Distracted driving is still a major problem facing our roads today. It accounts for more than 20% of all traffic accidents in Massachusetts – a clear indication of how rampant the problem is. Despite the implementation of tough measures by the state government, the number of distracted driving accidents is ever rising.
All drivers have a duty of care to have their full attention on the road while driving. However, when they breach this duty, they put the lives of others at risk. Distracted driving accidents often lead to serious injuries and even death, turning the lives of families upside down in an instant.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of distracted driving in Massachusetts, you may be entitled to receiving compensation for your damages. With the help of an experienced Brockton distracted driving accident lawyer, you can get the justice you deserve and the financial compensation owed to you to get your life back to normal. You are not alone, our capable team at Robert Shea is here to provide you with all the assistance that you need. Get in touch with our car accident attorneys today at 508-506-5681 to schedule your free initial consultation.
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What is Distracted Driving?
Under the law, distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Even though distracted driving is mainly associated with texting and driving, there are many other forms of distracted driving. While not all are illegal, they are still a major hazard.
Types of Distracted Driving
There are three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual: This refers to anything that takes the driver’s eyes away from the road. This can include looking at a billboard, checking one’s hair in the rearview mirror, looking at an accident at the side of the road, etc.
- Manual: This refers to anything that causes the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel. This can include fiddling with the radio, reaching for a fallen item, and so on.
- Cognitive: This refers to anything that takes the driver’s mind off the task of driving. This can include daydreaming or engaging in an argument with a passenger.
One of the main reasons why governments are so keen on preventing accidents caused by texting while driving is the fact that this task involves all three types of distractions.
Laws Regarding Distracted Driving In Massachusetts
Massachusetts’ hands-free law came into effect in February 2020. This law prohibits the use of any electronic device, including cell phones, by motor vehicle and bicycle operators unless it is hands-free. The enactment of this law made Massachusetts the 16th state to prohibit motorists from holding phones.
According to this law, drivers who are under the age of 18 years are prohibited from using any electronic device. This also includes phones used in hands-free mode.
For drivers 18 years and above, they can only use electronic devices and cell phones provided that they are in hands-free mode. One is only allowed to touch the devices to activate the hands-free mode – and this is only if the device is properly mounted on the center console, windshield, or dashboard and doesn’t impede the safe operation of the vehicle. This means that no holding or manually supporting the device.
You are not allowed to touch the device to text, email, take video, or use the internet.
Hands-free use mode is only allowed when the vehicle is stationary, and not in a bicycle or public travel lane. Hands-free mode use is not permitted at red lights or stop signs.
Penalties for violating the hands-free law include:
- A $100 fine for the first offense
- A $250 fine and mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program for a second offense
- A $500 fine, mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program, and an insurance surcharge for the third and successive offenses.
What Damages Can Victims Get From A Distracted Driving Accident Claim In Massachusetts?
You can file a claim to pursue the following types of damages in Brockton, Massachusetts:
Economic damages are set up to compensate victims and their families for verifiable financial losses suffered as a result of the injury. Economic damages include medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning potential, etc.
These types of damages are designed to compensate distracted driving accident victims and their families for intangible non-monetary losses. They include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of limb or function, etc.
The state of Massachusetts only awards punitive damages involving wrongful death, These damages are meant to punish the defendant for intentional or grossly negligent action. There is no specific cap for these types of damages.
How Long Do I Have To File An Auto Accident Claim In Massachusetts?
The deadline or ‘statute of limitations for personal injury cases including distracted driving accident claims is three years from the date of the accident. However, it is always important to take action as soon as possible for the best outcome.
Why Should I Get A Lawyer After Being Hit By A Distracted Driver?
Massachusetts is a comparative negligence state, which means that a plaintiff can recover compensation if they are less than 51% at fault for the accident. The amount that the plaintiff can recover will be reduced according to their percentage of fault. This doctrine can make it complicated for distracted driving accident victims to recover compensation. To avoid jeopardizing your case it is important to have an experienced distracted driving attorney on your side who will help you properly handle your case.
Proving fault in a distracted driving accident can be quite complicated. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate your case and collect all the important evidence to prove fault and build a strong case for you.
Your attorney will also prepare your claim and help you file all the necessary paperwork within the set deadlines. He/she will also handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance company to ensure that your rights are not trampled on. They will negotiate full and fair compensation for your damages.
If need be, your attorney will prepare your case for trial and offer professional legal representation in court to ensure that you get a favorable verdict.
Contact A Professional Brockton Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Today
Suffering injuries or losing a loved one as a result of the negligence of a distracted driver can be extremely painful and distressing. It is important that the at-fault driver is held accountable for their negligent actions. Dealing with the resulting injuries and financial hardships can have a significant impact on your quality of life and your family.
We can help you get the justice and financial compensation that you deserve. Our compassionate and understanding personal injury attorneys have what it takes to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries. Get in touch with us today at 508-506-5681 to talk to one of our experienced attorneys.