May 03 2019

Understanding Common Forms of Distracted Driving

There are several potential causes to vehicle accidents on the road, and one of the most common and dangerous is distracted driving. Distracted driving is a broad category that can refer to several specific types of distraction, from visual ones to manual or even cognitive issues.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we’re here to tell you that regardless of which type of distraction was the cause, you could be owed damages if you were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver. Here are some basics on defining this term, how an auto accident injury attorney can help, plus an investigation into a few specific examples of distracted driving – including a couple that some people mistakenly think don’t put them at risk for liability if they cause an accident.

common forms distracted driving

Defining Distracted Driving

Simply put, the law defines distracted driving as any behavior or activity that turns the driver’s attention away from the task of driving. Many of the basics here come back to simple science: Even a single second spent looking away from the road in front of you will cause you to be unaware for a huge amount of ground covered, particularly if your vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed.
For this reason, anything that causes this sort of diversion of attention could be considered a distraction. While we’re about to lay out a few specific examples of the most common forms of distracted driving, know that a far greater number of potential actions or distractions could also fit the bill, and you should be aware of them at all times when operating a vehicle.

Cell Phones and Texting

In today’s modern day, texting on cell phones is considered the single most dangerous type of distracted driving facing US drivers. It is responsible for literally thousands of deaths on the road every year, plus untold additional thousands of injuries. This is extremely straightforward: Not only does texting require a driver to move their eyes from the road to a phone, it takes at least one hand off the wheel and uses it for another purpose.
In addition, several other phone behaviors outside texting may cause distraction. Talking on the phone can apply if you aren’t using fully hands-free devices, and even voice commands may distract the brain. Those looking to fully avoid distractions will not use their phones at all while driving.

Daydreaming or Preoccupation

This is a bit more of a nebulous category, but distraction can also be easily caused by our own mental picture. Daydreaming or distraction are particularly common for tired drivers, part of the reason you often see reminders to pull over and rest if you feel tired while driving.


It’s often used as the butt of jokes due to it’s silly-sounding name, but rubbernecking – or slowing down and losing focus on driving so as to view accidents or other things happening on the side of the road – is extremely dangerous. It’s the cause of numerous additional accidents, in fact, and is a form of distracted driving that is not viewed favorably by courts.

For more on the common types of distracted driving, or to learn about any of our car accident or personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Apr 12 2019

Important Photo Documentation After Car Accidents

If you’ve just been involved in a vehicle accident, particularly one where another party could be at fault, one of the most important things to consider in the immediate aftermath is documentation. While ensuring you and anyone with you is safe is the top priority, the very next set of steps you should take includes assessing the damage and beginning to document it for vital future use.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, a personal injury attorney can help you understand the kinds of documentation that are important for any car accident situation. In today’s modern age, with smartphones in most pockets, pictures are some of the most detailed and valuable pieces of evidence you can collect – but what exactly should you be taking pictures of? Here are some details on the major areas to make sure you snap good pictures of.

photo documentation car accidents

Full Scene

For starters, you should try to capture as much of the overall crash scene as you’re able to. The goal here is to include as much detail as possible, so look for both wide-angle shots that cover most or all of the scene plus more specific photos of individual areas.

These photos shouldn’t just be on the damaged areas of the vehicle, either. They should also include any pertinent road signs or stoplights, plus any skid marks, broken glass or other results from the crash that may have ended up on the road. These kinds of materials can often help investigators understand the pattern that led to the accident when determining fault.

Any and All Injuries

Another vital area to document in detail, even if it’s a little gross, is any injuries you sustain during the accident. These can be as minor as scrapes or cuts or much more significant – as we noted in the introduction to this blog, serious injuries should be attended to as the first priority.

While it’s only partially related, know that injury documentation involves elements well beyond just photographs. Certain injuries cannot be seen immediately or at all, such as concussions or whiplash, and medical records will be another vital part of this documentation.

Vehicle Damage

It’s also important to take specific, detailed pictures of the vehicles involved in the crash and the damage they incurred. This includes not only your vehicle, but also any others involved, no matter how minor their involvement may have been. Try to get photos from multiple angles if possible, while of course remaining at a safe distance from any hazards like fire or broken glass.

For more on the kinds of pictures you should be taking to document a vehicle accident scene if you’re involved, or to learn about any of our car accident attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Feb 04 2019

Determining Liability for Multi-Car Accidents, Part 1

In most car accident situations, the legal ramifications in terms of fault and damages are fairly simple. One of the two drivers is usually at fault, and may bear liability to the other in terms of physical or emotional damages.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are here to help with these kinds of basic car accidents, but also with a more complex type: The multi-car accident. Liability may not be so simple in these cases, and determining responsibility may take a bit more work. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over some of the basics to consider if you’ve been involved in a multi-car accident.

liability multi-car accidents

More Than One At Fault

For starters, it’s important to note that there’s no set method for listing fault in these kinds of accidents. In some cases a single driver will have 100 percent of the fault placed on him or her, while in others multiple drivers may have some responsibility.

As an example, let’s say a driver rear-ends another, pushing the front car into yet another vehicle that’s in front of it. In this case, the driver of the first vehicle to make contact will be responsible for damages to both other vehicles, as they caused the damage. In other situations, though, multiple drivers can contribute to an accident taking place – think of a driver who goes through a red light at far too high a speed, but is then hit by someone who ran the opposing red light at the same intersection in an accident that also impacts a third vehicle. In this case, both the speeder and the driver who ran the red light could be at some degree of fault.

Insurance Considerations

When a multi-car accident takes place in Utah, the first consideration for all drivers involved, even those who may not have been at fault, is their insurance. Utah is a no-fault auto insurance state, meaning that you’ll first use your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance to pay for basic medical expenses or lost work time. Once this policy limit has been reached, which usually happens fairly quickly, drivers are able to use fault and liability to request damages from others involved in the accident.

Other Factors

Some other areas that may play a role in liability for multi-car accidents:

  • Driver sobriety: If an at-fault driver was drinking before the accident, it’s possible the local bar or restaurant that served them could be partially liable. This is particularly true if the establishment knew they were leaving behind the wheel of a car.
  • Type of vehicle: If a vehicle involved in the accident was commercial or the driver was on the clock for work purposes while driving, the company that employs the driver may have some liability as well.
  • Geographic features: In some cases, poor visibility or other driving conditions may have helped cause the accident. In this case, the city itself may bear some liability.

For more on determining liability in multi-car accidents, or to learn about any of our auto accident attorney services, speak to the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Nov 12 2018

What To Do If You’re Hit by a Car

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, some of the most potentially dangerous personal injury cases we help clients with are those where a pedestrian is struck by a car.

Pedestrian accidents aren’t as common as car accidents, but they can be extremely dangerous and may leave victims deserving of significant compensation for their injuries and hardship – or may leave their estates in a similar position if the victim is killed.

Hit by a Car

If you’re involved in a pedestrian accident where you are injured but remain conscious and mentally aware, it’s vital that you follow a few important steps – both for your safety and to help your personal injury case if there is one. Here are some tips we can offer if you’re in this unfortunate situation.

Remain Calm

It’s totally understandable that after such an incident, your adrenaline will be flowing and you might be overwhelmed or emotional. Know that especially directly after the accident, the influx of adrenaline might make you feel like you’re fine even if you’ve been injured – take great care when moving around and do a visual assessment before trying to get up.
In addition, do your very best not to let your emotions get the best of you. Lashing out at the driver who hit you or anyone else will not help you at all, and in fact might detract from your case later on. Try your hardest to focus on the important details of the event and move forward in a responsible way until authorities arrive.

Move Away From Danger

As soon as you’re mentally and physically able, move yourself off the road and out of any danger. If you require it, ask for help from onlookers or whoever else is present.
Call the Police and Medical Staff
The moment you’re safely out of danger, call 911 and ensure police and medical staff are responding. It’s possible witnesses have already done this as well. Under no circumstances should you ever leave the scene of this accident before police arrive and get your statement, and this applies to the driver of the vehicle as well. You also should not attempt to treat any injuries yourself – rather wait for medical staff to arrive on the scene.

Personal Info

The driver involved in the accident should know this already, but if they don’t, firmly request that they stay at the scene until police arrive. Also request their personal information, including basic driver info, their insurance, and more. Never try to make them feel better by downplaying the incident or claiming you’re “fine” – it’s nice to be polite, sure, but these kinds of admissions might hurt your case moving forward.


If there are any witnesses on the scene, ask them to remain as well until police arrive and can get their statements. Witnesses who can corroborate your version of events may make or break your ability to receive damages from the offending driver.

For more on what to do if you’re hurt by a vehicle as a pedestrian, or for information on any of our personal injury or car accident attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Oct 01 2018

Different Types of Distracted Driving

As cell phones and other in-car devices have become more common, so has the rate of distracted driving and accidents resulting from them. But while these devices understandably get a lot of the blame for these increases, there are actually several kinds of distracted drivers out there who are endangering others as they drive.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we can provide comprehensive attorney services if you’ve been injured in an auto accident featuring a potentially distracted driver. Let’s go over the different types of distraction that can cause distracted driving so you’re aware of all the possibilities here if you’re in an accident.

different types distracted driving

Visual Distractions

As the name suggests, visual distractions are those that take your eyes away from the road and onto something else, even for a brief period. It’s curious and a bit ironic that perhaps the single most common type of visual distraction is in fact a car accident on the side of the road – and yet, this kind of rubbernecking is exactly what often causes these accidents to begin with.

It’s vital for drivers to remember at all times that the most important thing to focus on is the road. An outside distraction may seem important in the moment, but it’s definitely not more important than your life or safety.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions are a broad category that refer to any action that takes one or both hand away from the steering wheel or other driving mechanisms. Many visual distractions are actually manual distractions also – think of things like checking your cell phone or changing the song on your iPod. Not only do these actions require looking away from the road, they require the use of at least one of your hands.

There are others that aren’t necessarily visual, but they’re similarly dangerous. Eating, drinking, fixing makeup or hair, or reaching into the back seat for a variety of reasons are all good examples. Even if these don’t necessarily cause you to take your eyes off the road, they can still serve as distractions. And if you cause an accident while distracted in this way, you could easily be liable for damages caused.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions are a bit more of a vague category, referring not to any specific event but rather to any loss of focus while behind the wheel. The most common example of cognitive distraction is actually dozing off or falling asleep, and some people have issues with daydreaming or staring into space. These areas can be tougher to prove during personal injury cases based on the trouble with ascertaining what a driver was focused on at the time of an accident, but they’re still dangerous and often result in serious incidents.

For more on the kinds of distracted driving, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Jul 12 2018

Important Hit-and-Run Responses | Rawlings Law

Perhaps the worst kind of auto accident to be in is a hit-and-run, which describes an incident where a driver hits another car, then flees the scene before authorities can arrive to collect information. State law in every part of our country requires drivers to stop after being part of an accident that involves another vehicle, and there can be serious consequences for those who do not comply here.

Unfortunately, though, those consequences might also spill over to you if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run. At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, however, we’re here to help. Our personal injury attorney services include helping you navigate through a hit-and-run and receive the compensation you deserve despite the complications. Here are some basic steps to follow if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run.

First Priority: Safety

Before you consider any financial element at all, make sure you and everyone else in the vehicle is safe an unharmed. If possible, move your car to safe place away from oncoming traffic, and be sure to call 911 to request that police respond to the scene.

Seeking Medical Attention

If anyone in the vehicle is hurt, even in a very minor way, medical attention should be sought from first responders. Some injuries may seem minor only to become more significant later on, particularly whiplash or other back injuries, so report any symptoms immediately even if they don’t seem like a big deal.

If anyone in the vehicle does receive medical attention, document this. Write down the kind of attention received, any medications given, and take the information of the responder who gave the assessment.

Cooperation With Responders

We know this is a stressful time, but you have to comply with all first responders and law enforcement officials. Take any medical care they recommend, and comply with their requests. Only speak to these officials about sensitive details of the scene – no one else.


Write down everything you can here, including any details you remember from the vehicle that fled the scene or the person driving it. Include dates, times, and as much descriptive detail as you can. Even if you don’t think this is important or assume you’ll remember it later, get it down on paper now.

For more on how to handle a hit-and-run situation, or for any of our personal injury lawyer services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC today.

Jul 01 2018

Car Accident Mistakes to Look Out For

If you’re in a car or motorcycle accident, you could be entitled to compensation for injuries and other damages depending on the fault of the accident. If you think you might be entitled to such compensation, how you react in the hours, days and weeks after the accident can play a big role in whether you receive what you’re owed.

At the offices of William Rawlings& Associates, LLC, we can help. With an experienced car accident injury attorney at your side, you can navigate all the areas of this process. Here are some common mistakes we see people make after an accident, plus how to avoid these.

Immediately Following the Accident

The period directly following the accident are some of the most important for your case, and if you’re physically and mentally capable, you need to be as alert as possible. For starters, never leave the scene too quickly – you need time to get all the proper documentation, pictures, witness statements and police documents. On top of this, even if you weren’t at fault in the accident, it’s possible to be charged with a hit-and-run if you leave too quickly.

Another important area here: Seeking immediate medical attention, no matter how major or minor your injuries might be. Some car accident injuries don’t show symptoms for a while, and seeing a doctor also provides documentation.

Proper Documentation

Down these lines, it’s important to keep track of everything you can in written form. Police reports, medical invoices, lost wage records, drug receipts and any communication with insurance companies should be kept, as should pictures of the scene. If you deal with significant pain in the days and weeks following the accident, document this as well.

Taking the First Offer

Oftentimes, you’ll be presented an initial offer from the defendant or their insurance company where they press you to simply get things over with and accept immediately. Except in rare cases, you shouldn’t accept this – first offers are usually far too low, designed to get you to go away. Our attorneys can usually get you far more.

Not Using a Personal Injury Attorney

Maybe the biggest mistake of all? Not hiring a personal injury attorney to attend to your case. Our lawyers have years of experience and have seen every possible trick insurance companies might try to throw at you – we can get you your just compensation no matter what.

For more on the common mistakes in a car accident situation, or to learn about any of our personal injury services, speak to the attorneys at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC today.

May 30 2017
Mar 12 2017

Auto Accidents: Determining who is at fault?

Several colorful arrow street signs with words Not Me - His, Her and Their Fault, symbolizing the twisting of the truth and shifting of blame


Auto Accidents: Determining who is at fault?

In the case with nearly all personal injury claims, one question comes to the mind of every person involved in an injury accident:   Who is at fault? The answer can make all the difference in whether compensation is made available. In Utah and elsewhere, the guilty party usually pays for damages, so naturally this question is of the utmost importance.

Depending on the case, any number of factors may determine fault. Whether it’s for wrongful death or any other type of claim, it’s always going to depend on the situation. The injured party—represented by an experienced personal injury attorney—should expect its retained lawyer to investigate all the facts, visit the scene of the accident, talk to witnesses, gather medical records etc.

Mar 05 2017


pic seasons

Statistically, whether you consult the Utah Department of Public Safety or any one of America’s many insurance companies, you’ll always hear that summer is the most dangerous time to drive. Specifically the months of June, July and August have the highest mortality rate due to auto accidents. While this may seem contradictory to what most people would think, there are many valid reasons that explain this phenomenon.