Any form of distraction while driving can result in a crash, which in turn, may cause serious injuries to the involved parties. If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving accident in Laurens, South Carolina, you may have a right to seek compensation from the other driver.
Our car accident attorneys at Ayers Smithdeal & Bettis can help prove that the other driver was negligent and caused the accident that resulted in your injuries or losses. Reach out to us today at 855-213-4405 to speak to one of our Laurens distracted driving accident lawyers to find out your legal rights and options.
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What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is defined as any other activity, other than driving, that the driver engages in while behind the wheel. This could be eating, grooming, or even looking around, especially if there is a scene along the highway. While these activities may seem normal due to their frequency among drivers, it is important to understand the risks and consequences that come with such acts.
To paint a picture of how dangerous distractions can be while driving, it is estimated that it only takes 3 seconds for a crash to occur once a driver has been distracted. Drivers are at a high risk of crashing when they are on their phones. This is because it takes the brain about 13 seconds to refocus after using a phone, even if they use the device for just a second.
About 9 people are killed and over 1000 injured every day in the US due to vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. A recent report by the NHTSA indicated that 660,000 drivers use electronic gadgets while driving. The federal government, state governments, and private players like insurance have now put in stringent measures to reduce crashes due to distracted driving.
Types of Distracted Driving
Basically, there are three main types of distractions that could lead to a crash. These include:
These refer to distractions that take the driver’s eyes off the road. They include using a cell phone or checking out a scene along the highway. These distractions are also common when one is driving with kids in the vehicle. Taking your eyes off the road can be dangerous since you momentarily lose sight of oncoming traffic or driving off your lane without checking the traffic behind you.
These are distractions that take the driver’s hands off the wheel. They include eating, drinking, grooming, and are a danger since the driver may not have full control of the vehicle. Like visual distractions, you can easily get in the way of oncoming or following traffic, causing a crash.
Distractions that take your mind off the road are known as cognitive distractions. Sometimes, this form of distraction is referred to as daydreaming. Drivers momentarily lose the sense of their environment and may not be aware of their position on the road, which increases the risk of a crash.
Laws Regarding Distracted Driving in South Carolina
The S.C. Code § 56-5-3890 prohibits texting and driving in South Carolina. This law prohibits all drivers from using a wireless communication gadget to compose, send, or read a text message while behind the wheel on a highway within the state or on a public street. However, the distracted driving law doesn’t apply if you’re:
· Using a hands-free device
· Lawfully stopped or parked
· Seeking emergency help
· Using a GPS system
· Using a digital dispatch system to send or receive data
· A public safety officer on official duty.
The South Carolina law on distracted driving is considered to be a “primary” ban, meaning that a police officer can pull you over for violating the law. However, violation of this law doesn’t lead to a criminal charge, but a driver faces a $25 civil fine instead.
What Damages Can Victims Get from a Distracted Driving Accident Claim in South Carolina?
In a South Carolina distracted driving accident, victims can receive compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages can be special and general damages, also referred to as economic and non-economic damages, and are meant to cover actual financial losses and incalculable damages respectively.
Common economic damages include medical costs, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs, while non-economic damages include permanent disability, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional and mental anguish.
Punitive damages may also be awarded if the at-fault party’s actions are considered gross negligence or wanton misconduct by a judge.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in South Carolina?
Like any other personal injury case in South Carolina, victims of distracted driving accident cases have 3 years from the date of injury to file a claim against the at-fault party. Failure to do so within the allocated time, one may lose their right to seek compensation for their losses or injuries.
Why Do I Need a Laurens Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer?
The benefits of a lawyer in a distracted driving accident case are often overlooked. However, these cases are not always straightforward, given the many laws that govern them, and the various players that may be involved. Working with a lawyer in your distracted driving accident claim can help you in the following ways:
Where another driver is clearly at-fault for the accident that caused your injuries, their insurance company may be willing to offer a compensatory award to cover your losses. Your lawyer will help you negotiate the maximum possible compensation or a reasonable award for your losses.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the at-fault party’s insurer denies your claim or fails to make a satisfactory compensatory award, your lawyer will help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Further, they will help prepare a strong case to show that the defendant was negligent and that you deserve to be compensated for the injuries and losses suffered.
Trial Preparation & Representation
Your lawyer will also represent you in court once you file the lawsuit. Their courtroom experience means that they can argue out your case and convince the judge that the defendant’s negligence indeed caused your injuries and that you deserved to be compensated.
Call Ayers Smithdeal & Bettis Today
Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes on US roads, and it is estimated that about 9 people are killed and 1000 injured due to distracted driving accidents. Drivers who are distracted either manually, visually, or cognitively can be held liable for accidents arising from such distractions.
An experienced Laurens distracted driving accident lawyer can help prove that another driver was negligent and at fault for an accident that caused your injuries. If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, you may have a valid claim and a right to seek compensation for your losses.