re fiddling with the cruise control or some other vehicle function.
  9. They’re moving objects around in the vehicle.
  10. They’re smoking.

Additional Distracted Driving Causes

Other common types of distracted driving include:

  • Driving while drowsy or fatigued
  • Driving while angry or upset
  • Driving while attempting to read a paper map
  • Driving while combing hair or applying makeup
  • Driving while closely monitoring kids in the back seat
  • Driving while digging in a purse or bag

2022 Distracted Driving Statistics

As you might expect, all this distracted driving causes chaos on the nation’s roads. Zebra provides the following 3033 distracted driving statistics:

  • Distracted driving accounts for 8.1% of all motor vehicle crashes.
  • It claims eight lives each day, translating to approximately 3,500 lives each year.
  • It accounts for approximately 20% of all motor vehicle crash injuries.

2021 Distracted Driving Survey Results

Amazingly, people actually admit to driving while distracted. When Zebra conducted a nationwide survey in 2021, the results included the following:

  • 52.5% of respondents admitted to eating while driving.
  • 55.1% of Android users and 40.4% of Apple users admitted to using their cellphone while driving.
  • 23.6% admitted to texting while driving; this increased to 42% among teens.
  • 6.5% admitted to applying makeup while driving.

Distracted Driving Personal Injury Lawsuits

It goes without saying that if a vehicle driven by a distracted driver hits you, you could well sustain serious injuries. Consequently, your wisest course of action is to contact an experienced New York distracted driving lawyer as soon as possible. Time is of the essence because New York’s statute of limitation requires you to file a no-fault claim within 30 days after your accident and allows you only three years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit against the distracted driver.

New York’s No-Fault Law

Another very important reason to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident is that New York has a no-fault law. This law applies to all drivers and passengers, except motorcyclists, under the following conditions:

  • The accident happened in New York.
  • You were driving an insured vehicle at the time of the accident or were a passenger in such a vehicle.
  • Your vehicle is registered in New York.
  • You have an auto insurance policy either sold in New York or issued by a company legally doing business in New York.

Under the no-fault law, you must first make a claim against your own insurance company before attempting to sue the other driver. This claim will be for your current out-of-pocket expenses and lost earnings attributable to your accident.

The other driver’s insurance company may require you to be examined by a physician or medical specialist of its choice. It may also require you to appear at an examination under oath where the insurance company’s lawyer will question you about the accident and your resulting injuries. Having your own lawyer at the hearing can help you through this possibly frightening process.

“Serious Injury” Threshold

Article 51 of the New York Insurance Code provides that you have no right to recover any noneconomic losses unless you sustained serious injuries in the accident.

To meet the serious injury threshold, your injuries must cause at least one of the following:

  • Death
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Dismemberment
  • Fractures
  • Permanent loss of the use of one or more of your bodily members, organs, functions or systems
  • Permanent limitation of one or more of your bodily organs or members
  • Significant limitation of use of one or more of your bodily functions or systems
  • Temporary impairment that prevents you from performing substantially all of your normal daily activities for at least 90 days

Damages

Assuming you meet the serious injury threshold, you can then go ahead and sue the distracted driver who caused your accident. If you win your suit, you can expect to receive both economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic Damages

Your economic damages pertain to your current and future losses attributable to your injuries. Examples include the following:

  • Hospital expenses
  • Surgical expenses
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Physical therapy expenses
  • Prescription drugs
  • Loss of income

Noneconomic Damages

Your noneconomic damages pertain to your current and future intangible losses attributable to your injuries. Examples include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Embarrassment over your lasting disfiguring scars
  • Loss of identity or self-esteem resulting from your new normal state, such as needing to use a wheelchair, prosthesis or white cane so as to navigate your world
  • Loss of your ability to fully function as you did prior to your accident

Comparative Negligence

New York is not only a no-fault state but also a pure comparative negligence state. What this means is that if it’s determined that your own negligence was partly to blame for the accident in which you sustained injuries, any settlement amount or jury award you receive for damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.

Why You Need an Experienced New York Distracted Driving Attorney

If all of the above sounds really complicated to you, you’re right. It is. Given the complexity of New York’s various laws regarding auto accidents, this is no time to attempt to go it alone. You need an experienced personal injury attorney guiding you every step of the way and aggressively protecting your rights.

That is exactly who we are and what we do at Cellino Law. We are one of New York’s premier personal injury law firms. Whether your accident occurred in Rochester, Buffalo, Long Island, Manhattan or anywhere else in New York, our team of deeply experienced attorneys is here to serve you.

We’ve been helping injured clients, including those injured in car accidents, since 1958 and are proud of our record of achieving favorable settlements and jury awards for our clients, many for multi-millions of dollars.

Just because we are a large law firm, however, does not mean that we take an assembly line approach to the practice of personal injury law. No. You can rest assured that our lawyers will treat you with the respect and empathy you deserve as an individual. You can also count on the fact that we take your situation as seriously as you do.

So contact us today. We’ll be happy to help you, too.

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