Every 24 seconds there is a distracted driving accident, according to the National Safety Council. The NSC reported that in the first half of 2012 there have been close to 700,000 crashes caused by drivers who are talking on their cell phones or texting while behind the wheel.
Although texting is banned for all drivers in North Carolina, the state only bans the use of handheld and hands-free cell phones for bus drivers and novice drivers – leaving the majority of the driving population free to chat and endanger lives. Despite overwhelming evidence linking accidents and cell phone use, the state has been reluctant to extend the ban to all drivers. Legislation introduced in 2011 that would have prohibited all drivers from using cell phones was quickly withdrawn after a frosty reception in subcommittee hearings.
So what happens to those who are injured by distracted drivers in North Carolina? Even without an explicit law banning the use of cell phones, their role in creating driver distraction can be a significant factor in determining who is at fault in an accident.
When someone is seriously injured in a car accident, understanding how the accident happened and whose negligence caused the wreck is critical to establishing a claim for recovery. Accident reconstruction experts are essential when investigating and determining who is responsible for an accident.
Technology plays a pivotal role in establishing culpability. A driver’s cell phone records can reveal that a driver was texting or talking on the phone in the time leading up to the crash.
Obtaining compensation for injuries in North Carolina requires aggressive legal representation. Unlike most states, which use a system of liability known as comparative negligence, North Carolina utilizes an old system of liability known as contributory negligence. Contributory negligence can be difficult because it bars recovery for damages if the person injured was even remotely responsible for the accident.
By contrast, comparative negligence, which many believe is the fairer standard, allows a person to recover as long as their responsibility for the accident is less than 50 percent. The amount of recovery is reduced by their percentage of responsibility for the injury.
With the current liability scheme, most people are dependent on insurance to compensate them for their injuries. Unfortunately, the needs of a person with a serious injury and the goals of the insurance company are frequently at odds. Insurance companies are focused on making a profit and, because of this, they generally try to settle a claim or avoid paying claims altogether to meet that goal.
Injured people need their medical bills paid and compensation for their lost wages. When people are injured, it is often difficult for them to know or even understand how much they will need to recover. Contacting an attorney after a car accident is critical to ensure that maximum compensation is received.