Charlotte Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Accidents Caused by Texting & Other Distracted Driving Behaviors
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina are involved in motor vehicle accidents—and a significant number of these collisions are caused by distracted driving. In fact, distracted driving is one of the biggest dangers facing motorists throughout the United States; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 3,100 people died in 2019 due to traffic accidents caused by or involving distracted driving.
If you were injured or if someone you love died in a crash caused by a distracted driver, including someone who was texting while driving, you deserve justice—and Charles G. Monnett III & Associates can help. As one of the area’s leading personal injury law firms, we bring more than 70 years of collective experience and a reputation for aggressive client advocacy to every case. Our Charlotte distracted driving accident attorneys are here to answer your questions and provide the personalized support and guidance you need throughout the entire legal process.
What Is “Distracted” Driving?
Although many people equate “distracted driving” with “texting while driving,” and using a cell phone to read or send text messages behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is, indeed, extremely dangerous, it is far from the only type of driving distraction. In fact, any conduct that takes a driver’s attention away from the road is considered “distracted” driving.
Some examples of common driving distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or another handheld device
- Reading, sending, or typing text messages, emails, and other text-based communication
- Taking pictures or videos on a cell phone or another handheld device
- Reading, scrolling, or posting to social media
- Looking at or inputting a location into a GPS device or navigational system
- Eating food, drinking beverages, or smoking cigarettes
- Talking to passengers/occupants of the vehicle
- Attending to children or pets
- Reaching for items in the vehicle, including items that have fallen to the floor
- Looking at things along the roadway, such as billboards, signs, or accidents (“rubbernecking”)
- Adjusting controls in the vehicle, such as climate controls or the radio/music
These and other behaviors behind the wheel can take a driver’s attention away from the road for several seconds or even several minutes. According to the NHTSA, taking one’s eyes off the road for as little as 5 seconds—the average length of time it takes to read or send a text message—while traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour is the same as driving with one’s eyes closed for the entire length of a football field.
North Carolina Distracted Driving Laws
Like many other states, North Carolina’s distracted driving laws primarily focus on using a handheld cell phone, specifically for texting, while operating a motor vehicle.
Below, we have provided a brief overview of the state’s distracted driving laws:
- No driver in North Carolina may use a handheld cell phone or communications device to read or send text messages, emails, or other text-based communications while operating motor vehicles, including while stopped at red lights or stop signs
- North Carolina drivers under the age of 18 who have provisional licenses are not allowed to use cell phones or similar communications devices while operating motor vehicles, even if those devices are “hands-free”
- Drivers in North Carolina (of all ages) are not permitted to use headphones or headsets (including ear buds) to talk on the phone, listen to music or videos, etc. while operating motor vehicles
While there are some exceptions to these laws—for example, you may use a cell phone to call 911 in the event of an emergency, even if you are driving—for the most part, engaging in one of these acts is a “primary offense.” This means that law enforcement officers in North Carolina can pull someone over specifically for texting or emailing while driving; they do not need to conduct a traffic stop for another offense in order to issue a citation.
Unfortunately, the fact that these acts are crimes in North Carolina does not stop many drivers from engaging in them. Additionally, despite legislation efforts in the past, other forms of distracted driving aside from texting or emailing behind the wheel are currently not illegal in the state. In short, distracted driving continues to be a serious hazard in North Carolina, leading to thousands of injuries and deaths on our highways and roads every year.
Holding Distracted Drivers Accountable
Even if a distracted driver has not technically broken the law, they can still be held legally accountable for the harm they cause others. By filing a personal injury claim, you can seek financial compensation for the various economic and non-economic losses you have suffered due to the accident, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and more.
To hold a distracted driver accountable, you will need to prove several things:
- The Driver Was Negligent: Typically, you can prove a distracted driver was negligent simply by proving that they were distracted. Hard evidence, such as cell phone records or nearby surveillance footage showing the distracted driver before the crash, can be extremely helpful.
- You Were Injured and Suffered Measurable Damages: To have a case, you must prove that you were actually injured and that those injuries led to measurable damages, whether economic or non-economic in nature.
- The Driver’s Negligence Was the Cause of Your Injuries: You will also need to prove that the driver’s negligence (i.e., their distracted driving) was the actual cause of your injuries. In other words, you would not have been injured had they not been negligent.
- You Were Not More Than 50% at Fault: Under the state’s comparative negligence rule, you can collect compensation if you were partly to blame for the accident, as long as your percentage of blame is less than 51%. If you are found partly at fault, your total recovery will be reduced.
Our Charlotte distracted driving accident lawyers can assist you with the various legal aspects of your claim. Our goal is to handle these details so that you can simply focus on healing and getting back on your feet. We offer free consultations and contingency fees, so there is no risk in speaking to a member of our team about your potential case today.
Call Charles G. Monnett III & Associates Today
If you or someone you love was hit by a distracted or texting driver in Charlotte or any of the surrounding areas, reach out to our firm to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We are ready to put more than seven decades of collective experience on your side and will fight to maximize your recovery.
Charles was always available and informative on this process.- Susan Z.
Without their help, I would probably have lost everything that I owned.- Rick M.
Lauren Newton exceeded all of my expectations and she genuinely cares about her clients.- Jade B.
The experience I had was exactly what I wanted.- Jacob G.
I was very satisfied.- Raven B.
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