While fewer vehicles are on the road, distracted drivers are a prevalent issue and have led to many motorcycle and truck accidents in Kennewick, Richland, and the surrounding areas. In the city or downtown area, you expect drivers to have distractions and fall into the habit of paying attention to those distractions. In the more rural areas, it can be even worse; drivers can be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking it’s “safe” for them to daydream or be less attentive.
While every driver and passenger is at risk, motorcycle riders may have the most to lose when they share the roads with distracted drivers. When you are in a distracted driving accident, you should speak with a Kennewick motorcycle accident lawyer as quickly as possible. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can start collecting proof that the driver is liable for your injuries.
Motorcycle injuries can be permanent
Motorcycles have limited inherent protections, so a crash or accident often results in severe and permanent injuries. When you are on a secluded road, your injuries can worsen because emergency services cannot get to you as quickly as in the city. Telaré Law handles complex motorcycle injury cases like:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
- Spinal cord damage
- Nerve muscle, tissue, and ligament damage
- Vision and hearing loss
- Severe bone injuries
- Internal organ damage
Road rash is also widespread in motorcycle accidents and can lead to victims needing skin grafts or plastic surgery. Road rash can also lead to an amputation. It will take time before you fully heal from your injuries, and we must take legal action to protect your future.
When you suffer a permanent injury, you will need months or years of treatment, and those expenses will quickly add up. The financial aspect is only one part; you will also be unable to work and must adjust your lifestyle for your condition. We can help.
How common is distracted driving in Southeast Washington?
All motorists know distracted driving is dangerous, but they still choose to participate in the activity. In Washington, reports show that driver distraction is highest in the city at 8.1%, followed by 6.5% on country roads and 6.6% on state roads. Drivers across the country agree that using a cell phone is dangerous and support distracted driving laws. While drivers are aware these actions are dangerous, they still make the conscious decision to participate in them and endanger the lives of others. Establishing distracted driving is essential to a motorcycle accident claim because it shows negligence, which is the basis of all personal injury claims.
Three categories of driver distractions
Motorists assume that drivers participate in only one possible distraction: cell phone usage. However, the term is all-encompassing of any non-driving activity that takes your attention away from the road. A distraction can fall into three categories:
- Manual distractions: anything that takes your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive distractions: actions that take your mind off driving
- Visual distractions: activities that take your eyes away from the road
While cell phones are the leading cause of distractions, there are many others, including:
- Adjusting the radio
- Watching videos
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Tending to kids and pets
Some distractions fall into all three categories, while others only fit into one. Proving distracted driving is challenging, but our Kennewick motorcycle accident lawyers can find evidence that shows the motorists were paying attention to something other than driving.
Distracted driving laws in Washington State
With the uptick in distracted driving accidents, the state legislature passed several laws to crack down on distracted driving. The first year after implementing these laws saw a decrease in fatalities, but it is still a serious issue. The Driving Under the Influence of Electronics, or E-DUI law, prohibits drivers from using hand-held devices when operating a vehicle (RCW 46.61.672). It allows law enforcement to pull drivers over just for picking up their phones; no other infraction is needed. When a driver gets an E-DUI violation, they suffer steep penalties, which are reported to the insurance company making it more challenging to get coverage.
Another law is the “dangerously distracted” law (RCW 46.61.673) , which prohibits other distractions. E-DUI is specific to cell phones and electronics, while dangerously distracted is all-encompassing and relates to issues like applying makeup, reading a book, and eating or drinking. It is a secondary traffic offense, so law enforcement must have a primary reason to pull someone over.
Exceptions to the law
There are exceptions to these laws where using a cell phone while driving is permissible. These exceptions refer to emergencies and include cell phone usage for:
- Reaching emergency services like dialing 911
- Commercial drivers, when it relates to their employment
- Using minimal finger action, such as when accepting or declining a call
Emergency services personnel are exempt from these laws because they provide services to others. Texting and checking social media are never permissible, even if you are stopped at an intersection. If the text cannot wait, you must pull over until you are done.
Pursuing compensation from a distracted driver
After a motorcycle accident involving a distracted driver, you can pursue compensation for your losses. These accidents are dangerous and lead to extensive losses, especially for motorcyclists who do not have the same protection as others. You should speak with a Kennewick motorcycle accident lawyer to file a claim and hold these parties responsible for their egregious actions. You can obtain compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and more.
The Kennewick motorcycle accident lawyers from Telaré Law will work with doctors and other experts to determine your overall condition and future prognosis. We review your medical bills and expenses, as well as any recommended treatments you will need in the future, to determine the compensation you can get. Motorcycle accidents happen in various ways, from sideswipes, head-on and rear-end. Many factors will affect your compensation award, and we are ready to fight for you. Telaré Law has offices in Kennesaw and Richland where you can speak to our motorcycle accident lawyers and review your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling our office or completing our contact form.