If a distracted driver caused your car accident and you sustained injuries, the North Carolina car accident attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP might be able to help you pursue financial compensation. We know how important it is for you to hold the other person liable for their careless actions. When you hire us, we’ll fight hard for the justice you deserve.
There are several different forms of distracted driving. Basically, anything that takes your attention off the task of driving is a form of distraction. If you discover that the at-fault party wasn’t focusing on their surroundings, it’s your right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against them for the suffering you had to endure.
DeMayo Law Offices, LLP knows this has been a traumatic experience for you and your family. Let us help you recover the compensation you need to move forward with your lives.
Since 1992, our firm has represented close to 100,000 clients, and we’ve worked effectively to secure large settlements and verdicts for injured individuals throughout our history. We’ll dedicate our time and resources to helping you get the financial reward you rightly deserve.
To find out more about our legal services or how we can help you after your distracted driving car crash, call us today at (877) 333-1000.
The Definition of Distracted Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as an activity that takes your attention away from driving safely. Texting is one of the most common types of distractions. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most deadly. When you read or send a text, your eyes aren’t focused on the road ahead for approximately five seconds. If you’re driving 55 mph, you could travel the length of a football field in that time.
Anything could happen while you’re distracted. Things change in an instant – someone could slam on their brakes, debris could fly out onto the road, or another driver could merge into your lane. If you’re looking down at your cell phone, you likely won’t be able to avoid a collision.
There are three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual: When a person takes their eyes off the road to look at something else
- Manual: When a driver takes one or both hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: The act of diverting attention to another task that requires mental focus
Distracted Driving Car Accident Statistics
Distracted driving kills around nine people each day in the United States. Of all age groups, teenagers between 16 and 19 are most likely to become distracted by their cell phones. Many of these kinds of accidents are fatal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a teen who texts behind the wheel is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.
Unfortunately, texting isn’t the only form of distraction. Although it’s the most common type, other distractions could result in injuries and fatalities, such as:
- Drinking coffee
- Eating a snack
- Worrying about being late to work
- Changing the radio
- Looking at GPS
- Talking to passengers
- Reaching for something in the back seat
According to a report on distracted driving:
- Parents who have children in their car are more likely to become distracted than adults driving without kids.
- 660,000 motorists use their cell phones or other electronic devices behind the wheel.
- 21% of car crashes involving teenagers were caused by cell phone distraction.
- Texting while driving is six times more likely to lead to an accident than drinking and driving.
- A collision is eight times more likely if you reach for something while operating a motor vehicle.
- Teens with a passenger in their car are twice as likely to end up in a fatal crash.
- Every year, approximately 390,000 people sustain injuries due to texting and driving.
- 80% of all motor vehicle crashes in the United States are the result of a distracted driver.
- An accident could occur in just three seconds after a driver becomes distracted.
Common Injuries Involved in Distracted Driving/Texting While Driving Accidents
When a motorist isn’t paying attention to what they’re doing, it’s difficult for them to slow down or stop in the event of an emergency. Many distracted drivers are traveling at high rates of speed, and when an accident happens, it often leads to severe injuries and fatalities.
The most common injuries victims of distracted driving collisions suffer include:
- Concussion or whiplash
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury
- Lacerations and wounds
- Muscle pain and soreness
- Lack of mobility
Whether your injury is minor or severe, it could lead to a lifelong medical problem. Something as simple as a pulled muscle could cause chronic pain and immobility issues. You might require physical therapy and pain management for the rest of your life.
When you end up with a permanent injury or disability, it causes expensive medical bills, impacts your relationship with your family, and could quite possibly prevent you from maintaining adequate employment. You suffer physically, emotionally, and financially, and it’s something you might never be able to recover from.
How to Recover Compensation From the At-Fault Driver
When you get into a car crash due to another motorist’s mistake, you’re entitled to pursue financial compensation from their liability auto insurance company. Under North Carolina’s fault system, the person who causes an accident becomes liable for the victim’s resulting injuries and damages.
Damages are all the losses suffered in an accident. They include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are actual expenses, while non-economic damages refer to physical and emotional pain. Examples of damages that might be available in a liability claim include:
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket costs
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment or disability
- Diminished quality of life
Another option is filing a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. If you believe their acts of distracted driving were negligent, you could seek economic and non-economic damages, and potentially also seek compensation for punitive damages, which, on rare occasions, are awarded for especially egregious acts. Punitive damages don’t make up for a victim’s losses; instead, they aim to punish the individual for harming another.
Distracted driving or texting while driving is considered a form of negligence. Negligence refers to one party’s failure to exercise a reasonable degree of care to prevent someone else from injury. If you sue the other driver, you must show the following elements existed to prove negligence:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a reasonable duty of care;
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party breached its duty;
- Cause in fact: If it weren’t for their actions, you would not have gotten hurt;
- Proximate cause: Their breach was the direct cause of your injuries; and
- Damages: You incurred damages.
You must follow a statute of limitations if you want to file a lawsuit after a distracted driving accident. It’s a strict deadline you must comply with if you want to hold the other driver accountable for their actions. The statute of limitations in North Carolina is three years. This means that you have three years from the crash date to file, or you’ll lose your right to pursue compensation.
What Happens If the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Auto Insurance?
If you want to file a claim to compensate for your damages and find out the other motorist doesn’t have insurance, you can use your own auto insurance policy to reimburse your expenses.
Uninsured motorist (UM) is coverage all drivers in North Carolina must purchase on their policy when they sign up for liability auto insurance. You can use it when the at-fault party doesn’t carry insurance, or their coverage isn’t enough to pay for all your damages.
When you file a UM claim, you can seek a settlement for the following:
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket expenses
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Car repair or replacement costs
The amount of the settlement you’re entitled to will depend on the coverage listed on your policy and multiple other factors, such as:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Duration of medically necessary treatment
- Total lost wages
- Psychological harm endured after the accident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- The injury’s impact on quality of life
- Availability of liability insurance coverage
- Evidence proving the other driver was at fault
- Length of the recovery period
- Permanent impairment or disability resulting from the crash
Contact DeMayo Law Offices, LLP to Help You Fight for Justice
We have a dedicated legal team that will seek justice and hold the other person responsible for their careless actions. When you hire us, we’ll work hard to ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. We have extensive resources, and the decades of experience needed to get the job done.
Our attorneys understand the traumatic aftermath of a car accident. When you hire us, we’ll make you a priority. You can reach us 24/7 to discuss your case or receive emotional support and guidance. You won’t be alone in this fight.
If you’re worried about the cost of hiring an attorney, ask about our contingency fees. Most people choose not to seek legal representation because of the financial burden they already face. DeMayo Law Offices, LLP doesn’t want to add stress to your life. That’s why we take all cases on contingency. That means you won’t have to pay upfront fees or costs. We don’t get paid unless you get paid.
If you were the victim of a distracted driving car accident, call us today at (877) 333-1000. We’ll explore your legal options and help you get on the road to recovery.
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