Yes, you can file a lawsuit if a distracted driver caused a car accident. It is negligence when a driver does not give his full attention to the road. When that carelessness results in a wreck, the injured parties can go after financial damages for their losses.
How Liability Works in Car Accidents
A person must be legally responsible for harming someone before the injured person can get compensation from the defendant for his injuries. Accordingly, we have to prove all of these factors to pursue money damages from a distracted driver:
- The driver owed you a duty of care. This element is rather simple to prove because everyone who operates a motor vehicle on a public street owes everyone within range of harm a duty to drive cautiously and obey the laws.
- The defendant breached the duty of care. A distracted driver violates the duty of care because he is not devoting his complete attention to the road ahead. When a person fails to live up to the legal standard of care, he is negligent.
- The negligence must cause the harm. The careless behavior has to be the thing that results in the accident in which you get hurt. A person can be negligent, but if something else caused the wreck, you have to go after the thing that was at fault. For example, if the police officer discovers that a driver was impaired by alcohol, you can only pursue compensation from that person if his carelessness caused or contributed to the crash.
- You suffered measurable losses as a result of the negligence. If someone’s distracted driving caused you to experience a “close call” but no physical injuries, you cannot sue that person for money damages. You can file a lawsuit if a distracted driver caused a car accident in which you sustain physical damage, as these injuries satisfy the element of quantifiable harm.
Once these factors have been established, we can then go after your losses, including both economic and noneconomic damages.
Damages in a Distracted Driving Car Crash
We cannot say how much compensation you might recover in a crash with a distracted driver because the amount you can go after will depend on the facts of your situation.
Here are some examples, though, of financial damages we have won for our clients in car accident injury claims:
You can get compensation for the reasonable cost of medical treatment that you needed for your injuries. This can include costs for an ambulance, emergency room or hospital visits, doctor appointments, surgery, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, and related items in your claim. You cannot, however, recover for unrelated services you had while recuperating from the accident.
If you missed paychecks because of your injuries from the accident, you can add them to your claim. If your employer gave you fully paid sick leave during your absence and did not dock your pay for things like physical therapy appointments, you might not have a claim for lost wages. Lost income can include salary, wages, self-employment, and other forms of regular income.
Pain and Suffering
Getting hurt in a car accident can be painful and inconvenient. Having to go to multiple sessions of treatments like physical therapy can make it a challenge to keep up with your work and family responsibilities. Many people experience emotional trauma from crashes. You might be able to seek damages for your pain and suffering.
Other Intangible Losses
In addition to pain and suffering, there are other forms of damages that are hard to measure in dollars. Depending on the facts of your situation, we might be able to seek financial compensation for noneconomic losses like disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic depression, and a spouse’s claim for loss of consortium.
Diminished Earning Capacity
After a severe injury, you might not be able to make as much money as before. We can work with vocational rehabilitation experts to show the court how your injuries affect your ability to support yourself through gainful employment.
After a person sustains a devastating injury, he might need daily assistance with medical treatment and personal care. He might receive these services in-home or as a resident of a long-term care facility.
Get the Help You Need After an Accident Caused by a Distracted Driver
At S. Burke Law, we deliver compassionate, responsive legal services to our clients. We treat our clients like family. If you have questions about how to file a lawsuit if a distracted driver caused a car accident, call us today at (404) 842-7838 for a free, no-obligation consultation.