Distracted Driving Accidents in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Distracted Driving Lawyers

Strong advocacy when drivers don’t pay attention to the traffic around them

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Driving while distracted is one of the leading causes of accidents in Pittsburgh and across Western Pennsylvania. There’s no justification for distracted driving. Cars are not meant to be dining rooms or communication centers. When distracted drivers crash, they deserve to be held accountable for the injuries and deaths they cause.

At Carmody and Ging, Injury & Accident Lawyers, our personal injury lawyers understand the Pennsylvania laws on driver distraction and the common sense steps drivers should take to ensure they are focused on the road, not their own interests. We are skilled at showing what type of distraction caused the accident.

Our Pittsburgh distracted driving lawyers work with your medical team and our network of doctors to show the severity of your injuries, the medical help you need, and your economic and personal damage. We’re ready to help you today.

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How common is distracted driving?

According to the Pennsylvania Courts, in 2020, Allegheny County had the second highest number of distracted driving citations of any county in Pennsylvania – even more than Philadelphia. Nearly 2,300 people were cited for distracted driving in 2020. In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, when there were more drivers on the roads, nearly 4,300 people were cited for distracted driving in the state.

Nationally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 3,142 died nationwide in 2020 due to driver distraction.

How is distracted driving defined?

Distracted driving includes any activity that prevents a driver from being fully focused on the traffic around the driver. There are three categories of distraction:

  • Visual distraction. Drivers who aren’t looking through the windshield and using their mirrors
    aren’t focused on the roads around them.
  • Manual distraction. Drivers who do not have both hands on the steering wheel are not ready to
    steer out of trouble.
  • Cognitive distraction. Drivers who are thinking about their conversations aren’t thinking about
    what steps to take to avoid an accident.

What are examples of driving distractions?

Our Pittsburgh distracted driver lawyers examine whether a driver was doing any of the following acts (provided as examples by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation):

  • Drinking, eating, or smoking. Drivers who perform these acts don’t have both hands on the
    wheel and their eyes on the road.
  • Changing or adjusting an entertainment device such as a CD player, monitor, radio, or cassette.
  • Texting, emailing, or talking on a smartphone or cellphone.
  • Searching for objects in their car.
  • Interacting with or speaking with passengers. Teenagers are especially prone to crash if other
    teens are in their car than if the teen drives alone.
  • Personal grooming.
  • Reading.
  • Looking at a GPS instead of listening to a GPS.
  • Caring for a pet.
  • Driving while drunk.
  • Looking at the landscape or other vehicles.

Cars moving at 60mph travel 88 feet per second, so just a momentary lapse can be the difference between arriving home safely or crashing into another vehicle or striking a pedestrian or a bicycle rider.

Does Pennsylvania have laws on distracted driving?

In Pennsylvania, there is a statewide texting while driving ban. Drivers can be charged with a traffic offense if they use an “interactive wireless communication device (IWCD) [to] send, read, or write a text-based communication” while their vehicle is in motion. An IWCD includes a smartphone, portable computer, a personal digital assistant, a wireless phone, or similar devices that can be used to browse the Internet, email, send instant messages, or text. The bans do NOT apply to embedded devices (like infotainment systems) or GPS units.

Notably, it is not illegal to talk on your phone in Pennsylvania while you are driving, even though studies have shown how dangerous it is. In fact, the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University proved it back in 2008, when researchers found “that listening [to someone speak on a phone] alone reduces by 37 percent the amount of brain activity associated with driving.” The General Assembly passed a bill to ban ALL handheld cellphone use in Pennsylvania in 2021, but so far it has not come to a vote in the Senate. We expect, however, that some version of this bill will pass soon.

How does Carmody and Ging prove that a Pittsburgh driver was distracted?

Our personal injury lawyers work aggressively to show that the driver who caused your injuries was distracted. Some of the steps we take include:

  • Examining the electronic devices in the car and that the driver used. When there are grounds to think the driver was distracted, the defendant may be required to provide these devices to our legal team.
  • Questioning all the witnesses in the car. Everyone in the car is required to state the truth about what the driver was doing before the accident happened.
  • Questioning the driver. We can question the driver in person and by submitting writing questions.
  • Speaking with the police. They may have found evidence of distracted driving during their investigation.
  • Talking to any witnesses. Other drivers may have seen the driver using a smartphone before the crash occurred.
  • Examining the accident site. Sometimes, the way an accident happens indicates how it happened.

We work to see if there is any video of the accident from nearby stores, businesses, or neighbors. Our lawyers review any electronic truck logs that might provide information about whether the driver was fatigued.

Who is liable for a distracted driving accident in Pittsburgh?

At Carmody and Ging, our Pittsburgh distracted driving lawyers claims against all responsible parties. The defendants may include:

  • The distracted driver.
  • The owners of the vehicle. Often, distracted driving is caused by teenagers who use their parent’s car. The parents may be liable.
  • An employer. For example, a trucking company may be liable for a Pittsburgh accident if one of its drivers drove while distracted. If an accident was caused by an Uber or Lyft driver while the driver was on duty, then the driver and/or the rideshare company may be liable for up to $1 million in damage.

Traffic citations vs. civil claims in distracted driving cases

Distracted driving is a traffic offense with a $50 fine. It doesn’t even stay on your record. If the police report cites the distracted driver who hits you, we can use that information in your case.

While a ticket for distracted driving can help your case, there is no requirement that a driver be ticketed for you to file a personal injury claim. Many distracted drivers are found negligent even if the police let them go or didn’t cite distracted driving in the report.

How much time do I have to file a distracted driving accident claim?

In Pennsylvania, you generally have two years to file a personal injury claim. You should never wait two years. It is best to speak with our skilled Pittsburgh distracted driving lawyers as soon as possible. We need to investigate the accident to confirm the driver who struck your car was distracted. We want to ensure you are seeing the doctors and healthcare providers who can diagnose and treat your injuries.

Do you have a distracted driving lawyer near me?

Carmody and Ging is located at 801 Vinial Street in Pittsburgh, on the 3rd floor of the Deutschtown Center building. We’re right across the street from Penn Brewery. You can park close to our office. You can also take a bus to the stop on Troy Hill Road, around the corner from our office. If you’re too injured to travel, we can make other arrangements including speaking through a video conference or coming to see you in the hospital or rehab facility.

We understand how concerned and anxious you are. Rest assured that our lawyers will calmly answer all your questions and work, step-by-step, to hold the distracted driver accountable for your injuries or the death of a loved one.

Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers you know and trust

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There’s no excuse for distracted driving. Drivers must always be focused on traffic. If you were injured, Carmody and Ging is here to help. We’re a local firm with deep ties to our community, and we want to help you start your life again. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh distracted driving attorney, please call 412.281.2929 or fill out our contact form. Proudly serving the injured in Allegheny County.

Carmody and Ging - Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyers