Many states (including Arizona) have banned drivers from using handheld devices while behind the wheel. While this ban stretches across most of America, all states permit the use of hands-free devices. Although hands-free devices are a smart way to subvert the ban on handheld devices, personal injury lawsuits prove that just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.
Legal Activities & Personal Injury Negligence
When someone is injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, he or she has the right to pursue financial recovery through a car accident personal injury lawsuit. Many people believe negligence in a traffic accident only results from illegal activities; however, this is just not the case.
Legal activities that can affect car accident negligence in a personal injury case include:
- Driving while eating;
- driving while drowsy;
- driving while applying makeup;
- driving while distracted; and
- driving while using a hands-free device.
These perfectly legal activites can heavily impact a personal injury lawsuit in Arizona. Legal activities affect car accident negligence in Arizona because Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state.
Pure Comparative Negligence & Hands-Free Devices
In other states, personal injury lawsuits and insurance claims are determined by majority fault. If someone is at fault for more than 50% of an accident, he or she will recover nothing from the accident as the court determined he or she are responsible for the accident’s occurrence.
However, Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state.
Pure comparative negligence means the court can find each party accountable for a portion of the accident. Therefore, the court can find one person at fault for 10% of the accident, while finding the other person at fault for 90% of the accident. The court determines fault percentages based on a variety of factors: one of these factors is the use of a hands-free device.
Studies show that talking on hands-free devices are just as detrimental to someone’s focus as talking on a regular cell phone. In fact, drivers who are talking on a hands-free device will miss seeing up to 50% of what’s around them when driving.
Therefore, courts are likely to find someone using a hands-free device guilty of distracted driving, which, thanks to pure comparative negligence, can result in the court holding the person accountable for a higher percentage of the accident. This scenario is why hands-free devices can and will impact negligence in Arizona personal injury cases.
We hope this blog helped you learn a lot about negligence, and made you realize that just because something is legal (like using a hands-free device), it doesn’t mean it won’t impact a personal injury case.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by a hands-free device, give Suzuki Law Offices a call at (602) 842-6762 for a free consultation.