A distracted driving accident can result in very serious injuries and damages. Distracted driving usually takes the form of talking on the phone, texting, or sending emails from a mobile device while driving. Washington law requires drivers who wish to talk on the phone while driving to use a hands-free mobile device.
If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, the personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Loren Scott Etengoff can assist you with your case. Our attorneys have many years of experience negotiating with insurance adjusters and trying personal injury cases in court, and we are committed to maximizing the potential value of your case.
Federal Distracted Driving Law
As recently as 2010, a federal law was enacted which bans commercial vehicle drivers from texting or using their cell phones while driving. Offending drivers may be subject to a fine of $2,750.
Commercial vehicles include large trucks, as well as tractor-trailers. Due to their large sizes and fast speeds, these vehicles have the potential to cause serious accidents and devastating injuries when their drivers behave in a careless or reckless manner. As such, commercial vehicle drivers who violate this federal law should be severely penalized.
Washington State Distracted Driving Accident Statistics
Distracted driving has the potential to result in serious motor vehicle accidents. Just last year alone, there were 77 fatal crashes in Washington State. There were also 199 suspected serious injury accidents, 3,671 possible/suspected injury collisions, and 12,314 total distracted-driver-involved crashes. All of these accidents and fatalities could have been avoided if drivers had given proper care and attention to their responsibilities on the road.
Distracted Driving Laws in Washington State
If a driver is caught sending or receiving text messages or talking on a cell phone that does not have a hands-free option, that driver may be issued a ticket based solely upon those offenses. The fine for using a cell phone while driving is $124.
It is also important to note that beginning on July 23, 2017, a new Washington State law went into effect. Pursuant to this law, drivers are not permitted to hold or carry electronic devices, including cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, and gaming devices, in their hands while driving on Washington roadways. However, drivers may employ “minimal use” of a finger on their device in order to activate, deactivate, or initiate a mobile device function, such as playing music or checking GPS directions. In those instances, the mobile device must be by the driver’s side or in a dashboard holder, rather than in the driver’s hand.
A first offense will subject offending drivers to a $136 fine, with fines of $235 for subsequent offenses. Insurance companies may also consider these offenses “moving violations” when raising an offending driver’s insurance rates.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Under most circumstances, a personal injury plaintiff has 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Absent some extremely limited exceptions, if no claim or lawsuit is filed by that date, the plaintiff is forever barred from seeking monetary recovery for injuries and damages sustained in an accident.
Since time may be of the essence, it is important that you contact a Washington State personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after sustaining injuries in your accident.
Contact a Vancouver, WA Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Today
If you have sustained personal injuries and damages as a result of a distracted driver’s carelessness and negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. A distracted driving accident lawyer will evaluate your claim, represent you during settlement negotiations with insurance adjusters, and/or represent you in court if your case goes to trial. Contact the Law Offices of Loren Scott Etengoff by calling (360) 693-2919 today.