Countless drivers in Goldsboro and throughout North Carolina have a problem: They “multitask” when they get behind the wheel of a car.
They try to talk or text with a cell phone while driving. They try reading a map or checking a GPS device. They try to eat or drink. They even try to put on makeup.
All of these activities distract them from what they should really be doing: Focusing on the road and safely navigating their vehicle through traffic.
For this reason, it is important to investigate whether another motorist’s distracted driving was a factor in a crash that injured you or someone you love.
If so, the distracted driving may serve as the basis for pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death claim which can seek full and fair compensation for the physical, emotional and financial harm you have suffered.
The experienced and highly dedicated car accident lawyers of Strickland Agner Pittman know how to discover the role of distracted driving in a crash. We can help if you or a loved one has been harmed in a distracted driving accident through no fault of your own.
Contact us today for a free consultation – with no strings attached. Our goal is to learn more about your case and discuss how we can help you to seek justice.
What Is Distracted Driving?
You should know that “distracted driving” goes well beyond talking on a cell phone or texting while driving – even though these are clearly dangerous actions.
According to the federal government’s official anti-distracted driving website, Distraction.gov, distracted driving can include any number of activities. What these activities have in common: They all involve some form or combination of manual, visual or cognitive distraction.
These activities include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Texting, e-mailing or Web surfing with a cell phone
- Reading a GPS device
- Turning the radio
- Eating, drinking or smoking
- Grooming or putting on makeup
- Tending to pets
- Interacting with passengers.
Unfortunately, drivers in Goldsboro and elsewhere in North Carolina often engage in these activities while driving. As a result, their attention is diverted. They put themselves, their passengers and others on the road at risk.
Why Does Driver Distraction Matter in Your Case?
If you have been involved in a car accident that another person caused, you can seek compensation for your losses.
However, to obtain a financial recovery, you must establish that the other driver was negligent. This means that you must prove that the person failed to act as a reasonable, prudent driver would have acted under similar circumstances.
This is why proving distracted driving may be highly important in your case.
Allowing distractions to get in the way of safe driving simply is not reasonable, prudent behavior – especially given everything we know today about the dangers of distracted driving. As a result, it is a form of negligence that may serve as grounds for holding another driver legally responsible, or liable, for your damages.
For instance, a driver’s distraction may explain why he or she ran a red light or stop sign, drifted across lanes or slammed into the rear of your vehicle, causing you and your passengers to sustain injuries.
Additionally, one particular form of distracted driving – texting while driving – can be considered negligence per se in North Carolina. In other words, a driver’s negligence can be established as a matter of law by the fact that he or she was texting in violation of a state ban on this activity.
You should also know that North Carolina law prohibits school bus drivers and drivers under the age of 18 with a provisional license from using cell phones to do anything, including talking or texting.
How Can You Prove Distracted Driving?
As you can see, the ability to prove another driver’s distraction can be crucial when it comes to seeking just compensation for your losses after a crash.
As such, it is important to work with a law firm that has experience with North Carolina auto accident claims and knows how to investigate a case for distracted driving.
The legal team at Strickland Agner Pittman can compile and examine evidence in your case such as:
- Cell phone records that indicate when a driver was talking on a phone or sending or reading text messages
- Social media activity that may have taken place right before the time of impact
- Accident scene evidence that can show, for instance, a lack of tire or skid marks (indicating a driver may have never seen you before impact due to his or her distraction)
- Evidence from the vehicle interior such as cell phones, maps, computers and other items that could have been potential distractions
- Statements by eyewitness who may have seen the driver on a phone or turned around and talking to passengers when the crash occurred
- Data from the event data recorder, or “black box,” showing last-second braking (or no braking) and changes in speed
- Security camera or red light camera footage that shows what the driver was doing in the moments just before the collision.
This evidence can be used to present a case for a full, fair and timely settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or it can be used to argue your case before a jury in court.
What Can You Recover in a Distracted Driving Accident Lawsuit?
If you pursue a distracted driving accident lawsuit in North Carolina, you can seek a recovery for damages that include:
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income and diminished future earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Any other related expenses.
In most cases, you would seek to recover through the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage. You could also turn to your own insurance coverage such as an uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy.
However, it also will be important to explore the potential liability of the at-fault driver’s employer. As our law firm has found, drivers often are conducting work-related business by phone at the time of distracted driving crashes.
An employer can be held liable for the negligent acts of its employees if they are committed while the employee is “on the clock.”
Our Goldsboro Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers Can Help You
You need to move quickly in order to preserve evidence after a car accident, including evidence that may reveal distracted driving. For this reason, you should contact the Goldsboro car accident attorneys of Strickland Agner Pittman as soon as you are ready to act.
We serve clients in Goldsboro and throughout North Carolina. We are ready to get to work on your case today. Call or reach us online to get started.
Sources / More Information
- Unlawful use of mobile telephone for text messaging or electronic mail, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-137.4A
- Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving, Distraction.gov
- Traffic Safety Facts: Distracted Driving 2013, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration