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September 13, 2023

Hit by Distracted Driver? Take Action!

by Evan Breaux | Auto Accidents | 0 comments
What to do if You Suspect You were Hit and Injured by a Distracted Driver in a Car Accident

In this article, we discuss:

  • what defines distracted driving,
  • distracted driver awareness,
  • why texting while driving is illegal,
  • steps to take if you are in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, and
  • how Breaux Law Firm can help you recover from being hit by a distracted driver.

What is Distracted Driving?

We are all very aware of how important it is to not drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Impaired driving is operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol or other impairing substances. And we all know how important it is for drivers to not take their eyes off the road. But are we all aware of the definition of distracted driving? According to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), distracted driving is any activity, inside or outside the vehicle, which distracts a driver who is behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Most of the time, distracted drivers were using a phone or texting. The Louisiana DOTD lists other distracting activities, such as: “eating or drinking, talking to passengers, operating the vehicle’s infotainment system, or any other activity that involves the driver not watching the road, letting go of the steering wheel, or not focusing on driving.”

The causes of distracted driving are vast. Our phones are quite an alluring device—and distracted driving may not mean simply texting while driving or making a phone call. From our smartphones, we access not only our text messages and phone calls, but also navigation apps like GoogleMaps, music apps like Spotify, social media apps, and even our to-do list, calendar, and photo galleries. The pull these phones have on us has contributed to an increase in accidents on our roads. As expert personal injury attorneys in New Orleans, we see these types of accidents all too often—and we know exactly how to best support our clients who believe they were hit and injured by a distracted driver. 

The Prevalence of Distracted Driving in Louisiana

The Louisiana DOTD reports that “risky driving behaviors, such as impaired and distracted driving, remain the cause of most highway fatalities. According to statewide crash data statistics from 2017 to 2020, 40 percent of all highway fatalities involved alcohol.” And that number is increasing: the 997 highway fatalities in Louisiana in 2021 was the highest number of highway fatalities that the state had ever seen, of 993 fatalities in 2007.

As we all become more glued to our phones, the consequences of doing so while driving are growing exponentially. Safer driving requires vigilance, careful attention, laws, and repercussions for breaking those laws.

Texting While Driving is Illegal

In the state of Louisiana, texting while driving is illegal. It is a primary offense, which means if someone is texting while driving and a police officer sees them doing so, they can be pulled over and ticketed.

What are the Laws on Distracted Driving in New Orleans?

Can you send a text message, respond to text messages, or have phone conversations while driving in Louisiana? The answer is complicated. In fact, using cell phones to make a call is not illegal in Louisiana, whether hand-held phone use or a hands-free option, like a Bluetooth earpiece, speaker phone, or a car’s dashboard system. Drivers who have a learner’s permit or are under the age of 18 are required to use a hands-free option for phone calls while driving.

But to text while driving is illegal in our state. According to Revised Statute 32:300.5, it is against the law to use any cell phone to engage in text-based communication, like texting or checking social media apps. According to this Statute: “No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication. No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to access, read, or post to a social networking site.” 

The only exception to this law is that you can “read, select, or enter a telephone number or name in your cell phone for the purpose of making a telephone call”—doing so is not considered breaking the law. In addition, using a cell phone for any text-based activity is illegal for all drivers in a school zone during school hours; a hands-free device may legally be used by adult drivers in a school zone, for phone calls only.

However, it’s important to note that even though talking on the phone while driving is not illegal for adult drivers, it can still lead to distracted driving. If a person was having a heated phone conversation and that led to them causing a car accident where you were injured, an experienced personal injury attorney, like the team at Breaux Law Firm, will investigate whether the at-fault driver was on their phone at the time, explore their driving environment at the time of the crash, and dig into the details of their irresponsible distracted driving.

Can Cellphone Records Help in Distracted Driving Cases?

Yes. Cell phone records play a crucial role in car accidents caused by a distracted driver, as they provide essential insight into a driver’s activities leading up to an accident. By analyzing call logs, text messages, and app usage data, law enforcement and legal professionals, like a distracted driving attorney, can establish whether a driver was using their electronic device while driving at the time of the incident. Cellphone records can reveal whether the driver was talking or texting, or even using social media, all of which may have contributed to dangerous distracted driving. The records provide a comprehensive account of the driver’s actions and can be a potent tool in courtrooms to demonstrate negligence and the violation of traffic laws.

The Challenges of Obtaining Cellphone Records—And How Breaux Law Firm Can Help

While cellphone use records are invaluable in distracted driving cases, obtaining them is not without challenges. The process can be time-consuming and requires cooperation from cellular service providers, which can be a complex task, as different providers have different phone data retention policies, privacy laws, and formats for presenting information. Obtaining phone usage records in order to pursue your claim and receive full compensation for your financial, physical, and emotional damages after an auto accident will require working with a reputable distracted driving accident lawyer, like Breaux Law Firm. 

Your attorney should know the ins and outs of obtaining and investigating phone records, dealing with the government entities in the city of New Orleans, and fighting against the insurance companies. For example, an insurance company may deny the legal responsibility or fault of the driver who caused the accident. However, having an accident attorney like the team at Breaux Law represent your claim ensures that you won’t be taken advantage of by the insurance companies.

Facts about Distracted Driving

Why is texting while driving so dangerous and illegal, and why are distracted driver crashes so common? To answer this question, we’ll look at the following facts that were gathered via research conducted by the NHTSA and the University of Utah

  1. In general, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds, which is long enough to drive the length of a football field at 55 mph, all without looking at the road!
  2. In 2019, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
  3. In 2019, roughly 400,000 people were injured and 2,841 people killed as a result of distracted driver crashes.
  4. Distracted driver car accidents don’t just occur when one car hits another car: 1 in 5 people killed by distracted drivers in 2018 was walking, riding bikes, or outside of vehicles.
  5. Distracted driving is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes. The fatality rate for teens involved in car accidents is 3 times greater than for drivers who are over 20 years old.
  6. Talking on cell phones while driving causes the same level of impairment as driving intoxicated with a blood-alcohol limit of 0.08% (the minimum level that defines illegal drunk driving in most states). 

What to do if You are in a Car Accident Caused by a Distracted Driver

If you are hit by a distracted driver in a car accident, be sure to take the following steps:

  1. First, call the police. Request an ambulance if you are injured. You will need both a police report and a medical report to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company or to pursue legal action. Even if you feel okay in the immediate aftermath of the accident, you should go to a hospital or doctor’s office to get checked out for injuries. Your adrenaline could be masking symptoms in the immediate minutes or hours after the crash.
  2. Second, gather information from the driver. You’ll need their name, insurance policy information, address, phone number and other contact information, driver’s license number, license plate number, and the make and model of their car. Consider taking photos of some of these items, like their driver’s license and license plate.
  3. Wait to move your vehicles from the road until after the police have arrived. The police officers need to see the cars in their original locations. Moving cars off the road can weaken your case.
  4. Take photos of the car accident before the vehicles are moved. You’ll want as many photos as you can gather: the outside of all automobiles involved, the surrounding context (street lights, businesses, security cameras), the inside of all cars involved, any injuries sustained. (Ask permission before photographing another person’s injuries.) You can also take a video of the accident site. If you are too injured to take photos, ask another passenger or a bystander to help you by photographing the scene. 
  5. Don’t talk about the accident, offer theories, apologize, or discuss liability with the other driver. 
  6. Make notes in your phone or on a notepad about how the other driver was acting or operating their vehicle and why you believe they were distracted. Were their eyes off the road? Did you see their phone in their hand? These details will help build your case.
  7. Contact your insurance company to report the accident. 
  8. Before you leave the scene of the car accident, gather information from the police officer about how you can retrieve your police report and when. This document is important for supporting your claim.
  9. Once you are recovering from any injuries sustained and are safely back at home, you’ll want to reach out to an experienced and highly recommended personal injury lawyer in your city. A lawyer who specializes in distracted driver law will represent you in all dealings with the other driver’s insurance company, or in a court of law, should you need to file a lawsuit. Avoid speaking on the phone with the other driver’s insurance representative. A personal injury lawyer will help guide you toward taking the right steps to ensure you are properly compensated for your property damage, personal injuries, wage loss, emotional suffering, and other damages.
  10. Keep careful track of all receipts and documentation pertaining to your physical injuries, emotional health, inability to work, and property damage. The more organized you are, the better your case will be. 

For parents of teen drivers and other citizens who are concerned about distracted driver awareness, you’ll find presentations, videos, lesson plans, facts, and state distracted driver laws at

How Breaux Law Firm Can Help You Recover from Being Hit by a Distracted Driver

Driving while distracted is a severe problem in the US, and can have huge repercussions, from injury to death. It is never fair for a driver to make such an unsafe decision while operating a vehicle. Everyone who drives recognizes why this is a dangerous and deadly action to take while driving. 

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver—whether they were texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, or otherwise not paying attention to the road—and you are looking for a personal injury attorney in New Orleans or Louisiana, reach out to us at Breaux Law Firm. You deserve to be fully and fairly compensated for the unsafe, risky actions of another driver who put you in harm’s way. 

At Breaux Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing personalized attention and care to each of our clients, and we fight for you as if we were fighting for one of our own family members. Our reputation speaks for itself. If you’ve been in an accident with a distracted driver, contact the personal injury team at Breaux Law Firm for a free consultation today.