How many times have you been involved in, witnessed, or come upon the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident? If you’ve been driving for any length of time, chances are you’ve experienced dozens, maybe even hundreds of these incidents. Sadly, car accidents have become commonplace; more than 12 million traffic collisions occurred in the United States in 2016 (that’s more than 1300 per hour).
We’re now accustomed to the routine: the crash occurs, authorities are notified, police arrive, drivers and passengers are transported to medical facilities or get a ride home, cars are towed, and the scene is cleared. Every player knows their role and handles it efficiently.
However, even though the accident scene is tidied and traffic is rolling on obliviously as if nothing ever happened, it’s not the end of the story – especially if it’s happening to you. For anyone who finds themselves in this unfortunate situation, Long Beach car accident lawyer Johnson Attorneys Group recommend enlisting the help of an attorney who specializes in auto accidents and knows what questions to ask, like the following.
“Were drugs or alcohol a contributing factor?”
In 2016, more than 27,000 drivers or passengers were injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in California; more than 1500 died as a result of those injuries. Additionally, 15 percent of traffic fatalities were attributed to drivers under the influence of drugs. Alcohol and drug impairments can include drowsiness, recklessness, slow reaction times, and impaired judgement – all of which negatively affect one’s ability to drive safely.
Amid the chaos of an accident, it may be difficult for you to ascertain on your own whether the person who hit you was under influence of drugs or alcohol, but law enforcement officers responding to the scene should be alert to telltale signs. Nevertheless, you should share anything and everything you observed before, during, and after the accident – not only so they can add this to their report, but also to help them determine if the other party’s actions might indicate impairment. If the police detect anything unusual, they’ll perform a field sobriety test. Your personal injury attorney will request these results as well as a copy of the police report.
“Did distracted driving play a role?”
Although there are plenty of things that can distract drivers, like children in the backseat, reaching for something in the floorboard, or watching the driver in the next lane instead of the road, the term “distracted driving” is now most associated with texting and driving. Although 47 states now have laws against texting while driving, more than 1,000 people each day are injured by distracted drivers…and nine are killed.
Texting incorporates three types of driving distractions, including visual, manual, and cognitive impairments, in that texting drivers take their eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel, and their focus away from their most important task at hand. Taking your eyes off of the road for the five seconds it takes to read or send a text is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Distracted drivers will drift over into another lane, stop too early or too late, not use turn signals, or run off the side of the road; in a lot of ways, they drive as if they are under the influence.
If you suspect that a driver who caused your accident was texting and driving, be sure to mention this to the police. If any witnesses are available, ask them to share what they observed prior to the accident, and if possible, take pictures of the other car, including interior photos which may prove the presence of a mobile phone within the driver’s reach. Your auto accident attorney will work with the police to access the driver’s cell phone records, as well, if your case requires verification of what the driver was doing at the exact time of your accident.