Did a distracted driver cause your car accident? Do you require medical treatment for your injuries? If so, contact DeMayo Law Offices, Your North Carolina Law Firm™. Our dedicated Charlotte car accident lawyers can help you fight for justice and hold the other driver responsible for their careless actions.
When someone becomes distracted behind the wheel, they cannot focus on the road ahead and react to emergencies. They take their eyes, hands, or attention off the task of driving, which, in reality, is extremely dangerous behavior that can lead to severe injuries and fatalities.
Car crashes can result in severe injuries that may require years, if not always, to heal, and some survivors may live their entire lives with a permanent disability.
If you discover that the other driver’s distraction caused your car crash, you could pursue legal action with an insurance claim or lawsuit.
We are proud that we have provided exceptional service and representation to more than 92,000 clients since our firm’s founding in 1992. When we take on a case, we fight to win, and we have a strong track record of success to show for it.
To find out more about us or schedule your free consultation, call DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 333-1000.
Major Types of Distracted Driving
There are three different kinds of distractions that can lead to an accident and cause someone harm. These distractions can occur alone or simultaneously. You should understand the fundamental differences between each, so you know how to seek financial compensation from the other driver.
Manual distraction is the act of taking one or both hands off the wheel to perform another task besides driving. Without both hands steering the vehicle, it’s easier to lose control and get into an accident. Common examples of manual distractions include:
- Eating food
- Manually answering a call
- Typing an email or text
- Changing the radio
Visual distraction refers to taking your eyes off the road ahead to look at something else for any amount of time. Some examples of this type of distraction include:
- Reading a text, email, or other content
- Looking at a GPS
- Watching a video
- Checking one’s self out in the mirror
- Turning to look at a passenger in the car
- Staring out the window at passing scenery
Cognitive distraction redirects a person’s focus and attention from driving to something else. Cognitive distractions can occur along with manual and visual distractions. Examples include:
- Focusing on a conversation with a passenger
- Caring for children
- Worrying about a loved one’s health
- Running late to work
- Reading or typing a text
Take Action Immediately After a Car Accident
Step 1: Call law enforcement to the crash scene so they can investigate what happened. It’s a legal requirement to report any accident that causes an injury, death, or at least $1,000 in property damage. If you leave before an officer arrives, you could face hit-and-run charges.
Step 2: Ask the at-fault driver for their contact details and auto insurance information so you can file a claim for liability coverage.
Step 3: Take pictures at the accident scene if your injury isn’t too serious, and you’re able to walk. Include photos of vehicle damage, road debris, and other useful evidence.
Step 4: Talk to witnesses. If anyone saw what happened, write down their names, and contact information. They could provide a statement for the insurance company or testify at trial, if necessary.
Step 5: Go to the emergency room after leaving the crash scene. Don’t wait for days or weeks before seeking treatment. Insurance companies look at a gap in treatment as evidence that the injury isn’t real or isn’t severe enough to require medical intervention.
Step 6: If the ER physician refers you to follow up with other doctors, follow their instructions. Undergo an operation, attend physical therapy appointments, get imaging tests, and show up for every treatment until your doctors release you from care.
Step 7: Bring your vehicle in for a damage estimate. You can take it to a repair shop or get the estimate done through the insurance company. You’ll receive documentation that confirms the damage and calculates the approximate cost to fix everything. Keep that for your records to use during settlement negotiations.
Step 8: Hire a Charlotte distracted driving accident lawyer from DeMayo Law Offices to help you with your case.
Injuries Associated With Car Accidents Caused by Distracted Drivers
Someone who operates a motor vehicle while distracted increases the chance of an accident occurring and puts everyone around them at risk of harm. Injuries range from minor to severe, and some car crashes can even result in death. Unfortunately, cell phones are one of the most common distractions behind the wheel. When a driver looks at their phone for just a few seconds, they can’t focus on what’s going on around them.
If there’s an emergency or unexpected change in road conditions, a distracted driver may not be able to react quickly enough to avoid a serious accident that results in debilitating physical and emotional harm.
The most common injuries victims of distracted driving accidents sustain include:
- Broken bones
- Wounds and lacerations
- Traumatic brain injury
- Crush injuries
- Neck or back injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), driving phobia, and other psychological trauma
Despite the safety precautions you might take, the impact of another vehicle could cause devastating damage. Depending on your injury, you could require months of intensive physical therapy to resume mobility or undergo pain management after suffering a major back injury. You might end up with a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to your job. It could impact your quality of life and affect your relationship with your family. It’s a stressful experience to go through, but you won’t have to go through it alone. You can count on our Charlotte distracted driving accident lawyers to stay by your side no matter what.
Available Options for Pursuing Compensation
If you want to recover financial compensation for the expenses you incurred and the suffering you experienced, there are three options available.
File a Liability Insurance Claim
North Carolina uses the fault system to determine financial responsibility after car accidents. That means the person who caused it is generally liable for the victim’s injuries and damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
File a UM Insurance Claim
If the other motorist doesn’t carry liability insurance, you could file a claim with your insurance company. UM (uninsured motorist) is a type of auto insurance that provides coverage to accident victims when the at-fault party isn’t insured.
File a Lawsuit
You could sue the other motorist directly for their careless actions. Distracted driving is dangerous. They should have known that their behavior could cause an accident. If you want to file a lawsuit against them, you must comply with the state’s three-year statute of limitations. It’s a strict deadline that requires you to pursue legal action within three years from the accident date; if you don’t, you’ll lose your right to file a lawsuit.
Damages Available in Insurance Claims and Lawsuits
Whether you decide to file an insurance claim or sue the distracted driver for compensation, there are various damages you could seek. There are two main types available: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are actual expenses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Out of pocket costs
- Car repair or replacement
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that are difficult to calculate, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
A third type, only available in lawsuits, is called punitive damages. Instead of compensating an injured victim’s economic and non-economic damages, it punishes the party liable for the accident. A jury will only award it to you if you’re able to provide clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault driver acted with willful or wanton conduct, fraud, or malice. You must also show that they’re liable for the economic and non-economic damages you incurred.
Why Contributory Negligence Is Important
It’s crucial that you never admit responsibility for a car crash in North Carolina. Even if you believe you’re partially at fault due to speeding or another traffic offense, you should never readily admit it to the other driver, insurance companies, or anyone else. Unless you’re giving a statement under oath or testifying in court, you don’t have to say anything.
North Carolina follows a contributory negligence rule, which prohibits accident victims from pursuing compensation if they share any degree of fault. Even if you’re only 5% to blame and the other driver is 95% responsible, you still won’t be able to file an insurance claim or lawsuit for compensation of your damages.
Let Us Help You Fight for Justice
DeMayo Law Offices and our dedicated legal team will fight vigorously to recover the maximum compensation you deserve. We know the trauma you experienced since your car accident. We’ll ensure the distracted driver is held liable for their actions so you can move forward with your life.
Our Charlotte distracted driving accident lawyers can help you. Our team is ready to take your call and meet you for a free consultation. If you were the victim of a distracted driving crash, call DeMayo Law Offices today at (704) 333-1000.