Distracted driving kills nine people every year in the United States, and some of them aren’t even in vehicles. They are on bicycles, skateboards, and pedestrians.
Anything that pulls the driver’s focus from driving is a distraction and increases crash risks. Sharing information and raising awareness can prevent distracted driving, but that takes time.
If a distracted driver harmed you, you can get the help you need now. Car accident lawyers represent your compensation claim through the legal red tape of the justice system and help you get a fair settlement and get back to your normal life. You don’t have to do this alone.
Distracted driving is a bigger problem now than it has ever been. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving accidents caused approximately 3,150 deaths in the U.S. in one recent year. Distracted driving injured thousands more people.
Types of Distracted Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention names three driving distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Drivers are typically distracted in more than one way.
Visual distractions happen when you take your eyes off the road to read a text, tune the radio, adjust the GPS, or rubberneck a roadside accident.
Your brain has limited attention capacity. Non-driving activities divert the attention you can allocate to potential road hazards.
Manual distractions occur when your hands aren’t on the wheel. Drivers remove their hands to apply makeup, eat, reach for items, or adjust the steering wheel or air conditioning. A pothole or low shoulder can throw you into a ditch or cause a rollover if both hands aren’t on the wheel.
Cognitive distractions happen when your mind isn’t 100 percent in the game. If you’re behind the wheel, but you’re thinking about your next stop, arguing with a passenger, or talking on the phone, your full attention leaves the road.
Teen and young adult drivers are the most distracted. Texting and emailing are their biggest distractions.
If a distracted driver hits you, seek compensation with help from a car accident lawyer. A fair settlement will help you get your life back to normal so you can focus on healing.
Are Distracted Driving Accidents Different From Other Auto Accidents?
Accidents caused by distracted driving differ from other accidents because attentive driving behavior could prevent them.
Texting while driving at 55 miles per hour is comparable to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded. Each text message diverts a person’s complete visual attention for four to six seconds.
In Georgia, drivers have a legal obligation to drive safely. This means avoiding distracted and inattentive driving and using cell phones while driving.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety says:
- Drivers cannot touch phones while driving. The law forbids texting, talking, or GPS programming while driving.
- Drivers must use voice-to-text. They cannot write or read messages even with hands-free technology.
Distracted Driving Regulations for CDL Holders
In Georgia, texting and driving laws apply to most drivers.
Commercial drivers can use speakerphones with a single-button operation, keeping the phone nearby and accessible while driving.
School bus drivers may only use cell phones while the bus is moving to communicate with school or public safety officials.
Distracted drivers break the law. Even if unintentional, their infractions put other’s lives at risk. You shouldn’t pay for medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering of an accident that wasn’t your fault.
Georgia’s distracted driving law affects all road users, particularly after accidents, where police use it to establish liability.
Filing a personal injury claim may help to regain your life. A lawyer with experience in distracted driving cases can protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
If you’re the victim of an accident caused by a distracted driver, the law can work in your favor. If the at-fault driver was distracted by their phone, children, or food, this can enhance your chances of a successful claim to recover damages from their insurance company.
Distracted Driving Accident Impacts
Understanding the impacts of distracted driving accidents and their causes helps determine who you can hold liable or responsible.
Head-on collisions are when two or more vehicles collide headfirst. It typically occurs when drivers cross a median or go the wrong way down a one-way street. Driving under the influence is often a factor.
Head-on crashes are one of the least common but most destructive and potentially fatal accidents. The fault is obvious because one driver broke traffic laws.
While rear-end collisions are most common, they’re usually less damaging because they happen at lower speeds. Insurance adjusters tend to blame the rear driver for not leaving enough stopping distance, but not always.
Determining liability is easiest in a rear-ender. Distracted driving and failing to maintain a safe distance between vehicles are major contributors.
Sideswiping and side-impacts
Sideswiping is when two vehicles brush against each other. Distracted drivers who lane drift or fail to check blind spots before changing lanes or merging are the typical culprits. Sideswipes are often minor accidents but can result in severe injuries.
Side-impact accidents usually happen when drivers disobey traffic laws, such as stopping at red lights and stop signs. Similar to a sideswipe, a side impact involves the front end of one vehicle hitting the side of another.
The most familiar type of side impact accident crashes are T-bones. T-bone crashes happen when one vehicle strikes another at a 90-degree angle near the door, where most cars have the least protection, which makes these accidents particularly dangerous. Many side impacts are at high speeds, resulting in death or significant injury.
While all vehicles can roll over, it’s easier for SUVs, pickups, and vans due to their weight, height, and wheelbase location. Rollovers happen in wet or icy conditions, during sharp turns, after side-impact collisions, or when vehicles veer off the road. A front-impact crash usually precedes fatal rollovers.
How to Get Compensation for Your Damages
Even when someone else is liable for the accident that caused your injury, you must prove the case to receive compensation for your damages.
The law in Atlanta requires the injured party to provide the court with proof that the injury resulted from distracted driving and that the distracted driver is responsible.
Accident victims must follow state guidelines to prove:
- The distracted driver had a lawful duty to drive safely.
- The distracted driver’s negligence caused damages.
Proof that the distracted driver breached their legal obligation to drive safely and that the injuries stem directly from this breach are required to win a claim against a distracted driver.
Lacking a firm understanding of the legal process, navigating the complex Atlanta court system may be challenging. The most direct path for accident victims is enlisting an experienced attorney well-versed in the intricacies of the Atlanta court system. Rely on your attorney to advocate for your rights and a just settlement, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
How to Prove a Distracted Driver is at Fault
Proving fault against a distracted driver in a car accident requires a lawyer. Here are some steps a car accident lawyer may take to establish fault:
Gather evidence at the scene
Your lawyer will get a copy of the police report. They’ll review any photos and videos you took. (Try to record the accident scene, the position of the vehicles, damage, and any visible signs of distraction—for example, a phone in the driver’s hand. Collect witness contact information and statements about what distractions they saw.)
Subpoena phone records
If you suspect the distracted driver was using a phone, your lawyer will obtain their phone records. It will show whether they made a call, texted, or used apps during the accident. A lawyer can use subpoenas to obtain the distracted driver’s phone records, surveillance footage, or other relevant documents.
Use expert witnesses
Your lawyer can rely on expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical experts, provide testimony to support your case and explain how distraction led to the accident.
Depose the distracted driver
Through a deposition, an attorney can question the distracted driver under oath, which can establish their distraction as a contributing factor.
Leverage relevant laws and regulations
This is another area where you need a lawyer on your side. Nobody can learn the complexities of the legal system in a few weeks. A knowledgeable attorney can start building your case from day one.
Build a strong argument
Help your attorney craft a compelling narrative showing the distracted driver’s actions and their impact on the accident and your injuries.
Remember that proving fault in a distracted driving case requires legal expertise. Consult an experienced attorney to steer the legal process and build a strong case against the distracted driver.
Do You Need an Attorney When You’re Not at Fault?
After any car accident, consult a personal injury lawyer, especially if you’re injured or face disputes. An attorney helps with insurance issues and secures fair compensation. For complex cases, you need legal expertise to protect your rights.
Hiring a lawyer brings peace of mind, clarifies your rights, and maximizes compensation. You need a lawyer’s guidance when your claim faces challenges, especially from insurers.
Insurance companies hate big payouts and will go to great lengths to talk you into accepting a low offer. At the Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group, we know how to beat all the insurance company tricks and get you the most compensation available for your case.
Let’s discuss your legal options. Give our office a call at (833) 285-9467. You don’t have to do this alone. We’re here to help you get justice.