Every year, distracted driving claims thousands of lives in the United States. In fact, in Colorado alone, there are more than 40 accidents every day that are related to distracted driving. If you have been injured by a distracted driver in Colorado, you may be entitled to compensation.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a broad term that includes many different activities. Examples include:
- Texting while driving
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Changing radio stations
- Any other similar activities that take a driver’s attention away from the road
There are three primary types of distractions that are dangerous for drivers.
Visual distractions are those that take the driver’s eyes off of the road. Looking at the scenery or trying to find a street sign are common examples.
Manual distractions are those that require a driver to take his or her hands off of the wheel. Unwrapping a cheeseburger or trying to locate a toy a child has dropped are examples of dangerous manual distractions.
Cognitive distractions interfere with the driver’s ability to focus on driving. Thinking about a work or school assignment instead of paying attention to traffic signals is a common cognitive distraction.
Texting while driving is an especially dangerous activity because it involves all three types of distractions: the driver must look at the cell phone, must use his or her hands to send a message, and must think about composing or reading a message.
Colorado Laws on Distracted Driving
Colorado has laws that govern the use of cell phones while driving. For example, drivers may use their cell phones to make calls, but they are not allowed to text or browse the internet.
However, drivers under 18 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone at all.
In certain emergency situations, exceptions to these rules may be allowed.
Other types of distracted driving may not be expressly prohibited by Colorado law, but this does not mean that accident victims are without recourse.
Any time a driver is negligent and causes an accident, an accident victim may be able to file a claim to recover damages. All drivers have a duty to act reasonably under the circumstances, and this includes following traffic laws and paying attention to the road.
Breaches of the duty to act reasonably under the circumstances include engaging in behaviors that involve distracted driving.
If an accident victim can show that a driver’s distracted driving was the direct cause of the damages he or she is seeking, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim.
If the accident victim prevails in the personal injury claim, several types of damages may be available, including:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of future medical care
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Rental car expenses
- Loss of affection or companionship
Other types of damages may also be available. Your Colorado personal injury attorney will pursue all routes of recovery on your behalf to ensure you receive adequate compensation for your losses.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim against a distracted driver, you have a limited amount of time to do so. All legal claims have a deadline called the statute of limitations. If a claim is filed after the statute of limitations expires, the claimant likely will not be entitled to any damages.
In an accident claim, this means that the victim is responsible for the damages he or she has suffered–even if the victim was not at fault for the accident. Depending on the nature of the accident, the victim could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses due to the crash.
In Colorado, the statute of limitations for motor vehicle accident claims is three years. Generally, this statute of limitations begins on the date of the accident.
Attorney Jennifer Donaldson Holds Distracted Drivers Accountable
Denver car accident attorney Jennifer Donaldson has three decades of experience in motor vehicle accident claims, including those that involve the negligence of distracted drivers. To schedule a time to speak with Ms. Donaldson about your claim, contact us at 303-458-5000.