Drivers who operate their vehicles while distracted pose a serious threat to themselves and others. The risk of causing an accident increases significantly when the driver isn’t dedicating all their attention to the road. As a result, other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or bicyclists could sustain serious or even fatal injuries. If you’ve been the victim of that type of crash, our Albuquerque distracted driving accident lawyers can help you file a car accident claim. Doing so will put you on the path to receiving the compensation you need to cover your accident-related expenses and losses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people are killed and over 1,000 are injured every single day in the United States by a distracted driver. Understanding how often these crashes occur in Albuquerque, why they happen, and what you can do if you’ve been injured are important steps in filing a successful claim.
Distracted Driving Accidents in Albuquerque
Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents all around the country. According to the New Mexico Traffic Crash Annual Report, a distracted driving crash occurred every 56 minutes in New Mexico in 2017. While eating, grooming, and smoking are common types of distraction, driver inattention is typically related to cellphone use. The driver may be talking or texting.
In September 2019, an Albuquerque resident was killed in a collision when a vehicle swerved out of traffic and struck his pickup on Interstate 10. Based on the preliminary reports, it appeared that the other driver was liable. Not only were they speeding and weaving through lanes, but the possibility of distraction was not ruled out—especially considering how the vehicles collided. The right rear side of the car collided with the front of the pickup.
If you’ve been involved in a distracted driving crash, determining how and why it happened is important to your claim. Our lawyers can investigate the incident and determine the distractions that contributed to it.
Types of Distractions Behind the Wheel
While technology at your fingertips is useful in numerous situations, it’s dangerous behind the wheel. The majority of distracted driving accidents are the result of texting, talking on the phone, or using a device to access social media.
The act of using a phone behind the wheel contributes to the three different types of distraction: cognitive, visual, and manual.
Cognitive distraction happens when a driver’s mind isn’t focused on driving. Thinking about rerouting the destination or what restaurants you’re going to go to for dinner are common examples.
Visual distractions, like when a driver looks at their phone to read a text message, are dangerous because the driver doesn’t see what’s going on around them. If they need to make an abrupt stop or change lanes, they may not have the time to do so if they see the hazard too late.
Manual distractions take the driver’s hands off the wheel, like when responding to a text. Even just taking one hand off the wheel significantly reduces the control a driver has over their vehicle.
No matter what type of distraction was involved, your attorney will fight to ensure the negligent driver is held accountable and you have the compensation you need to recover.
How to Prove a Driver Was Distracted
In order to pursue a successful claim, you need to be able to prove the other driver was distracted. This can seem like a harrowing task, but there are a number of methods your lawyer can take to determine how the negligent driver caused your crash.
- Admission of Guilt. While a driver will rarely volunteer that they were distracted when a car accident occurred, they are required to be honest when they are asked questions about the accident by the insurance company or a judge. Your lawyer can send written questions regarding distracted driving, to which the person is supposed to respond truthfully.
- Witness Testimony. Passengers are also required to tell the truth when asked official questions regarding the accident. If they know the driver was on the phone at the time of the crash, they’re legally obligated to say so. There’s also the possibility of nearby bystanders who may have noticed the negligent driver was focused on something other than what was going on around them.
- Physical Records. When police conduct an investigation for a car accident, they’ll typically look for signs the driver was using a cellphone. If necessary, cell phone records can be examined to determine if the driver was talking or texting when the crash occurred.
- Accident Reconstruction. Accident reconstruction engineers and scientists can prove a driver was distracted. This is often done by rebuilding the accident scene from beginning to end.
Preventing Distracted Driving Accidents in New Mexico
Safer New Mexico Now was founded in 1985 after a family lost their son in an unbelted automobile crash. The initiative focuses on making improvements to the state’s traffic safety laws. They’ve been involved in the implementation of a number of laws, including the one regarding texting and driving.
In 2014, texting while driving was outlawed in New Mexico. The law affects anyone who is in control of a motor vehicle on a highway or street and includes being temporarily stopped at a traffic light or sign. A first time texting offense will result in a fine, but the consequences increase with subsequent offenses.
Even with safe driving initiatives and distracted driving laws, negligent drivers still regularly cause accidents. If you’ve been the victim of a crash, you need help from a dedicated and experienced legal team.
Legal Representation You Can Trust
It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed after a crash, especially when it wasn’t your fault. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, filing a claim with the help of an Albuquerque distracted driving accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you have access to the compensation you need to recover.
While most claims are settled outside of court, we’ll head to trial if necessary. It’s important to acknowledge the statute of limitations associated with filing a lawsuit. This is essentially the timeframe you have to file. If you neglect to do so on time, you’ll render yourself ineligible for any monetary recovery. According to New Mexico Statutes Annotated section 37-1-8, you have three years from the date of the crash to file with the state’s court system.
Our attorneys will make sure all deadlines are met, whether your case goes to trial or not. But it’s likely we’ll be able to reach a full and fair settlement agreement with the insurance company. The sooner you file your claim, the better your chances are of that happening. To get started, contact our office today. We’ll begin with a consultation where we review the facts of your case and provide you with legal advice on how best to proceed.