Distracted driving is a serious problem in Maryland and throughout the United States. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), 185 people are killed and 27,000 others are injured in distraction-related crashes in the state every year.

The nationwide statistics are just as disturbing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 2,841 people were killed and 400,000 were injured in U.S. distracted driving accidents in a single year alone. While cell phones are often cited as the primary source of distraction, they account for just 13 percent of fatal distracted driving crashes. Many other types of distractions can — and do — cause deadly collisions to unsuspecting Marylanders.

Were you hurt in a distracted driving crash in Maryland? You shouldn’t be forced to pay for your losses because someone else was reckless. A Waldorf distracted driving car accident lawyer at Trollinger Law LLC can fight for compensation and justice for you.

Call or contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving refers to operating a motor vehicle while the driver’s attention is turned to something else. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that there are three types of distractions that drivers may be susceptible to:

Cognitive distractions, occur when the mind wanders to an activity other than driving (e.g., thinking about a work meeting or what you’ll be having for dinner).

Manual distractions occur when a driver takes his or her hands off of the wheel to do something like change the radio or pick up a cup of coffee.

Visual distractions, happen when an individual’s eyes leave the road (e.g., checking on a child in the back seat or reading a text message).

Texting is largely considered the worst form of distraction while driving. That’s because it involves all three types of distractions to complete the task — cognitive (to compose the message), manual (to type it), and visual (to read the messages sent and received).

Common Types of Distracted Driving

Cell phones are a huge concern when it comes to distracted driving, which is why the use of handheld devices and texting while driving is against the law in Maryland.

Other forms of distracted driving that can be dangerous include:

  • Talking to passengers
  • Eating or drinking
  • Applying makeup or self-grooming
  • Changing the music on the car console
  • Using a GPS device
  • Looking out the window
  • Attending to pets or children in the vehicle
  • Looking at a map
  • Daydreaming

Although many distracted driving behaviors are legal, they can still be lethal. You should always limit potential distractions before hitting the road.

Distracted Driving Accident Statistics

Distracted driving happens far too often. Maryland statistics show that:

  • Distracted driving is a factor in 58 percent of accidents, including 60 percent of all injury crashes and 37 percent of all fatal ones.
  • Maryland law enforcement issued more than 2,000 citations and 1,000 warnings for distracted driving in a recent year.
  • While distracted driving can occur anywhere, metropolitan areas in Maryland have the highest concentration of distracted driving crashes.
  • The highest rate of distracted driving crashes happen in Prince George’s and Baltimore counties.
  • Most distracted driving car accidents in Maryland occur on Fridays between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Men are more likely to be in distracted driving accidents than women.
  • Nearly four out of every five distracted driving crashes result in injury, according to one MDOT study.

In addition, NHTSA reports that the average amount of time that it takes to read a text is about five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

Maryland Distracted Driving Laws

If you are a driver in Maryland, you should familiarize yourself with the state’s laws regarding distracted driving.

All motorists are prohibited from using a handheld device to talk or text while driving. One exception to using a handheld device is for GPS purposes. Another is to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

Distracted driving is also a negligent action. As such, Maryland personal injury laws enable distracted driving accident victims to seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, pain and suffering, and more after a crash.

Negligence refers to the failure to exercise the degree of care that a person in the same situation would do. If you can prove that a driver was distracted and that the distraction was the proximate cause of your crash and resulted in damages, you have the right to bring forth a claim against the distracted driver for the full value of your losses.

If you believe you have a valid claim for compensation, you should talk to a distracted driving accident lawyer immediately. Maryland doesn’t make it easy for injured people to collect the compensation they deserve.

The state uses a harsh doctrine called contributory negligence to determine fault for accidents. In order to collect compensation, you must be able to prove that the other driver was 100 percent responsible for the crash that injured you. This requires collecting compelling evidence that can be difficult for a private individual to do, especially when he or she is recovering from severe injuries. An attorney can investigate the accident and craft a strong argument for why you deserve full and fair compensation.

How to Prove a Driver Was Texting

Texting while driving is the most well-known form of distracted driving. If you’ve been in a Waldorf texting while driving accident, types of evidence that you may be able to use to support your claim include:

  • Eyewitnesses’ statements
  • The driver’s own admission of guilt
  • Video footage of the accident
  • The police report
  • Cell phone logs, which can show the time and date that a text message was sent

Trollinger Law LLC will help you to gather the evidence you need after being hit by a distracted driver. Getting the right information may involve filing a subpoena for evidence and sending a spoliation of evidence letter to ensure proof is preserved, two things that require a detailed understanding of the law.

Damages in a Distracted Driving Car Accident Claim

In a distracted driving accident, you can seek compensation for the full value of your damages, such as:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Expected loss of benefits and earning capacity
  • Any home modifications required to support a new disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damage, such as vehicle repairs

In rare cases, a person can also be awarded punitive damages. These are meant to punish the at-fault party for especially reckless conduct.

Maryland Car Accident Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations on car accident claims in Maryland is three years from the date of the collision. If you wait longer than three years from the date of your car accident to file a claim, you could be permanently barred from recovery. There are a few exceptions to this rule, so contacting a distracted driving lawyer as soon as possible is the best way to determine whether you have a case.

How Can Trollinger Law LLC Help Me?

At Trollinger Law LLC, we’ll demand the maximum amount of compensation possible for your distracted driving accident case. We will:

Listen to your story

  • Investigate the case to determine an appropriate value for your claim
  • Manage all talks and negotiations with insurance companies and lawyers from the opposing side
  • Gather evidence, including witness statements and testimony from experts, to support your accident claim
  • File the relevant insurance documents for you
  • Push for a full settlement that accounts for all of your losses
  • Represent you at trial, if necessary, to fight for the best possible outcome for your case

Firm founder Matt Trollinger is an experienced attorney with an established track record of success in helping injured people in in Waldorf, Charles County, and the surrounding D.C. metro areas.

We can get started on your case right away. Call or contact Trollinger Law LLC for a free, no-obligation consultation today.