Distracted driving has become a major safety issue throughout the United States and Riverdale, Georgia is not an exception. The dangers of distracted driving are well known and documented, but people still keep driving while distracted. Unfortunately, it often has serious impacts on the person driving while distracted as well as the lives of other motorists and passengers.
If you think that you have been hurt by a distracted driver in Riverdale, GA, Humphrey & Ballad Law can help. Our Riverdale distracted driving accident lawyers handle numerous cases, and each one is different. Give us a call today at 404-341-0499 to schedule a consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Riverdale.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is defined under Georgia Law as engaging in any activity while driving that potentially distracts your attention away from the primary task of operating your vehicle safely. While distracted driving is primarily associated with texting and cell phone use, it also includes other behaviors like eating, drinking, grooming, checking the radio, engaging with other passengers, etc.
Types of Distracted Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 3 types of distractions that drivers usually deal with while on the road: visual, manual, or cognitive. All three are very dangerous and may lead to a serious accident. Here is a more in-depth look into these 3 types of distracted driving:
Visual distraction refers to a situation where the driver’s eyes are not physically on the road. You might be surprised to learn that even looking away for just a few seconds is enough to cause a serious accident. Visual distractions on the road include looking at a GPS device, looking down at the radio while changing the station, rubbernecking, etc.
Manual distraction refers to a situation where the driver takes either one or both hands off the steering wheel. Unfortunately, this usually leaves the driver vulnerable to suddenly losing control over the vehicle. Manual distractions on the road include taking off a jacket, eating, adjusting the radio, etc.
To drive safely, it isn’t enough to keep both eyes on the road and both hands on the steering wheel. The driver should also be concentrating on driving safely. A driver may be cognitively distracted if he or she is not concentrating properly. Cognitive distractions on the road include daydreaming, talking with passengers, using a hands-free device, etc.
Laws Regarding Distracted Driving in Georgia
Georgia is one of the States that’s leading in the fight against distracted driving. In 2018, the Hands-Free Georgia Act was signed into law in an attempt to curb all driver distractions, both technological and human.
What Does Georgia’s 2018 Hands-Free Law Mean for Drivers?
Unlike some states where texting and driving laws apply to only certain drivers, such as teens, the 2018 Hands-Free law applies to all drivers in Georgia. The law is incredibly specific about what you can and cannot do with your phone while driving. Stipulations of the law include:
- Drivers cannot run web searches while on the road.
- Drivers cannot read or post to social media when on the road.
- Drivers cannot read, write, or send text messages or emails when on the road.
- Drivers can only use hands-free devices to make calls.
- Drivers cannot watch or record videos on their phones while on the road.
- Drivers cannot hold or touch their phone to open a streaming service, change playlists, skip songs, adjust volume, etc. while on the road.
- Drivers cannot hold their phone in their hand or even have it touching any part of their body when making and receiving calls while on the road.
The rules above apply even if the car is stopped at a red light or stop sign and not in motion. Drivers, however, are allowed to hold or operate their phones if they are sitting inside a vehicle that is parked legally.
The Georgia Hands-Free Law of 2018 is one of the measures that the State of Georgia aims to use to decrease distracted driving, but it is still not perfect. The NHTSA notes that the law doesn’t address cognitive or mental distractions. Unfortunately, when a driver pays less attention to the road, their chances of causing a serious accident are higher no matter what they are doing.’
What Damages Can Victims Get from a Distracted Driving Accident Claim in Georgia?
Distracted driving accidents in Riverdale, GA can cause devastating injuries that can have a significant impact on the lives of victims. If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, you may be entitled to certain damages. The nature and severity of the accident will play a great role in determining the types and amount of damages awarded.
Victims can get three types of damages from a distracted driving accident claim:
Economic damages are those that result in calculable financial losses. Examples include but aren’t limited to:
- Past and Future Medical Expenses
- Past and Future Lost Wages
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Domestic Services (If Required)
- Property Damage
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that cannot be easily translated into a dollar figure. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Mental Anguish
- Physical Impairment
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Companionship
- Loss of Quality of Life
Punitive damages are rarely ever awarded in Georgia personal injury cases. They are intended to punish and deter the wrongdoer as opposed to compensating the victim and require evidence that the person responsible for the injuries engaged in willful misconduct or acted so carelessly that their conduct exhibited conscious indifference to the consequences.
Driving while distracted is incredibly dangerous, especially texting while driving, which means that you may be entitled to punitive damages if you were struck by a distracted driver.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
The statute of limitations in Georgia, which is the amount of time within which you are required to file a claim for car accidents, including those that involve distracted driving is 2 years. Simply put, you have a 2-year window starting from the date of the accident to initiate legal proceedings against the responsible party.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a car or truck accident where distracted driving is suspected, you should contact experienced lawyers such as those at Humphrey & Ballard Law so that we can start investigating your case and advising you of your legal options. Here are some of the reasons why you need a lawyer:
- Investigating and documenting the accident scene then collecting evidence to prove fault.
- Calculating the full extent of your damages including both economic and non-economic losses.
- Filing the necessary paperwork and meeting deadlines to ensure that you receive compensation sooner.
- Negotiating on your behalf with the other party’s insurance provider to ensure that you receive a full and fair settlement.
- Skillfully representing your case in court (if necessary)
Contact an Experienced Riverdale Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer!
If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident in Riverdale, GA, you should talk with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. The distracted driving lawyers at Humphrey & Ballard Law have extensive experience representing injured victims of distracted drivers and will fight to help you recover all the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 404-341-0499 to schedule a free consultation about your case.