When you go for a drive on an average day, you probably do not want to sit in silence. You may turn on the radio or pick up some friends to make the trip a little more entertaining. While the radio or passengers can make a drive more fun, they are distractions. Drivers who take to the road with distractions are at a greater risk of violating the duty of care that they owe to others.
Distracted driving cases in Missouri can be complicated to address, should you wish to pursue legal action. As of 2020, the state has yet to put a law in place declaring it illegal to text and drive for drivers over the age of 21. Missouri does have a law in place stating that any drivers who are not yet 21 cannot read, write, or send electronic messages while driving, even if they do so without using their hands.
For drivers over 21, it is also legal to talk on the phone while driving in Missouri. Those drivers can have a phone or another electronic device in their hands while they are behind the wheel of a car. How, then, can you determine whether or not a driver was distracted on the road at the time of your accident, based on this legislation? You have to understand that the term “distracted” does not just apply to those drivers using electronic devices.
While the term “distracted driving” has risen in use over the past several years, alongside the popularity of the cell phone, it can also apply to drivers who:
- Are listening to audiobooks without focusing on the road
- Are driving while fatigued
- Are trying to manage children in the backseat
- Are wrestling with a map
- Are having a conversation with other drivers
- Are eating or drinking
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes distracted driving as driving while any activity pulls your attention away from the road ahead of you. While it is true that texting can pull your eyes away from the road for an extended period of time, you are not limited to pursuing a civil case based on a cell phone’s use.
A Kansas City distracted driving lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC can work with you to determine whether or not the driver involved in your roadway accident was distracted behind the wheel. If it turns out that one of the distractions noted above, or another, contributed to your losses, then you can present a court with a complaint for compensation.
To get in touch with Ben Crump Law, PLLC and discuss the details of your case, call (800) 598-7557
Filing a Complaint and Proving Liability
If you do wish to take a distracted driving case to court, you must start off the process by filing a complaint with your local justice and attending legal professionals. The team with Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you craft this document, as you bring the court’s attention to your losses while also identifying the party you believe to be liable for your losses.
In doing so, however, you must make an argument suggesting that you can prove the following:
- Entitlement to a standard of care – Every driver who takes to the road in Missouri is entitled to an implicit standard of care, which means that all drivers must provide ordinary care to those parties around them. In your document, you should identify your position in relation to the party that you wish to hold liable for your losses.
- The violation of that standard of care – You must prove that the driver you wish to hold liable for your losses violated your standard of care. To do so, you can work with a lawyer or a third-party investigator to gather evidence of the other driver’s distraction.
- The contributions of negligence to your accident and losses – You must prove that a driver’s distraction contributed to all or most of the damages you endured in your accident.
Once you have this information condensed into a single document, you can submit it and wait to see if a court will move forward with the legal process. Make sure to get your complaint to the appropriate body within five years, according to Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMo) §516.120.
For a free legal consultation with a distracted driving accidents lawyer serving Kansas City, call 800-959-1444
What a Kansas City Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
You do not have to go to court if you would rather pursue compensation through other means. Missouri is an at-fault state, which means that if your insurance company believes that the other party involved in your accident bears the fault for your losses, you can receive compensation from a provider.
Similarly, you can inform the other driver that you intend to take legal action if they do not want to take responsibility for your losses. The best way to do this is through a demand letter, which a Kansas City distracted driving accident lawyer can help you with.
Alternatively, if you are offered a settlement by the party you believe to be liable for your losses, a lawyer can help you determine whether or not that settlement will attend to all of your post-accident needs.
You can take any of these paths without having to worry about the cost of the legal aid that you benefit from. We do not bill you for services unless you receive compensation for your losses. Ben Crump Law, PLLC stands ready to help you as you work to recover from a distracted driving accident. To reach out, call (800) 598-7557 for your free consultation today.