The many roads that connect the United States are utilized by most Americans. And while these roads and traffic laws are designed for safety, accidents do happen. In the event of an incident on the road, one might wonder, “Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?” The answer depends on several factors such as the cause of the accident, the severity of the accident, and the number of people involved.
The Distractions Drivers Face Today
In 2013, more than 400,000 people were injured as a result of an accident involving one or more distracted drivers. Indeed, today there are more distractions than ever, and they can have severe consequences on the lives of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Possibly the most ubiquitous distraction facing drivers today is the smartphone. Not long ago people had to be at their desk to browse the web, send emails, and access social media accounts. Now, all of these virtual interactions are at our fingertips, and it can be tempting to refresh one’s Instagram or reply to a text on a long commute, even if it means taking one’s brain off the road for a few moments.
Statistics estimate that at any given moment during the day over 660,000 drivers are using some type of electronic device. Engaging in a task such as sending a text message, reaching for a phone, etc., known as visual-manual subtasks, increases the risk of accident threefold. In other words, one is three times more likely to get into an auto accident if distracted by an electronic device or any other object/task that diverts attention away from strictly driving.
Alcohol is the other main distraction that many drivers face. Alcohol consumption itself makes the task of driving (which is really several tasks done simultaneously) much more difficult, as it slows motor skill function, impairs judgement, and reduces muscle function overall. Even though the danger of drunk driving has become widely known, many Americans partake in operating a vehicle while impaired. In fact, every day people drive drunk approximately 300,000 times, yet only 4,000 of these cases result in arrest. And on average someone who has been arrested for drunk driving has already driven drunk up to 80 times prior to getting caught.
This is of course not to encourage this behavior, or to say it’s unlikely one will get caught if one partakes in this illegal activity. In fact, someone is injured in a drunk driving accident every two minutes. This unfortunate statistic reveals the damage done by an avoidable action.
Other Types of Accidents
But not all auto accidents are merely the result of distraction and poor judgement. Car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents can all occur due to technical malfunctions, environmental hazards, and confusion due to poor signage or lack of signage. Depending on the type and severity of the accident, as well as the number of people involved, one might need to seek legal counsel to help navigate the sometimes complex terrain of auto accident and personal injury law.
Do I Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
After the damage is done, it’s common for one to ask the question, “Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?” The answer isn’t necessarily always yes, as hiring an auto accident lawyer or personal injury attorney can become expensive and burdensome. However, in certain cases where one driver or entity is clearly at fault, or where someone is several injured or killed, a lawyer becomes necessary. This is because an accident can escalate to a more severe case depending on the outcome, intent, and other variables surrounding the accident.
Remember to be vigilant and stay safe on the road.