Did you suffer injuries in a car accident? Was it due to the careless actions of a distracted driver? If so, call the Fayetteville car accident attorneys of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. so we can investigate and seek compensation from the at-fault party.
Distracted driving is a type of reckless behavior that can cause injuries and fatalities when accidents occur. You deserve to hold the other driver liable for what they’ve done. They completely disregarded the safety of others, and you ended up suffering the consequences of their poor decision-making.
At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., our Fayetteville distracted driving accident attorneys know the uphill battle you’re facing. When you’re injured, out of work, and struggling to afford your medical bills, you can be under an overwhelming amount of stress. You can depend on our team to handle your case so you can focus on healing. We will fight hard for justice and tirelessly work on securing the maximum financial award possible.
Do not hesitate to call us at 770-205-2231 for an initial free consultation or fill out our online form.
The Reason Distracted Driving Accidents Occur
Distracted driving includes any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. When someone isn’t paying attention to the road ahead, there’s an increased risk that a car accident will happen. Distracted driving is dangerous and often leads to severe injuries and fatalities.
According to a survey performed in January 2021, 52.5% of participants admitted to eating while operating a motor vehicle. Another 23.6% said they text behind the wheel. These seem to be among the most common behaviors associated with distracted driving. Many people think simple tasks, such as applying makeup or changing the radio station, aren’t dangerous. That’s typically the mentality of drivers who repeat the same actions without suffering any consequences. They’ve never been in an accident because of their distracted behaviors, so they believe they never will be.
Unfortunately, driver distraction is more dangerous than many people realize. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that a person traveling at 55 miles per hour while reading or sending a text message could drive the entire length of a football field. In those few seconds, the whole scene in front of the vehicle could change drastically. A car could swerve into the lane, traffic could come to a standstill, or a pedestrian could cross the street directly in front of the driver. If they’re focusing on something else, they won’t notice these hazards or have time to prevent an accident.
Three types of distractions generally occur behind the wheel: visual, manual, and cognitive. They can occur individually or all together.
Manual distractions involve a driver taking one or both hands off the wheel to do something else. When that happens, they’re no longer in complete control of their vehicle. Things can change in a split second, and if they don’t have their hands on the wheel, they won’t be able to safely maneuver away from a hazard.
The most common manual distractions include:
- Sending a text or email
- Manually making or answering a call on a cell phone
- Changing the radio
Visual distractions cause drivers to look at something other than the road in front of them while driving their car. Examples of this type of distraction include:
- Looking at a passenger during a conversation
- Referring to a map or GPS for directions
- Staring at their appearance in a mirror
- Watching a video on an electronic device
- Reading an email, text, or other content
Cognitive distractions redirect a driver’s focus and attention to something other than driving. Cognitive distractions may be combined with manual or visual distractions. Common examples include:
- Focusing on a conversation with a passenger or someone on the phone
- Reading a street sign
- Mentally preparing for a job interview, school presentation, or another important event
- Feeling angry, sad, irritated, or other strong emotion
- Singing along to the radio
- Caring for a child or pet
The other driver became distracted behind the wheel. Even if it was just for a moment, they ended up causing your injuries. They should be held accountable for the harm you suffered.
Car Accidents Can Result in Severe Injuries
Any type of car crash can cause physical harm and property damage. When it’s the result of a distracted driver, the aftermath can be worse. Usually, distracted drivers are exhibiting other dangerous behaviors simultaneously, such as:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Failing to check blind spots
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Failing to use turn signals
- Slowing down or speeding up suddenly
These actions increase the risk of injury to occupants of other vehicles. Even if you take certain safety precautions, it’s difficult to protect yourself from the impact of another car completely. When you collide with another vehicle, you could sustain any of the following injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injury
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Crush injury
- Loss of limb or amputation injury
- Psychological trauma, such as PTSD
Any of the injuries listed above could lead to long-term issues. If you damage your spinal cord, you might require ongoing physical therapy and pain management. A traumatic brain injury could result in permanent disability. Psychological trauma could cause the need for therapy sessions or anti-anxiety medication. If you’re struggling because of a distracted driver, you deserve to hold them accountable for their actions.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Car Accidents
Most people go into a state of shock after a car accident. They’re not sure how to handle it or what steps to take next. What you do and say after colliding with a distracted driver could impact the outcome of your case. Follow the steps below to protect your rights and ensure you’re able to recover the maximum compensation available.
- Call 911 and report the accident. Wait for law enforcement to arrive and perform their investigation. When it becomes available, you can request a copy of the traffic crash report.
- If you can walk around, take pictures of the crash scene, including debris in the road, damage to the vehicles, and other relevant details.
- Ask the at-fault driver for their name, contact information, and auto insurance details.
- Speak with anyone who saw what happened and get their names and phone numbers.
- Immediately after leaving the accident site, seek medical attention for an evaluation of your injuries. Follow the doctor’s orders for necessary follow-up appointments and continue to treat your injuries until you’re released from care.
- Take your car to a repair shop for a damage estimate.
- Keep copies of everything associated with your distracted driving accident, such as medical records, insurance company letters, and prescriptions.
- Hire a Fayetteville distracted driving accident lawyer to fight for full compensation.
Besides following the steps listed above, there are also some things you should never do after a car accident caused by a distracted driver. Any of these actions could have a negative impact on the amount of your financial award from an insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Don’t admit any fault for the accident to the investigating officer or anyone else. Under Georgia’s modified comparative fault rule your compensation decreases proportionately to your percentage of shared blame.
- Don’t sign any forms that the at-fault driver’s insurance company sends to you without having an attorney review them first. They may forward a waiver relinquishing your rights to the maximum settlement available.
- Don’t stop treating your injuries until your doctor says you made a full recovery or places you at maximum medical improvement (MMI), which means your injury won’t improve with further medical intervention.
- Don’t throw out any evidence. Sufficient evidence is necessary to prove the other driver caused the accident and should be liable for any resulting expenses.
- Don’t leave the scene without reporting the crash. It’s a state law to report all car accidents that result in injury, fatality, or at least $500 in property damage.
- Don’t talk to the insurance companies about your claims. Let your Fayetteville distracted driving accident lawyer handle that for you. We will communicate with other parties, submit evidence, complete forms, and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
Georgia Car Accident Laws
When it comes to auto insurance, Georgia follows a traditional fault system. That means the at-fault driver is automatically liable for the injured party’s damages (losses associated with an accident). To pursue compensation, you can file a claim with their auto insurance company.
All motorists must hold auto insurance with minimum liability limits. Those limits cover damages related to bodily injury and vehicle damage. The minimum required limit is $25,000, which might not be enough if you sustained a severe injury.
If a liability claim isn’t enough to compensate for your damages, you can supplement your remaining damages with your UM insurance. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage provides reimbursement to car accident victims if the liable driver doesn’t have insurance or their coverage isn’t high enough. You can use it to pay for your medical care and other expenses associated with your injury.
Compensation You Might Be Entitled to in a Distracted Driving Accident Case
Whether you file an insurance claim or a lawsuit, there are multiple losses, or damages, you can seek. You shouldn’t be responsible for any of them when someone else caused your injuries. The most common losses include:
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
A jury could also award you punitive damages in a lawsuit. Unlike losses, such as medical bills and emotional distress, these damages are not a form of compensation. The main purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party for their actions. You must submit clear and convincing evidence that the defendant showed wantonness, willful misconduct, fraud, oppression, malice, or indifference to the consequences of their actions.
What Is Modified Comparative Negligence?
You could end up with much less compensation than you need if a jury determines you share fault for the car accident. Under modified comparative negligence, your losses could be diminished by your percentage of assigned blame. Even if you’re only 5% responsible for the crash, you will receive 5% less compensation than you would if the other driver was 100% at fault.
To give you an example, let’s say you suffered $100,000 in total losses. If your actions didn’t contribute to the accident in any way, you could pursue compensation for the full $100,000. However, if a jury finds that you were 20% to blame, you would only be allowed to seek up to $80,000.
Seek Justice With Help from Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C.
Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. has decades of experience representing clients who suffered injuries or lost a loved one in an accident. Since 2001, we have advocated for Fayetteville residents and provided support and guidance during their time of need.
We have the distinct pleasure of holding an AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a peer review-rated service that recognizes the top attorneys in their fields. We’ve also received awards from organizations like Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., our Fayetteville car accident attorneys believe in providing our clients with excellent customer service. When you hire us, you can depend on personalized attention and open communication. We’ll be there for you throughout your entire case and help you navigate the complex legal road.
We’ll be happy to meet with you for a free consultation. You can discuss the details of your car accident so we can determine the legal options available. If you choose to have us represent you, we’ll take your case on contingency. That means you won’t have to pay upfront fees or costs. We don’t expect payment unless we win a financial award.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a distracted driving car accident in Fayetteville, call us today at 770-205-2231. We’ll help you get through this devastating ordeal and seek the justice and compensation you deserve.