Safe driving requires complete attention and focus. When a driver’s attention is taken away from the road because the driver tries to multitask or focuses on something else, serious accidents can occur. Even a momentary distraction can be enough to cause a devastating car accident.
If you suffered severe injuries, or if your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver in Rock Hill or a surrounding area in South Carolina, you should seek legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, will know how to investigate the other driver’s conduct, determine if distracted driving played a role and help you to pursue all compensation that you are owed.
We represent our clients on a contingency fee basis. So, you will not pay us anything unless you receive a settlement or jury award. Our attorneys can review your case as soon as you call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
What Is a Distracted Driving Accident?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” According to the NHTSA, the three main types of distractions that affect drivers are:
- Visual – A distraction that takes a driver’s eyes off the road
- Manual – A distraction that takes a driver’s hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – A distraction that takes a driver’s mind off driving
The most common distractions involve talking on a cell phone, texting or engaging in some other use of an electronic device while driving. Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it involves all three of the above types of distractions. According to the NHTSA, the average text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds, which is long enough to drive the length of an entire football field when a driver is traveling 55 miles per hour.
However, the use of cell phones is not the only kind of distraction. Eating, drinking, smoking, grooming, reading, watching in-vehicle entertainment and interacting with pets or other passengers are also distractions which can lead to car accidents.
How Do You Determine If Distracted Driving Caused an Accident in Rock Hill?
Because distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of car accidents in South Carolina and across the country, our attorneys at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, will look closely at whether distraction or inattention played a role in the car accident cases which we handle. We believe it is crucial to launch an immediate investigation in order to gather and collect evidence before it becomes lost or destroyed, or before witnesses’ memories fade. Some of the evidence which can point to distracted driving includes:
- Cell phone records which establish whether the driver sent or viewed a text message or made a phone call just before the crash occurred
- Internet and social media history showing whether the driver surfed the web or, perhaps, used social media to make a post or send a message right before the accident
- Physical evidence from within the car such as a phone or other electronic device, food or drink containers or signs that a pet was in the car
- Black box data showing the driver’s speed and whether he or she hit the brakes prior to the accident
- Skid marks or brake marks (or a lack of those marks) which can indicate whether the driver tried to take any evasive action before the collision
- Statements from witnesses who saw the driver engaged in a distracting activity at the time of the accident.
We also regularly consult with professionals in areas such as accident reconstruction. They can help us to piece together the evidence and determine whether distracted driving or some other type of negligence caused a crash. The professional may prepare a report or even testify at a trial.
Who Could Be Held Liable for a Distracted Driving Accident?
If a person becomes distracted while driving and, in turn, causes an accident, then that person can and should be held liable for any damage that the driver causes. For instance, instead of paying attention to the road, the driver may have been putting on makeup in a mirror or reaching into the back seat to steady a pet. As a result, the driver may have failed to see a red light or a pedestrian with the right of way who was crossing the road at an intersection. Distracted driving is, in most cases, a form of negligent driving.
If a driver was texting and driving at the time when he or she caused an accident, the driver’s negligence may be presumed as a matter of law. This is because South Carolina law, since 2014, has banned drivers from texting while driving. This is a legal concept known as negligence per se.
However, the driver may not be the only one who is held responsible for a distracted driving accident. In some situations, a driver’s employer may be responsible, too. An investigation would need to determine whether the driver was acting in the scope of his or her employment at the time of the distracted driving accident. For instance, was the driver making a delivery? Was the driver on the phone with his or her boss, talking about a work matter?
At McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, our lawyers work hard to identify all parties who should be held liable for auto accidents that have harmed our clients. Our goal is to discover all sources of compensation that are available to our clients.
Our Rock Hill Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys Can Help You
Distracted driving crashes often appear to be obvious cases of another motorist’s fault. However, you should never assume that the other motorist’s insurance company will be quick to admit responsibility and pay a claim. Insurers actively look for ways to accuse a victim of having contributed to or directly caused a crash. They want to pay as little as possible or avoid paying a claim altogether.
To give yourself the best chance of recovering maximum compensation, you should seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer right away after an auto accident. An attorney will know how to pursue a full and fair settlement of your claim and be ready to go to trial if that’s what it takes. Don’t let the reckless or careless actions of another person cost you your health and financial security.
The attorneys of McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, have protected the rights of car accident victims and their families in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Chester, York, Lancaster, Indian Land and many other surrounding areas of South Carolina since 1977. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.