Des Moines Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
Representing Those Harmed by Texting While Driving
Many people are becoming more aware of the tremendous risks involved in using a cell phone while driving, with text messaging being one of the most dangerous possible activities. The simple truth remains that a person who takes only a moment to glance at their phone still takes their eyes off the road long enough to possibly cause a serious accident.
When you have been involved in a motor vehicle crash caused by a distracted driver, you are right to believe that the distracted driver should be responsible for all resulting damages. Unfortunately, many distracted drivers will deny that they were being inattentive and may even claim that you were the party responsible for a collision.
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a distracted driving or texting while driving accident in the greater Des Moines area, you need to quickly retain legal counsel for assistance with every single aspect of your personal injury case. Make sure that you speak to a lawyer before you say anything to an insurance company.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Distracted Driving/Texting While Driving Accidents
What Are the Different Types of Distracted Driving/Texting While Driving Accident Cases?
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, there are 3 main types of distraction:
- Visual: A distraction that takes your eyes off the road.
- Manual: A distraction that takes your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: A distraction that takes your mind off of driving.
Texting while driving is considered the most dangerous types of distraction because it involves all 3 of these kinds of distractions.
However, people can be easily distracted by other things, including:
- Adjusting stereo or climate controls
- Eating or drinking
- Personal grooming
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
- Caring for pets
- Other passengers
LaMarca Law Group, P.C. assists people who have been involved in accidents involving all kinds of distractions.
What should I do after a distracted driving or texting while driving accident?
There are a number of important steps you need to take. These will include:
- Get medical attention: Medical care is important even if you do not think you were hurt. If you have delayed symptoms and wait to visit a doctor, the delay in treatment can lead to an insurance company claiming you did not treat the injuries properly. Always make sure you visit a hospital simply to create a medical record right after a crash.
- Contact law enforcement: Make sure a police report is filed for your accident. The distracted driver may also be ticketed.
- Exchange insurance information: Get the other driver’s insurance policy information and driver’s license number. Avoid getting into any arguments at the scene of the accident.
- Take pictures: Try to get as many photographs as possible of everything involved in the scene of your accident, from the vehicles, to the people, to all other notable items that are likely to disappear when the scene is cleared, such as skid marks.
- Contact a lawyer: Speak to a distracted driving accident attorney as soon as you can for help protecting your rights and pursuing your case.
It can also be beneficial to seek possible witnesses at the scene of your crash. When you cannot take these measures at the accident scene yourself, ask anybody you know to take pictures and seek witnesses for you.
What kinds of compensation could I be entitled to?
It is likely that your distracted driving accident will be resolved through a settlement because insurance companies want to avoid going to trial and paying the high costs associated with them. If the insurer will not provide a satisfactory settlement amount, a distracted driving lawsuit may be necessary, and the case could end up in court.
A victim who is able to prove their case by overwhelming evidence can be awarded compensatory damages, which usually include economic damages for tangible costs and noneconomic damages for other subjective kinds of harm. Economic damages often include awards to cover medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, while noneconomic damages might be for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional and mental trauma, or disfigurement.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit for a distracted driving accident?
In Iowa, you have 2 years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations is also 2 years for a wrongful death claim, but the limitations period begins on the date of an individual’s death, which could be later than the date of an accident.
For minors and drivers who have suffered brain injuries, the statute of limitations is one year after their 18th birthday or when they regain the mental capacity to file a lawsuit.
Distracted Driving/Texting While Driving Accident Statistics
The Des Moines Register reported that Iowa Department of Transportation data showed almost 9,000 of the over 55,000 motor vehicle accidents in Iowa (about 16%) were caused by a distraction. Almost 400 of those crashes involved drivers talking on or manually operating an electronic device.
The Register also reported that the Iowa State Patrol issued two-thirds of the 1,743 citations handed out to motorists during the first 12 months of the new texting-while-driving law.
According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, drivers distracted by phones or use of other devices were involved in 1,090 total crashes in 2018, causing 524 injuries.
The breakdown of these distracting driving crashes for vehicles was:
- Fatal – 8
- Major – 32
- Minor – 143
- Possible or unknown – 220
- Damage only – 687
The breakdown of the distracting driving crashes for victims was:
- Fatalities – 9
- Major injuries – 35
- Minor injuries – 179
- Possible injuries – 298
- Unknown injuries – 8
2016 had the highest number of distracted driving crashes with 1,231, but 2017 had the highest number of injuries – 645 – from distracted driving crashes.
Do I Need a Distracted Driving/Texting While Driving Accident Lawyer?
While you may know that another driver was distracted and caused your accident, it can be difficult for a person to prove that this actually occurred. This is why you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. They can immediately start a comprehensive and independent investigation into your crash.
The investigation will allow the lawyer to collect all of the evidence needed to prove that another driver was distracted and that led to the accident. When a cell phone was the item that distracted another driver, the attorney may be able to subpoena that driver’s phone records and evidence of activity at the time of a crash could be used to demonstrate that the driver’s attention was not focused on the road.
In addition to the underlying evidentiary concerns in distracted driving cases, another major reason to have a lawyer in your corner is so that they can deal with the negligent driver’s insurance company on your behalf. It is likely that the insurer for the distracted driver will contact you soon after your crash — do not say anything to them. Instead, refer them to your attorney.
The insurance company will ask you for a recorded statement about the accident. Do not give them one without your attorney present during the call. The insurance company will also likely offer you a lump sum settlement offer for the accident.
While a representative may tell you that accepting such a settlement will allow you to keep more money for yourself, the truth is that the amount you are agreeing to is far less than what you are entitled to and likely will not be enough to cover future costs that you will then have to pay out of your own pocket.
Why Choose LaMarca Law Group, P.C. To Handle My Case?
LaMarca Law Group, P.C. has a proud history of supporting and participating in legal education programs, which includes more than a quarter-century of education and mentoring over 100 Drake University and University of Iowa law students who have participated in our clerkship program. We are also an approved internship sponsor for the legal assistants certification program at Des Moines Area Community College.
Contact a Distracted Driving/Texting While Driving Accident Attorney in Des Moines
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a distracted driving or texting while driving crash in Des Moines or a surrounding area in Iowa? LaMarca Law Group, P.C. can handle your case on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not have to pay anything unless you recover a financial award. Our firm has a record of success that includes numerous 6- and 7-figure verdicts and settlements.
We have dedicated our lives to protecting the rights and futures of injured Iowans. We work to ensure that your case is handled while you focus on your recovery.