Cell Phone Related Car Accidents

Cell Phone Related Car Accidents

teen using cellphone while drivingIf you or a loved one is hurt in a car accident that you suspect was caused by the cell phone use of another driver, you may be eligible to seek justice against the negligent party by filing a New York car accident lawsuit. In New York, cell phone related car accidents are some of the most alarming and dangerous results of distracted driving. Both U.S. and New York cell phone driving accident statistics tell an alarming story of driver irresponsibility and preventable collisions. For example, did you know that one-third of Americans – that’s 37% of all drivers on the road – report texting while driving? It’s no wonder that there are so many car accidents caused by cell phones.

Cell phone car accidents New York

New York has outlawed the use of hand-held mobile devices – cell phones, smart phones, tablets, etc. – while driving. Using a hand-held mobile device, except to call 911 or contact emergency (police, fire or medical) personnel, is subject to a traffic ticket, $100 fine, and mandatory surges of up to $85. As of late 2011, drivers will also receive three driver violation points for using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

Furthermore, New York State law disallows texting, gaming or similar actions while driving; any infraction may be fined up to $150 plus $85 in surcharges, and will also incur three driver violation points. In New York, using a hand-held mobile device to talk or text is a primary offense, which means that a police officer may stop you if s/he observes you using a cell phone. 

Cell phone accident statistics

Why such tough laws? It’s simple: using a cell phone while driving can cause serious harm or death to you, other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Here are a few statistics that show just how dangerous driving while talking or texting can be:

  • In 2010, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimated at least 28% of all traffic crashes – that’s more than 1.6 million crashes each year – involve drivers using cell phones and texting.
  • Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that at any given time, 11% of drivers are using a cell phone.
  • NHTSA data also estimates that texting while driving increases the risk of accident by 800%.
  • Both a 1997 New England Journal of Medicine examination of hospital records, and a 2005 study funded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that drivers who use a cell phone – including hands-free – are 400% more likely to be involved in a crash.
  • In a 2008 Nationwide Insurance public opinion poll, 81% of cell phone owners copped to talking on a cell phone while driving.
  • In 2003, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis estimates the annual cost of cell phone accidents at a staggering $43 billion.

What to do if you’re a victim of cell phone car accident

Cell phone car accidents in New York can cause many serious, sometime catastrophic injuries. Head-on collisions, side-swipes, rear-end collisions, pedestrian accidents and other types of auto accidents can cause everything from property damage to life-altering injuries and wrongful death. If you have been the victim of a cell phone car accident in New York, you need to know that you have rights. The legal system is on your side.

Proving cell phone usage during a car accident

The first thing to do, if you are able, is to see if there are witnesses to the accident. A witness may be able to provide a statement proving that the other driver was using a cell phone when the accident occurred. If there are no eyewitnesses, the police or your NY car accident lawyer may also be able to check traffic cams. Especially in populated areas, traffic cameras are often installed near stoplights and in other strategic locations. A camera may have recorded the other driver using his or her cell phone when the accident happened.

You may be entitled to damages

A distracted driver is liable, or legally responsible, for your property damage and personal injuries, including any injuries to your passengers. The driver’s insurance policy will likely pay for all medical costs, property replacement, and other damages associated with your accident.

You may also be eligible for punitive damages to account for loss of future wages, wrongful death, and other long-term consequences of your injuries. In New York alone, recent cell phone related car accident lawsuits include a $5 million award to a plaintiff who suffered activation of pre-existing symptoms after a car accident; a plaintiff who received $4.25 million for back injury resulting from a rear-end collision; and $4 million to an accident victim suffering herniated disks.

Talk to a New York car accident attorney

The adrenaline might be pumping and you might be in pain, but remember: Victims of cell phone car accidents in New York have options. You have legal rights. If another driver’s cell phone conversation or texting has caused you or a loved one personal injury or property damage, you may be eligible for compensation. Make a police report. And contact a New York personal injury lawyer at The Sanders Firm for a free evaluation of your case. If a loved one has died tragically as a result of a crash, our wrongful death attorneys can advise you as to how best to seek justice through available legal avenues.

You have the questions. We have the answers. Our offices are conveniently located in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and Staten Island. Call today, toll-free at 1.800 FAIR PLAY (800.324.7752) to schedule your complimentary case evaluation, and let our decades of experience work for you.


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Founded in 1967, The Sanders Law Firm has flourished into one of New York’s most successful personal injury practices, with an accomplished team of attorneys, paralegals, health care consultants, and support staff. Our trial attorneys take new cases on a contingency basis, which means there is no cost to the client unless we secure monetary damages on your behalf.

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The Sanders Law Firm is a New York personal injury practice with offices in Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.