Driving, as we all know, can be dangerous. However, there are occasions where we can all contribute to our own safety – or lack thereof – on the road. The most common cause of avoidable car accidents in the U.S. is distracted driving, and it can destroy lives in the blink of an eye. If you have been in a Ventura car crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult an experienced car crash lawyer to find out.
Statistics & Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents
Distraction.gov reports 421,000 injuries sustained in auto accidents with distracted drivers in the most recent available data. There are several different causes of such accidents, including making phone calls, eating or drinking, talking to passengers, adjusting an MP3 player or GPS, and others. However, texting and driving is at the top of the list, especially among younger drivers (approximately one-fourth of drivers involved in distracted-driving accidents in recent data were under the age of 20). This is somewhat of a double-edged sword; because of the prevalence of texting and driving, people are becoming much more aware of its dangers, but very little attention is paid to other potentially hazardous behaviors that take one’s eyes off the road.
Most states, California included, have laws regulating texting and driving, including a total ban on text messaging for all drivers and a ban on phone usage for novice drivers (drivers under the age of 18). However, there are far fewer laws, if any, regulating other behaviors. California does have an initiative in place to crack down on driving while grooming, more specifically putting on makeup while driving, but very little has been codified as of this writing.
If you believe that you have been the victim of an accident involving a distracted driver, you have a choice of legal theories to bring suit under. The most common are offshoots of negligence theory, meaning that there are four main criteria you must prove under California law in order to hold the driver liable. In certain situations, the legal concept of negligence per se may be used as a type of shortcut. Negligence per se means that a law has been broken by the defendant, and the mere violation of the statute can qualify as negligent behavior, regardless of whether the underlying four criteria are specifically met. An experienced Ventura car accident attorney will be able to accurately assess the correct approach for your case.
California Code §1714 governs negligence law, which follows the common-law standard in most cases. To prove negligence, a plaintiff must establish:
- That a duty of care existed between plaintiff and defendant;
- That that duty was breached;
- That the breach was directly caused by the actions of the defendant; and
- That the plaintiff suffered tangible damages. Those damages may be emotional or mental in addition to physical, but they must last a sufficient amount of time to interfere with quality of life.
Contact A Car Crash Attorney In Ventura
It is critical to ensure that you have the best grasp possible of negligence laws and other statutes surrounding distracted driving. The attorneys of the Quirk Law Firm, LLP have been handling cases related to personal injury in Ventura with insight and compassion for years, and we are happy to assist you with yours if possible. Contact us today at (805) 650-7778.
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