A Distracted Driver Might Face Both Criminal Penalties and Civil Litigation

Distracted driving is a very common crime that motorists commit. A driver might be on the phone, talking to a friend, reaching for a drink in the drink holder, or operating the infotainment system. Regardless of how little time the driver spends operating the infotainment system, there is a risk that they will cause a serious accident.

Distracted Driving Might Lead to Criminal Charges

Because distracted driving is so dangerous, distracted driving can be considered to be a crime. For example, if a driver is caught holding a mobile device while driving, they may be fined depending on the law of the state in which they were pulled over.

However, if you are injured and the other driver was distracted while driving, the criminal penalties can be much more severe. This can include substantial jail time and fines.

What to Do After a Car Accident

After the accident, you will want to tell the officer responding to the scene of the accident that you believe they were distracted while driving. The officer will conduct an investigation and might choose to press charges. 

Civil Penalties for Distracted Driving

In addition to the penalties that the driver faces for being distracted while driving, you can also seek compensation for damages. The purpose of a car accident lawsuit is to provide the plaintiff with compensation for damages. However, there will be the added benefit of the driver being punished for their negligence. 

The Standard of Proof in a Civil Case

Even if the driver does not receive criminal charges, they may lose their civil case because the burden of proof for a civil case is lower than a criminal case. If your car accident case goes to trial, you might also be awarded punitive damages. 

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded by a judge when they want to send a message that certain actions are not to be tolerated. For example, a judge may award substantial punitive damages as a way to make the headlines and warn other distracted drivers not to make this mistake.

The Outcome of Your Case

The fact that the driver was distracted will always have an impact on your case. To prove that the other driver was at fault, you will need to prove that they were negligent. Driving while distracted is a form of negligence and can be used to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. Your case will be more likely to be successful if you work with an attorney familiar with civil litigation.