We’ve all seen them on the road, or maybe even been stuck behind someone who’s got a cellphone plastered to an ear, blabbing away, and not paying attention to traffic or nearby pedestrians.
Cell phones are distracting.
Drivers who talk or text while driving are involved in 10 percent of car accidents where there is a fatality and in 18 percent of crashes that results in an injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Distraction.gov, the official federal government website on distracted driving, reports that a driver’s eyes are on average off the road five seconds while texting.
A lot of mayhem can occur in those few seconds, and it too often does.
Recognizing the dangers of using cell phones while driving, every state has enacted laws limiting or prohibiting cell phone use and texting while on the road.
A New Jersey court in 2014 heard a case where not only was the driver sued when he caused an accident while texting and driving, but his girlfriend, who had texted him shortly before the crash, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Because the plaintiff could not show the girlfriend had known her boyfriend was driving at the time she texted him, she was not found liable.
Thus far no state has passed a law extending liability to those who text drivers, but that case indicates that drivers distracted by texting regardless of whether they’re sending or receiving will be held liable for injuries and other damages that result.
Georgia bans texting while driving
Georgia law does not prohibit handheld phone use by drivers, but drivers under 18 years old are banned from any and all cell phone use while behind the wheel.
In Georgia, texting while driving is banned and the prohibition applies to writing, sending, or reading a text on a cellphone, tablet, computer, or other digital/wireless device.
A driver has a legal duty to operate a motor vehicle with care, to pay attention to road conditions, traffic volume, the presence of pedestrians, and alert to changing factors, such as speed, lane changing, and sudden moves.
Because studies and statistics have shown that distracted driving is dangerous and texting while driving is one of the worst forms of distraction, to engage in that activity while on the road is strong evidence of careless driving.
Where a driver has been careless, he or she has been negligent, and if an injury occurs as a result, the driver may be liable for damages to the injured person.
- The negligent driver could be ordered to pay damages to recompense an injured person for different kinds of losses, including:
- Medical expenses, ambulance and emergency treatment fees, doctor and hospital bills, physical therapy, psychiatric care
- Mental anguish and pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium
- Damage to property, car and body repairs, loss of personal property harmed or destroyed in the accident such as a computer, clothing, other items
- Incidental expenses, crutches, nursing care, rental car, over-the-counter medications
This is the only type of case they handle.
If you have been injured in a car accident and have reason to suspect the other driver was texting while driving, call the Angell Law Firm today at (770) 217-4954 to discuss your legal options.
The Angell Law Firm is located in Atlanta and serves the Rome, Augusta, Athens, Macon, Columbus, Savannah areas.