Gainesville Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Distracted Driving Accidents in Hall County
Few things are as dangerous as driving while distracted, yet millions of people do it every day across the United States. In Georgia, more than 75% of all traffic-related deaths are caused by dangerous driving behaviors, including distracted driving, according to the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT).
Distracted driving is more than just texting while driving. Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road is considered a driving distraction, and motorists who drive distracted can be held accountable for their negligence. If you or someone you love was involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, reach out to Hasty Pope, LLP today to learn how our firm can help.
Texting & Driving Laws in Georgia
In an attempt to decrease the prevalence of distracted driving accidents in the state and increase public safety, the state of Georgia recently enacted laws prohibiting certain actions behind the wheel.
As of July 1, 2018, it is unlawful to do any of the following while driving a motor vehicle:
- Use a hand-held cell phone or electronic communications device or have a cell phone in hand or touching any part of your body while talking on the phone while driving
- Write, read, or sent text messages or emails or look at, read, or post to social media and other internet content, even if using hands-free technology
- Watch or record videos on a cell phone or electronic device, except for GPS devices, navigational systems, and dash cameras
- Touch a cell phone or similar device to activate, control, or program a music streaming app or system while driving (touching a radio or steering wheel control to stream music is permitted)
In simple terms, it is unlawful to use a hand-held cell phone while driving in Georgia in any way. The only exception to the law is in the case of an emergency. In all other instances, you may not use your phone or a hand-held electronic communications device of any kind behind the wheel.
Types of Distracted Driving
While Georgia’s distracted driving laws primarily focus on using a cell phone and texting while driving, this far from the only type of distracted driving. As previously mentioned, any action or conduct that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving is classified as a “driving distraction.”
There are three categories of driving distractions:
- Cognitive Distractions: A cognitive distraction is anything that causes the driver to lose focus on driving. This type of driving distraction is typically the most difficult to prove, as there is no physical evidence of a person’s thoughts/focus. Examples include actions like daydreaming, “highway hypnosis,” or thinking about something that happened at work.
- Manual Distractions: Manual distractions are those that cause a driver to remove their hand(s) from the steering wheel. Holding a cell phone is an obvious example, but even changing the radio station, reaching for something that fell, or holding a snack or bottle of water can be manual distractions.
- Visual Distractions: Lastly, visual distractions are anything that cause the driver to take their eyes off the road. These are particularly dangerous, as it only takes five seconds to cover the length of a football field while driving at 55 miles per hour. A person looking at a cell phone for five seconds at this speed would travel 360 feet without looking at the road once.
Most distracting activities involve multiple types of driving distractions. A person who reaches for something that fell onto the floor under the passenger’s seat will remove a hand from the wheel while also looking down to locate the object. A person who texts while driving will have at least one hand off the wheel to hold their cell phone, and their eyes will be off the road and on their phone while their attention is on the content of the text—not the road ahead.
What Are the Most Common Driving Distractions?
There are nearly innumerable things that can distract a driver behind the wheel. However, some of the most common examples of driving distractions include:
- Using a cell phone/texting while driving
- Emailing while driving
- Adjusting the radio/music (on a phone or otherwise)
- Eating, drinking, or smoking behind the wheel
- Talking to a passenger in the vehicle
- Looking at an accident in or along the roadway (“rubbernecking”)
- Looking at billboards, signs, and other objects
- Attending to children in the vehicle
- Having a pet in the car
- Adjusting controls (air conditioning, heat, seat position, etc.)
- Personal grooming and applying makeup
- Highway hypnosis (“zoning out”)
These and other driving distractions can have deadly repercussions. If you were involved in a car accident or if your loved one died in a crash caused by a distracted driver, our Gainesville distracted driving lawyers can help.
What to Do If You Are Hit by a Distracted Driver
Being involved in a car accident is never a fun experience, but if you were hit by a distracted driver, you may be feeling an extra level of anger, frustration, and confusion. While you are completely justified in this, it is important that you remember to remain calm and take several steps to protect your rights.
If you are involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, try to do the following:
- Stop and remain at the scene
- Check yourself and others for injuries
- Call 911 (if necessary) and have an ambulance come to the scene
- Contact local law enforcement and have them come to the scene
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved
- Avoid admitting fault—do not apologize or make any statement that could be seen as admitting fault
- File an official police report with the law enforcement officers at the scene
- Talk to any witnesses who saw what happened
- Document the scene—take pictures of your injuries/vehicle and write down the date, time, and location of the crash
- Seek medical attention, regardless of the apparent severity of your injuries
- Notify your auto insurance provider about the accident
- Contact an attorney
One of the most important things you can do after a motor vehicle accident that leaves you injured is contact an experienced attorney. Your insurance company and/or the insurance provider for the at-fault party will likely try to dispute or deny your claim, but an attorney can help you fight back.
At Hasty Pope, LLP, we work to recover maximum compensation for our clients. With over 150 years of combined experience, we know how to advocate for injured individuals and seek the fair compensation they are owed. To date, we have recovered more than $100 million for our clients.
Injured by a Distracted Driver? Contact Hasty Pope, LLP Now
After a distracted driving accident, our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident. This may include things like talking to witnesses, reviewing security footage from nearby businesses, or examining the other driver’s cell phone records. We often work with a team of experts—including accident reconstructionists, economists, and medical professionals—who help us obtain a comprehensive picture of how the accident happened, the damages you have endured, and who is liable.
When you need an aggressive legal team with a reputation for success, turn to Hasty Pope, LLP. Our Gainesville distracted driving accident lawyers are ready to discuss your case with you during a free, no-obligation consultation. We offer contingency fees, meaning you will not pay any out-of-pocket expenses, and we only collect attorneys’ fees if and when we win your case.
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$9,000,000 Wrongful Death
Settlement of $9 million in September of 2019. This was for the family of a 20-year-old man struck and killed by a driver who crossed the centerline in Cherokee County, Georgia on May 18, 2018.
$6,000,000 Truck Accident
A tractor-trailer lost control and struck two motorcyclists, both suffered catastrophic injuries.
$5,000,000 Rear-End Accident
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$2,800,000 Dental Malpractice
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$2,000,000 Intersection Collision
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$1,735,000 Distracted Driving Accident
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$1,700,000 T-Bone Collision
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$1,650,000 Accident on MARTA Bus
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$1,300,000 Rear-End Collision
Our client, a 49 year-old small business owner was on his way home from a job when his life was forever changed - he was rear ended at a high rate of speed by a large construction truck.