Minnesota is one of 47 states with laws against sending or reading text messages while driving a motor vehicle. Although hands-free use of a cell phone while driving is legal in Minnesota, distracted driving is a major problem and can cause auto accidents resulting in life-changing injuries and even death.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident caused by a distracted driver, it can be hard to know where to begin. Understanding your rights can be complicated and overwhelming. The personal injury attorneys at Halunen Law will be there to help you each step of the way.
We offer a distinctly personalized approach. We will listen to your concerns and learn how you have been impacted. We are dedicated to getting you the justice you deserve and recovering the maximum possible compensation for you and your family. We take pride in fighting for what is right.
Understanding Distracted Driving in Minnesota
A recent study found that 62-percent of drivers keep their phones within reach while driving, 61-percent send, receive, or reply to text messages while behind the wheel, and 27-percent of drivers will even post on Facebook or other social media when they should have their attention focused on the road.
In recent years, distracted driving has resulted in nearly 4,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of severe injuries across the United States. Be aware that distracted driving encompasses much more than just texting and driving. All of the following fall within the definition of distracted driving:
- Eating and drinking
- Applying makeup or adjusting hair
- Adjusting the GPS navigation system or reading a map
- Laughing and talking with other passengers
- Watching a video when driving
- Changing the radio station or heat/AC settings
Distractions can also be categorized by the type of activity involved:
- Visual – when the driver takes their eyes off the road. Visual distraction includes turning around to check on kids or pets in the backseat, turning attention to talk with passengers, or looking at cell phones and other devices.
- Manual – when the driver takes their hands off the wheel to adjust GPS settings, change the heat or air conditioning, change radio stations, apply make-up, or eat or drink.
- Cognitive – when the driver begins daydreaming about their next vacation, thinking about a presentation at work, an event later that day, or even participating in a conversation that distracts them.
A driver who is distracted by engaging in any of these activities can cause an accident resulting in serious injury to passengers in another car or even pedestrians or bicyclists.
Hands-Free Law in Minnesota
In a continued effort to make our roads safer, a Hands-Free Law was enacted to protect Minnesotans from distracted driving accidents and injuries. The hands-free bill signed by Gov. Tim Walz on April 12, 2019, went into effect on August 1, 2019.
The law allows drivers to use their cell phones to make calls, text, listen to music, and get directions, but only without holding the phone. Under this law, drivers must use voice commands or single-touch activation. Learn more: Hands-Free Law FAQ.
What you should do if you’re injured by a distracted driver in Minnesota
If you are involved in an accident and you believe the at-fault driver was distracted:
- First and foremost, get the medical care that you need. The health and safety of you or your loved ones are your top priority.
- File a police report.
- Gather contact information from witnesses at the scene of the accident.
- Contact a personal injury attorney.
If you are injured in an accident, it’s important to consider all avenues available for financial compensation. Because Minnesota is a no-fault auto insurance state, you may be required to seek compensation from your insurance provider first (Personal Injury Protection – PIP). PIP can cover medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and other costs. However, this type of coverage will not compensate for pain, suffering, or emotional distress.
It is important to consider additional compensation may be available through the property and personal injury damages. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can guide you through the process to ensure you receive the results you deserve. We are driven by your story and will fight to get the justice you deserve.
We are here to be your voice – contact Halunen Law today
Brian Stofferahn co-authored “Accidents Involving Motorcycles, Buses, Rental Cars and Other Specialized Vehicles,” which is in the recently revised Minnesota Motor Vehicle Accident Deskbook. Brian’s deep expertise and personable approach set him apart in the field of personal injury law.
Chris Moreland brings more than 20 years of experience representing those who have suffered railroad and other catastrophic injuries. His national practice includes substantial verdicts for his clients in state and federal courts across the country.
The experienced attorneys of Halunen Law take pride in fighting for their clients each step of the way. And we will steer you in the right direction for vehicle repairs, medical treatment, and insurance benefits.
Halunen Law Attorneys work on a contingency basis which means there are no up-front costs to you. Our attorneys are only paid when we succeed in getting money damages for you or your loved one.
We’ll help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today.