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Minnesota’s Laws on Distracted Driving and Personal Injury Claims

by Mar 8, 2024Car Accidents, Mike Miller, Personal Injury

In today’s fast-paced world, distractions abound, especially on the road. Distracted driving has become a significant concern, leading to countless accidents and injuries on Minnesota’s roadways. In this post, we’ll explore Minnesota’s laws on distracted driving, how they can impact personal injury claims, and what victims need to know to protect their rights. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this critical topic. 

Understanding Distracted Driving Laws in Minnesota 

Minnesota’s laws on distracted driving aim to prevent accidents and promote road safety by discouraging behaviors that divert drivers’ attention away from the road. Under Minnesota Statute § 169.475, it is illegal for drivers to engage in activities that impair their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, including: 

  • Texting while driving: Minnesota prohibits drivers from composing, reading, or sending text messages or emails while operating a motor vehicle, regardless of whether they are stopped at a traffic light or in traffic. 
  • Handheld device use: The state also prohibits drivers from using handheld cell phones or other electronic devices to make calls, except in emergencies or when using hands-free technology. 
  • Other distractions: Additionally, drivers are prohibited from engaging in other activities that distract them from the task of driving, such as eating, grooming, or interacting with passengers, if it impairs their ability to operate the vehicle safely. 

Violating Minnesota’s distracted driving laws can result in fines and penalties, as well as potential civil liability in the event of an accident. 

Impact on Personal Injury Claims 

Distracted driving can have devastating consequences, leading to serious accidents and injuries on Minnesota’s roads. When a distracted driver causes an accident, victims may suffer a range of injuries, including but not limited to: 

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): TBIs are common in car accidents and can have devastating consequences. Victims may experience cognitive impairments, memory loss, and difficulties with motor function, impacting their ability to perform daily activities and maintain employment. 
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Car accidents can also cause spinal cord injuries, resulting in partial or complete paralysis and loss of sensation below the injury site. These injuries can lead to lifelong disabilities, requiring extensive medical care and rehabilitation. 
  • Orthopedic Injuries: Fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue injuries are common in car accidents, often causing severe pain and limiting mobility. Victims may require surgeries, physical therapy, and ongoing medical treatment to recover fully. 
  • Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma in car accidents can cause internal injuries such as organ damage, internal bleeding, and abdominal injuries. These injuries may not be immediately apparent and can lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated. 
  • Psychological Trauma: Car accidents can also have profound psychological effects on victims, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Victims may struggle with flashbacks, nightmares, and difficulty coping with daily life. 

In addition to physical and psychological injuries, car accidents can also result in significant long-term effects and expenses for victims. Long-term medical care, rehabilitation, and therapy may be necessary to manage injuries and regain function. Victims may also face lost wages and diminished earning capacity if they are unable to return to work due to their injuries. Furthermore, the emotional toll of a car accident can strain relationships and impact the victim’s overall quality of life. 

Legal Representation 

Navigating the legal process and pursuing compensation for car accident injuries can be complex, particularly when distracted driving is involved. Insurance companies may attempt to downplay the severity of injuries or shift blame onto the victim to minimize payouts. This underscores the importance of seeking legal representation from an experienced car accident attorney who can advocate for the victim’s rights and pursue maximum compensation for their injuries, damages, and long-term expenses. With skilled legal assistance, car accident victims can hold distracted drivers accountable for their negligence and obtain the financial support they need to rebuild their lives after a devastating accident. 

Proving Negligence 

In personal injury claims arising from distracted driving accidents, establishing negligence is key to recovering compensation. To prove negligence, the victim must demonstrate that the driver owed them a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely, breached that duty by engaging in distracted driving, and that this breach directly caused the victim’s injuries and damages. This process requires thorough investigation, collection of evidence, and legal expertise to build a strong case and hold the at-fault driver accountable for their actions. 

Evidence Collection 

Gathering evidence is crucial in supporting a personal injury claim involving distracted driving. This may include eyewitness testimony, police reports, cell phone records, surveillance footage, and expert testimony to establish the distracted driver’s liability and the extent of the victim’s injuries. Building a comprehensive case with compelling evidence strengthens the victim’s position in negotiations with insurance companies and increases the likelihood of obtaining fair compensation for their injuries and damages. 

Comparative Negligence 

It’s important to note that Minnesota follows a comparative negligence system, which means that the victim’s recovery may be reduced if they are found partially at fault for the accident. However, even if the victim shares some degree of fault, they may still be entitled to compensation under Minnesota’s comparative negligence laws. Understanding how comparative negligence may affect a personal injury claim is crucial for victims seeking compensation, as it underscores the importance of having skilled legal representation to navigate the complexities of the legal process and protect their rights. 

Pursuing Your Personal Injury Claim 

Understanding Minnesota driving laws on distracted driving and their impact on personal injury claims is essential for protecting the rights of accident victims. In the event of a distracted driving accident, victims should seek legal assistance from a knowledgeable car accident attorney to navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation they deserve. With the right legal representation, victims can hold distracted drivers accountable for their negligence and obtain the justice and compensation they need to recover and move forward with their lives. 

At Sieben Edmunds Miller, our team of experienced car accident attorneys is here to help. We understand the challenges that victims of distracted driving accidents face and are dedicated to providing compassionate and comprehensive legal representation. Contact us today for a consultation and let us help you seek the justice and financial recovery you deserve. 

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