According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 3,100 people killed and about 424,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers each year. Nine people are killed each day as a result of distracted driving. About one in five of those who die in crashes involving a distracted driver are not in vehicles ― they are walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle.
The types of distractions that cause these deaths and accidents are summarized as visual, manual, or cognitive. A driver can be distracted while driving due to driving while eating, changing stations on the radio, applying makeup, and using a cell phone. Distracted drivers can cause accidents and injuries to drivers, cyclists, and even pedestrians.
Text messaging often meets the definition of distraction under each category because when most people manually compose and send a text message while driving their eyes are often off the road, as are their minds and at least one hand. Texting and driving is not limited to teens either, as more and more adults are engaging in the same behavior. Hands-free devices are a better option than actually holding a phone and texting while driving, but even with the use of hands-free devices, texting may lead to accidents if a driver is too distracted trying to compose the text or read or listen to one.
Texting and driving is a traffic violation in many states, including North Carolina, where a driver who drives with a cell phone in their hand can receive a traffic citation. Drivers are allowed to use hands-free devices. Many companies have taken steps to ensure that their employees are driving safely by instituting personnel rules that prohibit employees from using their cell phones while driving company vehicles.
When a driver causes an accident that results in injuries or even death because they were driving while texting or even calling on a cell phone, the injured party can sue the driver to seek compensation for their injuries. If a driver is driving a company car on company business, their employer may also be liable for their negligent driving. In some cases, in addition to seeking recovery for the medical costs, property damage, or the cost of loss of income, a plaintiff may ask a jury to award punitive damages against the driver to ensure the driver learns a lesson about their conduct. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct is so egregious that the judge or jury wishes to send a message to both the defendant and others in society not to engage in similar conduct.
Contact an Experienced North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact a seasoned North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the at-fault driver. Under NC law, you may be entitled to collect financial compensation for all medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and any other losses the injury you suffered has caused you. Keep in mind, however, there is a statute of limitations on how long you have to file your accident claim.
Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free case evaluation and find out what legal options you may have.
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