People multitask every day without giving it a second thought. They reply to an email while talking to a co-worker, or talk to the kids while cooking dinner, and sometimes they’ll try to glance at a text while driving. Unfortunately, multitasking while driving can kill. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in 2018 alone, distracted driving accidents cost 2,841 people their lives. It is, by far, becoming one of the most dangerous and risky behaviors on our roads today.
Distracted driving is reckless behavior – a few seconds of distraction can lead to an accident with devastating consequences. If you’ve been the victim of a distracted driver, not only has your health been jeopardized, but your financial stability may be put at risk as well. Serious and life-threatening injuries mean countless medical bills you may not be prepared for and lifestyle changes that you could never have anticipated.
The Carrollton car accident lawyers of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. know what it takes to hold distracted drivers accountable and make sure you get the compensation you need to make you whole again. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you have the right to speak with an attorney about your situation. Before you settle with an insurance company, talk to Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. about the circumstances of your accident. We even offer a free case evaluation. Contact our office today at (770) 205-8827 to get started on your path to justice.
What Is Considered Distracted Driving?
The term “distracted driving” is most often associated with driving while operating a phone or mobile device. However, distracted driving is a broad term that may refer to any type of behavior where a driver’s eyes and attention are taken off the road and the operation of a vehicle and put onto another task. Distracted driving can include anything from talking or texting on the phone to eating, drinking, grooming, entering information into a navigation system, or playing loud music or changing the radio station. Safe driving means that a driver’s attention is on the operation of the vehicle, not on surrounding distractions.
How detrimental is being distracted for just a few seconds? Consider this example from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: If you take your eyes off the road for only five seconds to read a text message, at 55 mph, it is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. According to 2019 statistics, distracted driving caused 3,142 fatalities. These are sobering reminders that in a short amount of time people’s lives may forever be changed.
Types of Distracted Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least nine people are killed in the U.S. every day by a distracted driver. While there are numerous distractions that may take a driver’s full attention away from the road, the CDC breaks down the types of distractions into three main categories. They are:
Visual distractions: Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes off the road, forcing them to pay attention to something other than the direction that they are traveling in. Examples of visual distractions include:
- Reading an email or text
- Looking at a passenger in the car
- Checking one’s appearance in the mirror
- Reading the newspaper
- Looking at a GPS
Manual distractions: Manual distractions include any type of activity that takes a driver’s hands away from the wheel of the vehicle. If a driver’s hands are not on the wheel, they are not in complete control of the vehicle and cannot properly react to potential hazards. Examples of manual distractions are:
- Sending a text message
- Changing the radio
- Drinking or eating
- Reaching for something
Cognitive distractions: Cognitive distractions are much more subtle in nature and can sneak up on a driver. Ever get from point A to point B and don’t remember how you did it? That may be an example of cognitive distraction. You are so familiar with your route that your mind wanders and you operate on a kind of “auto-pilot.” Common examples include:
- Disciplining children
- Having a tense conversation with a passenger
- Stressing about work or school
- Screaming at another driver who cut them off
Any form of distraction while driving can be a recipe for disaster. When your mind is not completely focused on the task at hand, safely operating a vehicle, then you are not as readily able to react to new and changing situations on the road.
Common Injuries in Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving changes a driver’s ability to both mentally and physically react to situations that could lead to an accident. That means they may not be able to slow down in time to avoid an accident, they may not be able to make a turn in time, or even swerve to avoid a hazard. That is why distracted driving can have such dire consequences.
While even alert drivers may not be able to completely avoid an accident, they are at least able to react in a way that can mitigate the severity of an accident. That tends not to be the case in distracted driving accidents.
The consequences of a distracted driving accident can be significant. If a driver is so distracted that they don’t see the stoplight change from green to red, they may hit the vehicle in front of them at 45 mph instead of 10 mph. The extra speed makes a huge difference in the type of injuries that can result from an accident.
In general, here are some of the more common types of injures that can occur in a distracted driving accident:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head, neck, or back injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Internal bleeding
- Chest and rib injuries
- Knee injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Wrongful Death
Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may be stuck with piles of medical bills that could take years to fully pay off. These types of injuries can require lengthy hospital stays, surgery, follow-up visits, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. In many cases, while you are trying to recover, you aren’t able to work. This creates further anxiety about how to pay the bills.
Before you accept anything that a distracted driver’s insurance company offers, talk to an experienced lawyer. Their offer may not be enough to cover all of your current and future damages, and once you sign on the dotted line, you are giving up all of your legal rights to full compensation.
Contact Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. to review your rights and legal options first. We can help you decide how to proceed in order to get the maximum compensation you deserve.
Things You Should and Shouldn’t Do After a Distracted Driving Accident
After getting hurt in a car accident, it can be overwhelming and confusing if you don’t know what to do. There are steps you should take to protect your rights to compensation from the at-fault driver.
The two most important things you should do after sustaining injuries in a vehicle crash are hiring an experienced Carrollton distracted driving accident lawyer and seeking medical treatment.
We will take care of all the legal aspects of your case. You should take this time to focus on attending your doctor’s appointments and your health.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will most likely look for evidence to shift blame from their policyholder to you so they can avoid a settlement. If they can deny your insurance claim, they won’t have to provide the compensation you need.
You should visit the hospital immediately after leaving the accident scene. If the doctor refers you for physical therapy or another form of treatment, follow their orders. The more medical evidence you have for your injury, the harder it will be for the insurance company to deny your claim. Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. can gather all the necessary available evidence to prove someone else was at fault for the accident and your injuries resulted from their actions.
Building a solid personal injury case requires more than just obtaining proof of what happened. You also have to make sure you don’t do anything that could allow the opposing party to withhold the money you’re owed.
After a distracted driving accident, it’s vital that you don’t:
- Admit fault. Modified comparative negligence reduces the monetary value of a person’s case if the jury determines they share blame for an accident. For example, if your losses equal $50,000 but you were 20% at fault for the accident, you could only pursue up to $40,000 in compensation.
- Sign documents you receive from the other motorist’s insurance company. You could sign away your rights to the maximum available insurance coverage without even realizing it. Your Carrollton distracted driving accident lawyer can review all forms and assist you in completing them.
- Post on social media. Believe it or not, insurance adjusters and defense attorneys might look at your online activity for evidence that works to their benefit. If you post something incriminating or that proves your injury isn’t as serious as you claimed, they could use it against you.
- Ignore your doctor’s recommendations. It’s acceptable to get a second opinion if you don’t want to go through with surgery or another extreme type of treatment. However, you shouldn’t ignore your medical providers entirely. If you don’t follow a plan they believe will heal your injuries, it could result in a denied insurance claim.
Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. can walk you through each step of your case, so you know the actions you must take and the things you should avoid. We want to put you in the best position to ensure a favorable outcome. You can depend on us to guide you from start to finish of the process.
How the Fault System Could Determine Your Compensation
Georgia follows a traditional fault system. The at-fault party becomes financially responsible for the victims’ injuries and losses after a car accident. That means you could file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company to compensate for your expenses.
The law requires all drivers to purchase liability insurance with minimum limits for bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury refers to the costs and intangible losses resulting from someone’s injuries. Property damage includes the expenses related to repairing or replacing a vehicle and the monetary value of personal items damaged during the accident.
When you file a liability claim, you can seek a settlement for your past and future losses, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical bills
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Diminished quality of life
Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. understands the importance of receiving an adequate settlement amount to cover your total losses, so you’re not left with any bills to pay yourself. While we’re reviewing your case, we might review some of the factors of your case to determine the full and fair compensation you deserve, such as:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Total expenses from the accident
- Length of the recovery period
- The emotional or mental impact of the crash
- The effect of the injury on daily life
- Missed work due to pain, doctor’s appointments, etc.
- The estimated value of necessary medical treatment in the future
- Insurance coverage available from the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Amount of substantial evidence proving liability
Our Carrollton distracted driving accident lawyers will remain by your side until the end of your case. Our legal team knows how much you’ve suffered since the car crash. We will exhaust all resources and work diligently to meet your interests and achieve your goals. We will not back down from the intimidating insurance company or defense attorneys. We have the experience we need to secure a fair settlement or favorable jury verdict for you.
Contact a Carrollton Area Distracted Driving Attorney Today
Being involved in a distracted driving accident is frightening. Dealing with the aftermath can be worse, as you struggle with the pain of your injuries and the anxiety of paying for bills you can’t afford. You may feel helpless to solve any of it.
That’s where Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. can help. Our legal team has the experience and knowledge that it takes to go toe to toe with distracted drivers and their insurance companies. We want to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve, not the compensation an insurance company wants to give you to make you “not their problem anymore.”
Contact Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today to review the circumstances of your case with a Carrollton car accident attorney. Call (770) 205-8827 for a free case evaluation. You deserve to have someone looking out for you.